Academy hon­ours the nerds of film­mak­ing at sci-tech cer­e­mony

Cape Breton Post - - TV LISTINGS - BY SANDY CO­HEN

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.

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