Blackwolf the Dragonmaster's Diary of Magecraft

Being a Chronicle of the Inner Secrets of, and Spells of Magick as Wielded by, the Philosopher of the Internet and Unofficial Sorcerer-in-Residence of the City of New York

My Photo
Location: New York, New York, United States

As New York's Unofficial Wizard, my mission is to encourage the Mortals of Manhattan to imagine responsibly!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Blackwolf @ the Oscars 2007, Episode Two

Welcome back to Blackwolf @ the Oscars 2007! When we left off last episode, we were in the midst of identfiyng this year's Sci-Tech Oscar winners -- the ones the telecast usually doesn't have the time for. Having already introduced you to Ray Feeney, this year's Gordon E. Sawyer Award winner, and identified the dudes and dudettes responsible for converting from silver-based to cyan dye analog soundtracks, here now are this year's Technical Achievement Certificate winners:

Joshua Pines and Chris Kutcka of Technicolor Digital Intermediates, who created the TDI process that creates archival separations from digital image data.

Billy Feightner and Chris Edwards of E-Film, whose namesake process is likewise "based upon the production of digital separation negatives creating archival elements that can be scanned and digitally recombined for future use."

Albert Ridilla, Papken Shahbazian, Ron Belknap and Jay McGarrigle --- creators of the Hollywood Film Company's Brumagic Motion Picture Sound Track Densitometer.

Klemens Kehrer, Josef Handler, Tom Smidek and Marc Shipman Mueller, creators of the Arriflex 235 Camera System.

Florian Kainz, inventor of OpenEXR, a software package that implements 16-bit, floating-point, high dynamic range image files.

Walter Trauninger and Ernst Tschida, creators of the Arri WRC Wireless Remote Lens Control System.

Christian Tschida and Martin Waitz from cmotion, for creating their own Wireless Remote Lens Control System.

Peter Litwinowicz and Pierre Jasmin, founers of the RE: Vision Effects family of software tools for optical flow-based image manipulation.

And not to be outdone, here are this year's Scientific & Engineering Plaque winners:

Phil Feiner, Jim Houston, Denis Leconte and Chris Bushman from Pacific Title, for creating the Rosetta process which can create digital YCM archival masters for digital film restoration.

Steve Sullivan, Colin Davidson, Max Chen and Francesco Callari for Industrial Light & Magic's Image-based Modeling System.

Dr. William Collis, Simon Robinson, Ben Kent and Dr. Anil Kokaram --- creators and developers of the Furnace integrated suite of software tools which utilize temporal coherence for movie visual effects enhancements.

Howard Preston and Mirko Kovacevic, for creating Preston Cinema Systems' FI+Z Wireless Remote Lens Control System.

And guess who got this year's John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation -- no less than a true champion and legend of film visual effects, Richard Edlund, A.S.C., 6-time visual effects Oscar nominee, triple-time Sci-Tech Oscar winner, and through his Entertainment Effects Group, Los Angeles, later known as Boss Film Studios, visual effects director and/or supervisor for over 30 feature films, from Ghostbusters to Die Hard, from Poltergeist II to Batman Returns ---- and a whole lot more besides!

Well, enough science! Back to the telecast!

Will Ferrell and Jack Black, with an unexpected assist from John C. Reilly, got in probably one of the strangest comedy routines I'd ever witnessed. The song was called "A Comedian @ the Oscars (is the Saddest Sight of All)" --- and I think they were dead serious about the subject matter. Afterward, we briefly caught our hostess in the midst of a little bit of backstage conversation. Unfortunately, your Dragonmaster could not tell whether she was speaking to Louis J. Horwitz (if she was, I'll assume she was in the booth, but I don't really recall). Anyway, Ellen quickly introduced the youngest Oscar presenters in recent memory, Abigail Breslin and Jaden Christopher Syre Smith, who presented Best Animated Short. Toril Kove, writer-director of the winning entry, The Danish Poet, began her remarks by apologizing to Tom Hanks, yet thanking the Academy for their continued support of animated short subjects. She also gave a proper thumbs-up to the National Film Board of Canada, her team over at Mikrofilm in Oslo (Lisa Fearnley and Marcy Page), and Liv Ullman, who served as the short's narrator. Whew! Next, James McEvoy and Greg Kinnear did the Live-Action Short side of things, giving the trophy to the offbeat half-hour comedy/musical, West Bank Story.

Ari Sandel, West Bank's writer-director, reminded America that short films are made by directors who are trying to get noticed (I think that also means your Dragonmaster!) --- "and I think in a lot of ways, we represnt the little guy because we do't have the big studios behind us or big-name actors or a lot of times the budgets we need --- and it relies on perserverance, and stick-to-it-iveness and hustle and dedication and loyalty from a cast and crew who are doing it all for pennies, if not for nothing." Gee, and I thought defending the Imagination was tough!

Following the Short segment, Clint Eastwood said a few nice things about his Best Picture nominee, Letters from Iwo Jima. At that point, time to throw it to Milady Gina: "You're watching the Oscars, here on ABC!"

Once we returned from commercial, we found William Ross leading the Oscar orchestra --- yet another departure from previous years' Oscar parties, at which point Ellen introduced us to the Hollywood Film Chorale Sound Effects Choir (an unusual ensemble, to say the least). They demonstrated how powerful sound effects can often be when it comes to taking on a film --- and, predictably enough, this was a segue to the Best Sound Editing Oscar, as introduced by Gael Garcia Bernal and Clive Owen. It would be Alan Robert Murray who would deliver the evening's first significant moment of poignancy:

"...and finally, I'd like to thank my father and all the brave, honorable men and women in uniform, who, in a time of crisis, have all made that decision to defend their personal freedom and liberty, no matter what the sacrifice."

God Bless America, indeed! A perfect way to wrap things up for now, and to invite you bloggers out there to join us for the next thrill-packed episode of --- Blackwolf @ the Oscars 2007!