The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences handed out 21 awards tonight for scientific and technical achievements.
Actress Charlize Theron hosted the black tie gala at the Regent Beverly Wilshire hotel.
Scientific and Technical Awards are presented by the academy for ``devices, methods, formulas, discoveries or inventions of special and outstanding value to the arts and sciences of motion pictures.''
Seven Scientific and Engineering Awards were presented in the form of plaques, and 14 Technical Achievement Awards were given out as certificates. Its board of directors chose the winners based on recommendations from the
Scientific and Technical Awards Committee.
Achievements receiving the scientific and technical awards needn't have been invented during the current year, said Awards Administration Director Richard Miller. They are considered ``only if they have proved their exceptional merit through successful use,'' he said.
An Oscar statuette was presented to Edmund M. Di Giulio, who the academy calls one of the film industry's ``foremost engineering minds.'' De Giulio was the Gordon E. Sawyer Award recipient. The award, established
in 1981, is ``presented to an individual in the motion picture industry whose technological contributions have brought credit to the industry.''
Perhaps best known for his part in the engineering and development of the Steadicam, Di Giulio has been active on various Academy subcommittees. He chaired the Academy's Scientific and Technical Awards Committee for five
An Award of Commendation went to Rune Ericson, who was honored for ``his groundbreaking efforts on and dedication to the development of the Kodak Super 16mm film format for motion pictures.'' According to the academy, the Swedish director of photography has worked for more than 30 years to improve the Super 16mm, which has been used for more than 500 feature films shot throughout the world since the 1970s.
The system gives the camera extreme mobility, allowing cuts in production costs and shooting time without corrupting the quality of the image, according to AMPAS. The 16mm film format has also played a significant part in furthering the mainstream success of low-budget films. By extending the width of the 16mm frame, more of the frame height can be used, which allows low-budget films to be produced in a technically compatible version for widescreen theatrical release.
Here are the Scientific and Engineering Award recipients:
John Eargle, Don Keele and Mark Engebretson for the concept, design and engineering of the modern constant-directivity, direct radiator style motion picture loudspeaker systems;
Iain Neil won for the concept and optical design and Al Saiki for the mechanical design of the Panavision Primo Macro Zoom Lens, a compact, wide-angle, macro focus lens;
Peter Kuran for the invention, and Sean Coughlin, Joseph A. Olivier and William Conner for the engineering and development, of the RCI-Color Film Restoration Process, which restores color to faded color negatives;
Franz Kraus, Johannes Steurer and Wolfgang Riedel for the design and development of the ARRILASER Film Recorder, which demonstrates a high level of engineering resulting in a compact, user-friendly, low-maintenance device while at the same time maintaining outstanding speed, exposure ratings and image quality;
Makoto Tsukada, Shoji Kaneko and the Technical Staff of Imagica Corp., and Daijiro Fujie of Nikon Corp., for the Imagica 65/35 Multi-Format Optical Printer, a liquid-gate optical printer that offers ease of set-up and change-
over to various formats from 35mm to 65mm;
Steve Gerlach, Gregory Farrell and Christian Lurin for the design, engineering and implementation of the Kodak Panchromatic Sound Recording Film, which allows all four soundtrack systems to be exposed on a single negative
with relative ease, facilitating more economic distribution of motion pictures; and
Paul Constantine and Peter M. Constantine for the design and development of the CELCO Digital Film Recorder products.
Here are the Technical Achievement Awards winners:
Pete Romano for the design and development of the Remote AquaCam, an underwater camera housing system for use in motion pictures;
Jordan Klein for his pioneering efforts in the development and application of underwater camera housings for motion pictures;
Lance Williams for his pioneering influence in the field of computer-generated animation and effects for motion pictures;
Bernard Werner and William Gelow for the engineering and design of filtered line arrays and screen spreading compensation as applied to motion picture loudspeaker systems;
Tomlinson Holman for the research and systems integration resulting in the improvement of motion picture loudspeaker systems;
Geoff Jackson and Roger Woodburn for their DMS 120S Camera Motor;
Thomas Major Barron for the overall concept and design; Charles Smith for the structural engineering; and Gordon Seitz for the mechanical engineering of the Bulldog Motion Control Camera Crane;
John Anderson, Jim Hourihan, Cary Phillips and Sebastian Marino for the development of the ILM Creature Dynamics System;
Dr. Steve Sullivan and Eric Schafer for the development of the ILM Motion and Structure Recovery System;
Carl Ludwig and John Constantine Jr. for their contributions to CELCO Digital Film Recorder products;
Bill Spitzak, Paul Van Camp, Jonathan Egstad and Price Pethel for their pioneering effort on the NUKE-2D Compositing Software;
Dr. Uwe Sassenberg and Rolf Schneider for the development of ``3D Equalizer,'' an advanced and robust camera and object match-moving system;
Garland Stern for the concept and implementation of the Cel Paint Software System; and
Mic Rodgers and Matt Sweeney for the concept, design and realization of the ``Mic Rig,'' a self-contained, low bed picture car carrier and camera platform.
A small army of media reps and publicists, only mildly nervous following a government warning of possible terrorist attacks, patiently filed through metal detectors in the wee hours of Feb. 12 for the announcements of the 74th Annual Academy Awards nominations. And while the anticipatory buzz was a bit more subdued than usual, Oscar rewarded with a not-exactly-predictable crop of nominees, spreading the wealth among a wide-ranging group of films.
Last year's Best Supporting Actress winner Marcia Gay Harden (Pollock) was looking fresh for the pre-dawn occasion in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences' Beverly Hills headquarters, wearing a smart black pantsuit. Moments before the announcements, Harden stood in the wings of the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater making excited, pixie-ish faces at one of her handlers, who had the actress present herself for a last-minute check to ensure her dark ensemble was fully buttoned and lint-free. "I love it," Harden whispered gamely as she was inspected. "You've got to do it."
Harden then joined Academy president Frank Pierson to announce the top ten categories of the 24 different Oscar races, including the first ever animated feature film category. And while two expected powerhouse films, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (with 13 nominations) and A Beautiful Mind (with eight), dominated in several categories, many nods were given to films that had already been mentioned as possible Oscar contenders by the Golden Globes, the Directors Guild, the Screen Actors Guild, the Writers Guild and other award-bestowing organizations.
In the end, almost every major movie with early buzz came up with at least one nomination. But the real heavyweights landed in the Best Picture category, which features a highly competitive field comprised of A Beautiful Mind, The Lord of the Rings, In the Bedroom, Moulin Rouge and Gosford Park.
The 800-pound gorilla--or is that orc?--among the nominees was The Lord of the Rings, only the seventh film in history to snag a baker's dozen worth of nods (historically, only All About Eve and Titanic scored more with 14), but earned only one acting nod, a supporting nom for Ian McKellen as the wizard Gandalf. New Line, the studio behind the film, was so dedicated to getting older Academy members to screen the fantasy flick that one member told Hollywood.com he had a DVD of the film hand-delivered within hours when he told the studio he hadn't received a screening copy.
In contrast, the much smaller but equally well-marketed film (from Miramax, the grand champ of Oscar campaigns) In the Bedroom received five nominations, and while none were in technical categories and director Todd Field was bypassed, it snared three nominations in the prestigious acting categories, for Sissy Spacek, Tom Wilkinson and Marisa Tomei.
Still, it may be tough for either the fantastic visuals of Lord of the Rings or the measured angst of In the Bedroom to triumph over A Beautiful Mind, which seems to gather more momentum with each passing day. Not only did star Russell Crowe garner his third consecutive Oscar nomination as expected, supporting actress Jennifer Connelly scored her first nod, as did director Ron Howard. The film is also nominated for adapted screenplay, original score, film editing and makeup. If Crowe--who took home last year's trophy for Gladiator--wins, he'll join the elite ranks of Tom Hanks, Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy and Luise Rainer as a back-to-back Oscar winner.
Perhaps the biggest success story among the nominations was the strong performance of Moulin Rouge, a you-either-love-it-or-you-hate-it modern musical that, thanks to 20th Century Fox's aggressive Oscar campaign and almost a year of relentless stumping from director Baz Luhrmann, scored with Academy voters, tying A Beautiful Mind's eight nods--including Best Picture. But despite accolades for lead actress Nicole Kidman and nods in several technical categories, Luhrmann, star Ewan McGregor and the film's music were snubbed.
Gosford Park also performed admirably, garnering seven nominations, including two for supporting actress. But forgotten was Memento, considered a leading contender throughout most of the year but left behind with but two noms, for original screenplay and editing. Black Hawk Down, the military drama that has seen its popularity skyrocket since its Christmas release, was also downed as a best picture contender but soared with four nominations.
There were a few interesting wrinkles in the acting categories. Provoking the biggest response among the live audience was the nomination for Ali's Will Smith, a major movie star who saw his chances at Oscar gold rise when he was tapped for a Golden Globe nom, then get murkier when he was bypassed by the SAG Awards. Smith joined Denzel Washington (Training Day) among the Best Actor nominees, marking the first time two African American men have been named simultaneously in that category.
Just ten hours before the announcements, Jon Voight was rooting for his Ali co-star. "There'll be a lot of people having sleepless nights," said Voight, out on the town in Hollywood on the night before the nominations were revealed. "I sure hope he gets it." Voight--previously nominated for Midnight Cowboy, Runaway Train and a 1978 Oscar winner for Coming Home--was more sanguine about his chances for being feted for his nearly unrecognizable turn as sportscaster Howard Cosell, and his humility was rewarded with a Best Supporting Actor nod.
Conspicuously absent among the acting nominees was Voight's son-in-law, Billy Bob Thornton, who was widely praised for his roles in three 2001 films, The Man Who Wasn't There, Bandits and Monster's Ball--indeed, Thornton's multiplicity of good work may have divided his Oscar votes. His absence may have opened the field for Academy favorite Sean Penn, nominated for I Am Sam, which otherwise left voters unmoved.
Conversely, the year's most hyped actress, Kidman--like Smith, overlooked by SAG--managed to withstand her own toughest competition--herself in The Others--and pulled off a Best Actress nomination. She joined Spacek, Halle Berry (Monster's Ball), Renee Zellweger (Bridget Jones's Diary) and Judi Dench (Iris).
The oft-nominated Dench may have had an added lucky charm in the form of her co-star, Kate Winslet, who was nominated in the supporting actress field for playing writer Iris Murdoch, the same character as Dench. The only other time two actresses were nominated for playing the same character was in 1997, when Gloria Stuart and--you guessed it--Winslet were singled out for Titanic.
An actor whose surprise SAG nod may have helped his Oscar chances was Ethan Hawke, whose role as a rookie cop in Training Day landed him among the supporting actor nominees. He edged out the buzzed-about Steve Buscemi (Ghost World) to join Jim Broadbent, McKellen, Voight and Ben Kingsley, still on a roll for his blistering turn in Sexy Beast.
Two grand dames from Gosford Park's Brit Pack of distinguished thespians made the cut in the supporting actress category: Helen Mirren (in her second Oscar nomination) and Maggie Smith (in her sixth!) rounded out a roster that features former Academy Award winner Tomei, three-time nominee Winslet and first-timer Connelly.
Gosford Park's maverick director Robert Altman survived a DGA snub to take home his fifth nomination in the directing category (earlier noms came for M*A*S*H, Nashville, The Player and Short Cuts). And while In the Bedroom's Field and Moulin Rouge's Luhrmann join the ranks of directors whose films were nominated as best picture but who failed to be nominated themselves, Black Hawk Down's Ridley Scott and Mulholland Drive's David Lynch managed to nab slots, joined by Howard and Lord of the Rings' Peter Jackson.
In what may be a foreshadowing of things to come, each of the three nominees in the brand-spanking-new animated feature film category--Shrek, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius and Monsters, Inc. --featured CGI animation over the more conventional ink and paint style. Shrek was frequently discussed as a best picture nominee, but while it didn't make the cut there it was recognized in the adapted screenplay field.
The whimsical and visually inventive French film Amélie was the standout among the foreign film nominees (joining Norway's Elling, India's Lagaan, Bosnia & Herzogovina's No Man's Land and Argentina's Son of the Bride). Amélie was also tapped in four other categories, including art direction and original screenplay.
Paul McCartney proved the old Beatle still has Wings, scoring an original song nomination for his end-title track to Vanilla Sky, the much-debated film's only nod. In the Oscar ranks, McCartney still has a long way to go to match composer John Williams, who is the single most nominated living person with 41 nominations, receiving not one but two this year for his original scores for A.I.: Artificial Intelligence and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Only Walt Disney (with 64) and composer Alfred Newman (with 45) have more.
Speaking of both Disney and Newman, the latter's nephew Randy continued his streak as one of the Academy's favorite composer-songwriters, garnering two nominations--for original score and original song--for his music from Disney's Monsters, Inc.
Will Will Truman get lucky? Will Chandler and Monica tie the knot? Will Dawson and Pacey make up? And what's up with "Popular"?!
Those are some of the questions that have been posed and that will be answered during the fall season of television.
Herein is a critique of the fall seasons of 10 TV series that Hollywood.com staffers watch on a weekly basis:
"Will & Grace," NBC, Thursdays, 9 p.m. ET
Is "Will & Grace," the as-of-late-sometimes-hilarious sitcom about a gay man named Will Truman (Eric McCormack, who looks tan and really sexy this season), his best gay friend Jack McFarland (the always funny, over the top Emmy winner Sean Hayes), his best female friend Grace Adler (Debra Messing), and her lush of a socialite "employee" Karen Walker (Emmy winner Megan Mullally), falling from, er, grace this season? "Will & Grace" sadly has been spotty since its Emmy win for Best Comedy. McCormack has said that Will will date this season and have a number of boyfriends. The guest spot a few weeks back by Patrick Dempsey as one of those alleged future boyfriends was funny, and the exchange among Dempsey, McCormack and Hayes in Banana Republic (dancer-actor-singer-choreographer Jack is now a Banana Republic sales associate, headphones and all) was witty and pretty and ... well, you know. But last week's much-hyped guest spot by Cher was totally disappointing. The writing was weak for most of the episode, guest star Camryn Manheim was wasted and Cher appeared in only the last few minutes. What we needed was a half hour of "Jack & Cher." Here's hoping that Will hooks up with Mr. Banana Republic. Life is about the Banana, after all. Go, girlfriend. Grade: B-
"Friends," NBC, Thursdays, 8 p.m. ET
Some shows grind to a halt after two characters get together, but the pairing of Monica (Courteney Cox Arquette) and Chandler (Matthew Perry), who are set to wed this season, has created more hijinks than ever. They have created the funniest storylines of the season: Monica consults an elaborate wedding binder she's been keeping since 4th grade, only to find out that her parents spent her wedding fund on a beach house. Chandler keeps having embarrassing moments with his future father-in-law (Elliott Gould) and finds that he can't smile in photographs. Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) and Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) compete for maid of honor (Phoebe wins, but lets Rachel do it because it means more to her). Meanwhile, the non-wedding-related storylines have fallen to the wayside: Rachel has hired a cute younger assistant she can't date; Joey's pilot gets canceled, and Phoebe just found out that her grandmother's secret cookie recipe is from Nestle Tollhouse. Ross (David Schwimmer), other than a memory-lane kiss with Rachel, is so far unlucky in love. But, in the funniest episode of the season, he finds an unlikely snuggling partner in Joey when the two accidentally nap together -- and like it. Grade: B+
"The West Wing," NBC, Wednesdays, 9 p.m. ET
This Emmy winner started its second season with a bang -- quite literally. After the cliffhanger from the end of the first season, wherein President Jed Bartlet (Martin Sheen) and Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford) were shot, the two-hour opener took viewers from the present to the past. The episode cleverly gave the audience the background of why Bartlet first got on the campaign trail and showed how his extraordinary staff was assembled, all while juxtaposed with the assassination crisis. And the show doesn't seem to be stopping, creating scenarios that mirror the current social and political climate -- including some controversial racial conflict. The cast is still outstanding -- including Emmy winners Allison Janney as Press Secretary C.J. Cregg and Richard Schiff as Communications Director Toby Ziegler. Guest spots by the likes of Timothy Busfield and John Laroquette added heart and intensity to the behind-the-scenes storylines. But the heart of the show remains Sheen as the wise and truthful President Bartlet, and given the current real-life situation in the political world, Bartlet would be considered a godsend. Grade: A
"Everybody Loves Raymond," CBS, Mondays, 9 p.m. ET
Though "Everybody Loves Raymond" does not tend to build upon storylines episode to episode, it has shown some resourcefulness this season. Bringing in guest stars such as Robert Culp as Debra Barone's (Emmy winner Patricia Heaton) dad was a nice touch, especially when it led to a hilarious dispute between in-laws. But the show has been quite hit-or-miss lately. Ray (Ray Romano) developing a fear of germs, for example -- interesting but not funny, especially for a character who already has three young children. Just a breakdown of logic there. Ray's brother Robert, the divorced cop (played with deadpan precision by Brad Garrett), has also been curiously underused thus far. Grade: B-
"ER," NBC, Thursdays, 10 p.m. ET
The best thing America's top drama -- for the past six seasons -- has done so far is not add any new characters. Drs. Greene and Corday (Anthony Edwards and Alex Kingston) have gotten engaged; Dr. Kovac (the very hunky Goran Visjnic) is feeling guilt over a guy he accidentally killed during a mugging; and Dr. Carter (Noah Wyle) is back from rehab and peeing in a cup whenever he's asked. Dr. Chen (Ming-Na) is pregnant by a doctor at another hospital; Dr. Benton (Eriq LaSalle) lost his surgical attending position and is now "demoted" to an ER post; and there are hints that Dr. Weaver (Laura Innes) is mulling a lesbian relationship. Oh yes, and they treat people, too. The strongest episodes are still the medical-oriented cases, especially the 22-week-old "miracle baby" who survived nearly an entire day. Medical student/nurse Abby Lockhart (Maura Tierney) is emerging as the emotional core, letting us miss Sherry Stringfield and Julianna Margulies a little less. What's left to do is to use more of Michael Michele, who plays pediatric resident Dr. Cleo Finch. "ER" is not consistently great, but it still keeps our pulses pounding. Grade: B
"Dawson's Creek," WB, Wednesdays, 8 p.m. ET
Last year ended with Joey (Katie Holmes) sailing into the sunset with Pacey (Joshua Jackson), leaving her best friend/soul mate Dawson (James Van Der Beek) weeping and alone. It's a good choice because Holmes and Jackson have decidedly better chemistry, and although they dispense the same amount of SAT-filled sentences (meanwhile Pacey is flunking school) as Joey and Dawson, this new couple have snappier arguments/flirtations. This season: Joey's repairing her friendship with Dawson, who's trying to move on by taking pictures and finding a new confidante in Pacey's older sister (Sasha Alexander), particularly after his parents discover that they're having another baby. Pacey and Dawson take (very small) steps toward reconciliation after the former's boat is swept into a storm and the latter risks his neck to save him. Jen (Michelle Williams) is temporarily ostracized from the group -- and from best friend Jack (Kerr Smith) -- when she lets the already medicated Andie (Meredith Monroe) try Ecstasy at a rave, causing her to collapse and nearly die. But it's Andie who gives the fractured group a chance to heal again when she announces that she's leaving Capeside to spend the rest of the year in Italy (she already got into Harvard early, dontcha know). In her tearjerking farewell, she implores her friends to make up, and it looks as if they will. Grade: B+
"Frasier," NBC, Tuesdays, 9 p.m. ET
In the early '90s -- in its third season -- "Seinfeld" began to structure its episodes around the supporting characters, not the title character. Suddenly, the same seems true about "Frasier." While the love affair between Niles (David Hyde Pierce) and Daphne (Jane Leeves) seemed to be the hook to get viewers back into the show early this fall, it remained the hook throughout most of the season. And it worked. Their relationship has spawned a number of morose storylines thus far, with ex-wives and ex-fiancees plotting against the likable couple, but Frasier himself seems to have been pushed aside, stuck with adequate conflicts such as his displeasure with his wealthy new boss. But it still works. And Niles pretending to still be married in social circles is surprisingly hilarious each time. Grade: B+
"Spin City," ABC, Wednesdays, 9 p.m. ET
No, you can't blame Charlie Sheen alone for "Spin City's" decline in popularity. It really comes down to the writing. Only one episode of "Spin City" this fall has been impressive -- the one where Sheen and Heather Locklear lock horns on the set of "Live With Regis" -- but little else has proven to be much of a surprise. Sure, Sheen's character, the deputy mayor of New York, is narcissistic, and yes, he has a tainted history with drugs, but didn't we already expect that? It's not Sheen's fault that this sort of cliched writing took place. It's not Locklear's fault that she has little chemistry with him. And it's not the viewers' fault for wanting to change the channel - even though it means the certain demise of one of their previously most beloved shows. We miss ya, Mike. Grade: C-
"Popular," WB, Fridays, 9 p.m. ET
The WB's "Popular" is one of the most underrated and funniest shows on television. It's sad that it's been relegated to a Friday night spot. The show boasts a fabulous ensemble cast of pretty people vs. Everyday people, although the two sides have been mingling more and more. School stud turned social pariah Josh Ford (Bryce Johnson) has hooked up with tree-hugger Lily Esposito (Tamara Mello) after the pair rescued a gay chimpanzee from the L.A. Zoo. It's a lame pairing, but player-player Josh has already hooked up with the rest of the ladies on the show, so I guess Lil' Lily was next. Alarming this season: Instead of funny gags such as kidnapping Gwyneth Paltrow's personal shopper and competing ruthlessly for Homecoming Queen, "Popular" has turned to Very Special Episodes. Harrison John (Christopher Gorham) is battling leukemia, Nicole Julian (Tammy Lynn Michaels) has cried ... twice(!) ... over her fall from popularity, Carmen Ferrera's (Sara Rue) mother is an alcoholic, and both reigning Homecoming Queen Brooke McQueen (Leslie Bibb) and Mike "Sugar Daddy" Bernadino are battling eating disorders. Not very funny stuff. This season has been more about tears over sadness and struggles rather than laughter. As Mary Cherry (the always hilarious Leslie Grossman) would say, let's get some laughs back, hon. And pronto! Grade: B-
"Ally McBeal," Fox, Mondays, 9 p.m. ET
After a disappointing third season, David E. Kelley's series was in need of some serious spice. Kelley tried everything to raise ratings, from a lesbian lip-lock to some full-blown musical mishmash, but nothing could save the sinking show. In a final act of desperation, Kelley brought in a fresh-from-the-cell Robert Downey Jr. Little did Kelley know that the criminal element would bring such critical success this fall. As a cute, clever attorney named Larry, Downey's straight but sarcastic delivery is the perfect foil for Ally's (Calista Flockhart) high-strung hysteria. He steals every scene with his flawless timing, then punctuates even the simplest sentence with that trademark sexy smirk. Downey may have been sent in to rekindle the spark, but his presence has set the show on fire and made "Ally McBeal" a must-see on Monday nights again. Grade: B+
Reviews by Jason Alcorn, Kit Bowen, Tracey Pollack, Ellen A. Kim and Don Chareunsy.