Academy honours the nerds of filmmaking at sci-tech ceremony
unscientific Elizabeth Banks.
The 36-year-old actress joked that she would “read — yet not fully understand — our journey through the scientific and technical awards.”
Wearing a sparkling white gown and standing in front of four giant Oscar statues, Banks presented 15 plaques and certificates to scientists from Germany, Sweden, Austria, England, New Zealand, Hungary, Denmark, Japan and the United States.
The men were honoured for developing systems to improve colour on film, advancing performance-capture technology, creating new means to light actors in computer-generated scenes and building high-tech scanners used in modern filmmaking. Moviegoers may have seen the results of their work in films such as King Kong, The Lord of the Rings, Spider-Man 2 and Iron Man.
While the March 7 Academy Awards ceremony will be all A-list glitz and televised glamour, the Sci-Tech Awards are an off-camera, low-key event, with one humble scientist after another taking the stage and nervously thanking his family and colleagues.
Double-winner Tony Sedivy, who helped develop a film scan- ner and a 3D hardware system, said receiving the academy honours was “the highlight of my life.”
Another honoree, Richard Kirk, clutched his golden plaque with a tiny Oscar on it and said, “I only hope one day I can be as awesome as my friends and family will think I am with this.”
A jazz quintet played as winners pushed away from their filet mignon and Chilean sea bass dinners to accept their awards on stage. One tried to explain the genesis of his invention to Banks, who shrugged and smiled playfully.
The star, whose credits include Seabiscuit and The 40-Year-Old Virgin, effortlessly discussed film emulsion technology, spectral response and point-based colour bleeding for indirect illuminations as she presented the awards with a lot of help from a telepromter.
Academy president Tom Sherak praised the actress for her flawless handling of the high-tech jargon — whether or not she fully understood it.
Banks called the Sci-Tech ceremony “a great reminder of everything that goes into the finished product we see in movie theatres.”
“I applaud your nerd-dom,” she said.