The Academy handed out a bunch of awards on Saturday night – not Oscar statuettes, but Scientific and Technical Awards to the folks without whom the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences would be AMPA, not AMPAS. The winners were announced a while back (we have the names here), but there's more to the Sci-Tech ceremony than just guys winning awards for unpronounceable innovations.
For instance: Marisa Tomei hosted and, in the words of an Academy staffer's tweet, was "rockin' the tech lingo." She also created an impromptu drinking game, wrote Ryan Pearson, asking the assembled guests to take a shot every time she said the word queue, which she did frequently because six different awards were given to render queue management systems. (One of the winners predicted "action figures" as the next step in the newfound stardom for queuing systems engineers.) In a departure from the usual Sci-Tech practice, the entertainment was a rock band, the Backbeats, instead of the usual magician or juggler. And Awards Committee chair Richard Edlund told the Hollywood Reporter that a digital camera has never gotten a Sci-Tech Award because "the yardstick is film" and it'll take a 4K camera, not a 2K camera, to set the bar high enough. Plus, the Academy has lots of photos on Facebook. (Photo by Greg Harbaugh/AMPAS)
And speaking of drinking … When it comes to "The King's Speech," I guess Tom O'Neil is a glass-half-empty kind of guy. He looks at the film's dominance at the BAFTA Awards – where it went in with 14 nominations and won seven awards, four more than anybody else, including the extremely rare combination of Best Film and Outstanding British Film – by looking not at the seven categories where it won, but the seven where it didn't. His conclusions are that four of the seven weren't very surprising, two were mildly surprising, and Tom Hooper's Best Director loss to David Fincher reinforces what most pundits already believe: that Fincher may well win the Oscar for directing while "The King's Speech" wins Best Picture. (Gold Derby)
Scott Feinberg writes exactly what I was thinking when I drove home from Sunday night's American Society of Cinematographers Awards, where the favored Roger Deakins ("True Grit") lost to Wally Pfister ("Inception"): namely, that the long-overdue Deakins may not be the easy Oscar winner that many people think he is, because his name isn't on the Academy Awards ballot. Only in the acting categories do the ballots include the names of the nominees; in every other category, the ballot simply lists the films. Meaning that many voters may not even know exactly who they're voting for, and the fact that Deakins should have won by now won't even enter into their thinking. He's predicting a Pfister Oscar win … or, barring that, a victory for Danny Cohen for "The King's Speech." (ScottFeinberg.com)
Guy Lodge also considers the BAFTA results, and finds one thing particularly surprising: that double win of Best Film and Outstanding British Film for "King's Speech." It's been an unwritten rule that the jury that selects the British film award goes out of its way to avoid movies that'll win the big prize, he says, adding, "quite why the jurors felt the bonus award was necessary when the film was clearly a lock for the night’s top prize is a mystery to me." He also adds "one final reprimand" to voters who, in the Best Film Not in the English Language category, opted for "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" over "Biutiful," "Of Gods and Men," "I Am Love" and "The Secret in Their Eyes." To which I can only say amen. (In Contention)