Who knew that Sir Patrick Stewart could make even an awards ceremony autocue sound like the work of a great playwright.
Stewart acted as the master of ceremonies at the The Academy’s annual Scientific and Technical Awards which took place at the swanky Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills last night, and kicked off the evening by suggesting that he might have had to fight off another legendary British actor for the gig.
“Word has been circulating, I know, that Helen Mirren might be taking my place,” the “Logan” star joked. “Sorry, folks!”
One would have thought that Stewart’s previous experience aboard the Starship Enterprise during his adventurous “Star Trek” days might put him in good stead in a room full of “geeks and nerds,” but the actor confessed, after a surf and turf dinner of beef tenderloin and chilean sea bass, that he might not be au fait with some of the finer points of galactic science.
“My dinner was largely spent being questioned about the differences in resolution between Galaxy-class viewscreens and Constitution-class viewscreens,” he joked. “Well, I simply answered, politely, I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. In fact, the truth is that I wouldn’t know the difference between a warp core breach and the space time continuum if they got into bed with me.”
However, at one point in the evening’s proceedings, Stewart ran everybody through the history of animation with such gusto and conviction in his voice that it almost felt like someone should commission him to narrate a documentary on the subject.
In between his jovial presenting routine, Stewart handed out awards to “Star Wars” visual effects technologist Jonathan Erland, as well as 34 other individuals.
Companies from almost every technical and scientific filmmaking sphere were honored, including experts in rigging, character creation, fast-rotating helicopter cameras, and even crane shot specialists who worked on “Wonder Woman,” “La La Land,” and the extended underwater sequences in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.”
The night was a tribute to the people who touch every pixel, who blend the real and the unreal to bring magic to the screen. Many a parent, husband, wife and child was thanked, and countless apologies for late nights spent hunched over computer screens were issued by the winners.
Perhaps the largest cheer of the night came when one winner thanked the inventors of the C++ and Python coding languages, as well as his wife and family, of course.
While no one was played off for commercials, as seems traditional during the Academy Awards proper, the music did come up in the middle of a few speeches and there was a small technical issue with the auto cue.
“It’s ironic to have a technical problem in a room full of technicians and scientists,” Steward astutely pointed out. “Many of you could probably easily fix the problem, but we’re back up and running.”
Fortunately for Sir Patrick, the rest of the evening went on without a hitch, and regular warp speed efficiency was resumed.