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‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ ‘The Walking Dead,’ ‘Interstellar’ Shine at Saturn Awards

Interstellar” drew the most wins at the 41st annual Saturn Awards, taking six awards including top science fiction film. But “Guardians of the Galaxy” also had a big night, picking up awards for top comicbook film, best director and best actor for Chris Pratt.

Jonathan Nolan accepted the screenwriting honor for “Interstellar.” He quipped: ” ‘Interstellar’ is the story of a man who goes on an arduous journey, comes back 100 years later to find that nobody remembers him or gives a f–k about what he was doing. It’s a pretty good metaphor for writing a studio film.”

“Guardians” director James Gunn accepted for Pratt, then was recalled to the podium twice more in quick succession to accept his own kudos and the top honor for the film. Gunn eschewed the “cocktail attire” dress code for a black sweatshirt emblazoned with a kitten. Gunn read a message from Pratt: “James Gunn is the future. He’s a genius. I tried every day to do one thing: Give myself over to the creative vision of the man who is up there accepting this award on my behalf. He will always be my trusted leader and friend… and ladies, he is single. Right? Are you? We haven’t talked in a couple weeks. It doesn’t matter, he is single tonight. I’d like to open the bidding at $1,000 for James. Ha ha, is he blushing? James, ask the audience if you are red.”

The Saturn Awards are presented annually by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films. They treat genre stars and filmmakers with the reverence and enthusiasm they rarely get at more mainstream awards shows. Costumed characters pose for photos during cocktails and the Alien and Predator dance at the after-party, but the real attraction each year at the Castaway ballroom in Burbank is genre stars like “Gilligan Island’s” Dawn Wells, “Rocky Horror Picture Show’s” Barry Bostwick and “Battlestar Galactica’s” Tricia Helfer, all of whom presented this year.

“We’re lucky, we have a big audience,” said “The Walking Dead” showrunner Scott Gimple in accepting one of the show’s four wins, “but this audience is our core audience.”

It was a bittersweet night for “Hannibal,” which took three awards just days after being cancelled. “The Flash” also fared well, winning for superhero TV series and guest performance (Wentworth Miller), while star Grant Gustin collected the Breakthrough Performance Award.

Carlton Cuse was the third recipient of the Dan Curtis Legacy Award. Cuse remembered an early job as a personal assistant to a studio chief, which found him spending a week searching for a mint-green toilet seat. When he found it, “not more than two miles from where we are right now” in Burbank, he was thrilled. “And then I sort of stepped out of my body, and was ‘Oh my God, what am I doing?” he said. “And that’s when I started writing.” He finished by reminding everyone that “you’re never more than a couple of miles from a mint-green toilet seat.”

Life Career Award honoree Bob Cobert, composer of such classic TV scores and themes as “The Winds of War” and “Dark Shadows,” told Variety before the show the award “would look good in the obit.” His friends, “Dark Shadows” thesps Kathryn Leigh Scott and David Selby, presented Cobert his award, and Selby got an ovation for singing Cobert’s popular “Quentin’s Theme” from the show, which became a top-10 hit and earned Cobert a Grammy nomination. The 90-year-old Cobert stepped up with a hilarious acceptance speech in which he answered the show’s request he not say “f–k” with a shower of f-bombs.

Dean Devlin presented Noah Wyle the Artists Showcase Award. Wyle remembered coming into Devlin’s office 12 years ago and seeing a cool trophy on the shelf — a Saturn, naturally — and asking what it was. ” ‘You don’t know about the Saturn Awards?’ They honor what we do,” Wyle recalled Devlin telling him.

David Lynch sent a video message thanking the org for giving “Twin Peaks” the award for best homevideo release. “We’re kind of hungry,” he deadpanned, whereupon an image of Saturn morphed into the show’s iconic foodstuffs: first a donut, then pie.

Afterwards, the revelers retired to the Castaway courtyard for the after-party, where costumed characters danced and partygoers could look to the stars through powerful telescopes. Some were trained on Saturn. Of course.

For a full list of Saturn Award winners go to saturnawards.org.

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