Houston Chronicle


- — Jeff Pfeiffer

31 Days of Oscar: ‘Science Fiction’ TCM, beginning at 7 p.m.

Turner Classic Movies’ 31 Days of Oscar is out of this world tonight with five Oscar-nominated and/or -winning science-fiction classics. When the Academy recognizes a sci-fi film, it is often for its visual effects and other technical aspects, and that is certainly the case with all of these titles. Sometimes, though, an especially well-done sci-fi production will also get Oscar nods in major categories, as did tonight’s initial movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), which earned Steven Spielberg his first Best Director nomination and Melinda Dillon a Supporting Actress nomination. The film’s incredible visual effects, created by a team that included the legendary Douglas Trumbull, were also nominated, and in nearly any other year Close Encounters likely would have won that and the other technical categories in which it was nominated, but it happened to be up against the even more impressive Star Wars. That latter film won a Best Original Score Oscar for composer John Williams, who had also received a nomination in that category for his score to Spielberg’s film. Among its eight nomination­s, Close Encounters did win for its cinematogr­aphy by Vilmos Zsigmond, and a Special Achievemen­t Award for sound effects editing was given to Frank E. Warner. Next in tonight’s lineup is 1968’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (pictured), which won for its visual effects by Stanley Kubrick, who was also nominated for Best Director and for the screenplay he co-wrote with Arthur C. Clarke; the film was also nominated for its set decoration. Later in the evening are The Time Machine (1960), which won in its only nominated category (Best Special Effects); Destinatio­n Moon (1950), a winner for its special effects and also a nominee for its set decoration; and Forbidden Planet (1956), which received a Best Special Effects nomination.


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