Actress Elizabeth Banks hosts kudofest for biz's 'nerds'

It was an emotional night for the film industry’s engineers and technologists as the Acad presented its Scientific and Technical Awards at the Beverly Wilshire.

The certificates and plaques handed out Saturday night represented a change from prior years. No Academy Award of Merit Oscars were presented, nor was the Sawyer Award honorary Oscar or the Bonner Medal for service. Those trophies had been staples of the Sci-Tech ceremony, but an Acad spokesman said no names proposed to the Scientific and Technical Awards committee rose to the standards they maintain for the kudos.

That didn’t put a damper on the evening, however, as the honorees, many of whom had come from overseas to receive their awards, voiced deep appreciation for Academy kudos they never imagined they would receive.

Klaus Anderle, who received two awards, departed from his prepared speech on his second trip to the podium to offer an emotional thank you to “all the actors and directors and everyone else in early production.”

Most of the honors focused on two areas: Digital lighting and enabling technologies for digital intermediate. One of the few awards outside those disciplines went to a four-man team from Industrial Light & Magic, honored for the Imocap performance-capture system. ILM’s Steve Sullivan said, “I’d like to offer an apology to Bill Nighy, Robert Downey Jr. and all the actors who’ve had to endure the deeply embarrassing computer pajamas. It’s their work that makes us at ILM look good.”

Host Elizabeth Banks kept the energy level high. “Some of the stuff you awesome nerds come up with is pretty freaking cool,” she said at the start. That became the evening’s theme, as Banks poked fun at the “nerds” and her lack of understanding of what they do.

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