ELSTON GUNN GOES TO THE 34TH ANNUAL SATURN AWARDS!!
EDITOR'S NOTE: Elston filed this report in a timely manner, but it was evidently lost in cyberspace for a while & only arrived late last night. Even though it's a little late, there's still some interesting info here, including Jon Voight's news/scoop for AICN about the director's cut of the Hal Ashby film. Enjoy!
Hello. Elston Gunn here.
Where else are you going to see Ray Wise get as much attention as the lovely, fit and trim Jennifer Love Hewitt? Or a stunning Lindsay Wagner presenting an award to the producers of CLOVERFIELD? Or Dolph Lundgren and Jon Voight hanging out together? Or Beau Bridges, Summer Glau, Doug Jones, Robert Halmi Jr. & Robert Halmi Sr., Frank Darabont, Steve Niles, Frank Marshall, James Gunn, Guillermo del Toro, Fred Dekker, Shane Black and John Saxon among many others in the same room together? Only at The Saturns.
The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror held their 34th Annual Saturn Awards show Tuesday, June 24, at the Universal Hilton in Los Angeles. I attended last year and had so much fun and there was no way I couldn't return. In a year when the Movie and TV biz were ravaged by strikes and strife, the Saturns are a breath of fresh air. People might squabble over who should've won or who shouldn't have won, but the Saturns are a celebration of the creative spirit and as Robert Halmi Sr. said, "You read the newspaper and watch TV and get reality. I prefer to live in fantasy."
And I was able to get another peek at what goes on behind the scenes to execute something like this. Publicists calling at the last minute, video clips assembled with a quickness, gift bag after gift bag being stuffed, teleprompter text being written and re-edited. It's no easy feat, but finally, as the cheesecake was served, the lights dimmed and the evening began with the text "40 Years... And Counting" appearing on the large monitors and blasting off the original trailer of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, commemorating the film's anniversary milestone this year. The music of Richard Strauss' "Also Sprach Zarathustra" seemed to help cleanse the palette previously awash of the pre-show preparatory madness. FREE ENTERPRISE director Mark Altman then welcomed everyone to the show and dedicated the night to Stan Winston and John Philip Law.
Comedian Jeffrey Ross returned for his 8th consecutive show, roasting audience members ("Having fun? Yeah? Tell your face" or "Who dressed you? FEMA?") and sounding the charge to fight back against reality shows that are hurting genre work. ("You ever play the AMERICAN IDOL drinking game? It's fun. When AMERICAN IDOL comes on you throw your beer at the TV.")
Former Starlog editor Kerry O'Quinn and last year's recipient of The Saturn Service Award was on hand to honor this year's honoree "Robot Man" Fred Barton for his work "turning his love of robots into a career" and impeccable craftmanship in creating lifesize models of genre robots. In fact, there was a 7-foot replica of an old school Cylon by Barton hanging out in the lobby of the Hilton.
Ashley Scott and Brad Beyer of JERICHO came out to present two DVD awards. The first of which was the Saturn for Best Collection on DVD which went to Anchor Bay's MARIO BAVA COLLECTION 1 & 2, the first Mario Bava-related award of the night. We'll get to the other one in a moment. THE MONSTER SQUAD won for Best Classic DVD Film Release and the film's director Fred Dekker was on hand to accept. He dedicated the award to Dr. Donald Reed, the founder of the Academy, as well as Stan Winston. "We miss you, Stan."
Jeffrey Ross came back out and did New Jersey and Jewish porn jokes before HELLBOY 2's Doug Jones hit the stage to huge applause to present Best Special Edition DVD Release to BLADE RUNNER 5-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition and the Best DVD Release to producer Leonard McCloud for THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI (REMIX). Later, Ryan McPartlin and Alicia Coppola awarded TWIN PEAKS: The Definitive Gold Box Edition and HEROES Season 1 Saturns for Best Retro TV DVD Release and Best Television Series on DVD respectively.
More applause erupted when John Saxon took center stage to eloquently present The Special Achievement Award to Tim & Donna Lucas of magazine Video Watchdog (http://www.videowatchdog.com/bava/index.htm) for the completion of their book MARIO BAVA: ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK. The tome is a 12-pound, 1128-page full color complete story of director/cameraman/special effects artist Mario Bava's life and career and through his narrative also examines a century's worth of Italian cinema. Lucas put over 30 years into the project and pre-orders from eager fans and movie lovers helped see the book to completion. Martin Scorsese provides the introduction to MARIO BAVA, which can be ordered HERE.
Actor Justin Whalin introduced the trailer to his latest movie, Ray Griggs' SUPER CAPERS, which you can see HERE, while FARSCAPE's Ben Browder and Claudia Black were reunited yet again (both are also on STARGATE: SG1) when they presented the Saturns for make-up (PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN) and special effects (TRANSFORMERS).
"Ray Wise For President!!" That thought was literally going through my geek brain when I saw the man take the podium to thunderous applause and his smiling face on the large monitors. What a very cool, charming guy. He told me it was actually his first time at the Saturns and he was having a great time. Wise presented the Saturn for Best Fantasy Film to ENCHANTED and producer Barry Josephson, who also invited the screenwriter Bill Kelly to the stage, and said that though everything about the kind of film it was went against what he had been told never to produce (no fantasy, no musicals) he read the script and had to see it through.
Adrian Pasdar of HEROES showed up next to present the Saturn for Best TV Presentation to FAMILY GUY: BLUE HARVEST and Best Syndicated TV Series to DEXTER, the creator of which said he was very happy to see people believing that an anti-hero can be a hero. TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES stars Thomas Dekker and Leven Rambin, the latter of whom will be playing the former's love interest on the show, announced the winner for Best Supporting Actor on Television. The lights dimmed and we were treated to a video of Michael Emerson (Ben on LOST) very graciously accepting his Saturn and expressing how genre stories are able to give character actors like himself a chance to work. I was able to be there for the videotaping of his acceptance speech and Emerson could not have been a more gracious and professional person. He was also extremely excited about the award and the praise that the fourth season of LOST has been receiving.
Dekker and Rambin then presented their CHRONICLES co-star Summer Glau the Saturn for Best Supporting Actress on Television. An emotional and very grateful Glau, who earlier told me the Saturns rock, thanked her co-stars and showrunner Josh Friedman then recognized Joss Whedon for giving her her breakthrough role in FIREFLY and SERENITY. As a result of a tie, Elizabeth Mitchell of LOST was the other winner for Best Supporting Actress and the show's co-creator Damon Lindelof accepted the award on her behalf.
Michelle Forbes (IN TREATMENT, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA) and Garret Dillahunt (SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN) announced Matthew Fox the winner of Best Actor on TV, which was accepted for him by Malcolm David Kelley (LOST's Walt). Jennifer Love Hewitt won Best Actress on TV for GHOST WHISPERER and exclaimed "See you guys at Comic-Con. Rock on!" Actor Neal McDonough awarded the producers of LOST the Saturn for Best TV Series, continuing the love for the show this year.
Jeffrey Ross returned to the stage ushering in "the most talented guy I'll ever introduce... Jon Voight!" In perhaps the best moment of the evening Voight delivered a speech about producer Robert Halmi Sr. and explaining how he was involved in the anti-Nazi underground in World War II, arrested by the Communists then heading to the U.S. to work for Life magazine for several years and then producing a large slate of fantasy projects. "I'm a cross between P.T. Barnum and Cecil B. DeMille" proclaims Halmi Sr. in a slick fun clip reel sampling their productions. The Life Career Award winners Halmi Sr. and Robert Halmi Jr. took to the stage before a standing ovation, thanking the Academy, talking their love of fantasy and discussing their next miniseries project THE LAST TEMPLAR, which is due out later this year.
Actress Victoria Pratt announced Freddie Highmore the Saturn winner of Best Peformance By a Younger Actor for AUGUST RUSH and Highmore accepted via videotape, while FRIGHT NIGHT's William Ragsdale awarded SWEENEY TODD the Saturn for Best Horror Film.
CLOVERFIELD stars Mike Vogel and Odette Yustman presented their director Matt Reeves the Filmmakers Showcase Award. Reeves said he's still surprised he was chosen by J.J. Abrams to direct the film but loved Drew Goddard's outline and Goddard himself as well as the chance to do a fun genre picture. Furthermore, he also apologized to anyone on which he may have inflicted nausea or headaches.
Next came Dolph Lundgren who received as much applause as anybody else and stated how happy he was to make action adventure movies and be in the presence of Jon Voight whom he said he recently hung out with in Moscow. Lundgren presented the Saturn for Best Action Adventure Movie to the producers of 300, who asked Zack Snyder to stand up and be recognized. Screenwriter Shane Black later awarded Snyder the Saturn for Best Director. Snyder thanked his producers and, of course, Frank Miller.
The adorable Rhiannon Leigh Wryn of THE LAST MIMZY read a list of the night's other winners (you can read a complete rundown below), then Beau Bridges and Madeline Zima (CALIFORNICATION) announced the winners of Best Actress and Actor which went to Amy Adams (ENCHANTED) and Will Smith (I AM LEGEND). The lights went down once more and Will Smith appeared on video accepting his award with his usual energy and wit ("This award is certainly the most... recent"), giving a shout-out to Dr. Reed and talking about how he's been chasing sci fi and action ever since he watched STAR WARS when he was young.
Maybe I'll change my mind and say the next moment was the best. Frank Darabont approached the podium and talked about his cinematic heroes and how he also gets a thrill watching those younger than him completely blow him away, which doesn't happen very often, but he mentioned PAN'S LABYRINTH doing just that and how it'll have quite the lasting power. We watched a clip of Guillermo del Toro working on the set of HELLBOY II and the crowd once again rose to its feet as he received the George Pal Memorial Award for his astounding body of work. Guillermo was jokingly curious why he received the award and asked if the Academy knew something about his cholesterol that he didn't know. He then sincerely talked about his love of fantasy, what it means to him as a means of storytelling and inspiration, and how he hopes that maybe a young person will see one of his films and feel the same love of the genre enough to make their own fantasy film. A long time friend of the Academy, del Toro summed up his enthusiasm for his first Saturn by simply saying, "I love this fucking award."
After that great scene, to close the show the original BIONIC WOMAN Lindsay Wagner, again still looking fantastic, appeared out of nowhere to award the producers of CLOVERFIELD the Saturn for Best Science Fiction Film. Once more in its own way, the old guard and the new were seen exchanging admiration as well as a Saturn statue.
So, it was a great night for CLOVERFIELD / LOST company Bad Robot, ENCHANTED and legendary filmmaker Mario Bava. When the show was over the winners, presenters and guests went down the hall into another ballroom for the after party.
A few tidbits from the party:
* On Robert Halmi Sr. Jon Voight said he was "quite moved by his journey, to go through all the adversity that he had as a young man and to come through it all. Nothing can knock him down and he still has that kind of energy as an older man. He still has that fight in him, to do things that people say are impossible, and his son has to be the responsible one."
* Some exciting news: Voight also said AICN is the first to know that he is currently working with UCLA to put out the Director's Cut of Hal Ashby's LOOKIN' TO GET OUT, a largely unavailable film that was filmed in 1980 but opened and closed in a blink in 1982 (four years after COMING HOME) after a mangled edit, Ashby's personal problems and poor reviews. It starred Voight with Ann-Margret and Burt Young (not to mention the screen debut of a very young Angelina Jolie). After all these years they found a semblance of what Ashby wanted to release and are making that happen soon. Voight said he saw a cut of it and "it's fantastic." So, the prospect of a "new" Hal Ashby film gives me goose bumps. We'll definitely keep our eye out on further developments. Beau Bridges told me earlier he had no clue if Ashby's first film THE LANDLORD, which he toplined, would ever come out on DVD but reminded me that he and his brother bookended Ashby's career (Jeff starred in Ashby's last film 8 MILLION WAYS TO DIE).
* Director Ryan Schifrin is loving working with Larry G.I. JOE Hama on SPOOKS and getting ready for a sequel to ABOMINABLE.
* Steve Niles said for research on the adaptation of his WAKE THE DEAD he's producing, he and director Jay Russell were due the next day at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to watch doctors perform open heart surgery on a pig.
* CLOVERFIELD and LOST writer Drew Goddard may possibly be the nicest guy in the world. He and Joss Whedon wrote a feature script together called THE CABIN IN THE WOODS which was announced around this time last year and hopefully we'll get some exciting news about that much sooner than later.
* Matt Reeves was beaming from the CLOVERFIELD wins and his Filmmakers Showcase Award and Zack Snyder was overheard talking about WATCHMEN and how he told execs that with something this special you need to bring the fans to the project, not the other way around.
* New filmmaker and dedicated genre fan Stewart St. John was in attendance and talking his sci fi project THE NEXT RACE. Look for a piece in the future about this.
* Shane Black was quite nebulous about a possible LETHAL WEAPON 5 -- couldn't get a straight answer one way or the other -- but he's busy trying to go forward with his next detective film THE NICE GUYS. (I noticed someone took a picture of Black with MONSTER SQUAD director Dekker. Get it?)
* Cinephile, Video Watchdog fan and sometimes filmmaker Frank Darabont told me he was really looking forward to sinking his teeth into the Mario Bava book and hung his head when I asked "So... let's talk your INDY 4 script typos." Darabont said he's so unbelievably obsessive about screenplay presentation it drives his assistants crazy. Moriarty had told me the night before how company assistants or interns retyped and photocopied the script for archival purposes and that's what leaked. Them typos ain't his. Darabont is still trying to set up FARENHEIT 451 and it's a sad, nihlistic state affairs when studios aren't responding to the idea. Studios are out of the metaphor business? Too sad.
* Guillermo del Toro was over the moon about his award. He and I also talked about his love of the work of Spanish writer Federico Garcia Lorca, how he's producing five films with Alfonso Cuaron and Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu and how excited he is about the screening in Austin for HELLBOY II on July 8. And, of course, Doug Jones was constantly asked who he would play in THE HOBBIT and he simply said he heard Guillermo tell someone "If I'm making it, Doug Jones will be in it."
I honestly had a blast last year at the Saturns, but this year seeing del Toro and the Halmis get recognized along with an up-and-comer like Reeves, and Tim Lucas who spent so much time, energy and passion into his book about a legendary Italian filmmaker was beyond a delight. Winners, presenters, producers and volunteers pulled together to create a moment celebrating the idea that genre work is elevated from something that could and should be respected to what must be respected. I'll be anxious to find out what they will come up with next year.
A huge special thanks to Academy president and show executive producer Robert Holguin, producers Kevin & Brad Marcus (who Mark Altman referred to as "like the Wachowskis without the cross-dressing"), David & Mickey Bilbrey and all the Saturn folks for their generosity and kindness. A lot of hard work and dedication goes into pulling off something like this. For more information about the Academy, the Saturn Awards, how you can get involved, become a member and vote for nominees be sure and visit THEIR WEBSITE.
Membership is open to the public.
COMPLETE LIST OF THE 34TH ANNUAL SATURN AWARD WINNERS:
Best Science Fiction Film: Cloverfield
Best Fantasy Film: Enchanted
Best Horror Film: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street
Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film: 300
Best Animated Film: Ratatouille
Best International Film: Eastern Promises
Best Actor: Will Smith (I Am Legend)
Best Actress: Amy Adams (Enchanted)
Best Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men)
Best Supporting Actress: Marcia Gay Harden (The Mist)
Best Performance By A Younger Actor: Freddie Highmore (August Rush)
Best Direction: Zack Snyder (300)
Best Writing: Brad Bird (Ratatouille)
Best Music: Alan Menken (Enchanted)
Best Costume: Colleen Atwood (Sweeney Todd)
Best Make-Up: Ve Neill, Martin Samuel (Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End)
Best Special Effects: Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Russell Earl, John Frazier (Transformers)
Best Network Television Series: Lost
Best Syndicated / Cable Television Series: Dexter
Best Presentation on Television: Family Guy: Blue Harvest
Best International Series: Doctor Who
Best Actor on Television: Matthew Fox (Lost)
Best Actress on Television: Jennifer Love Hewitt (Ghost Whisperer)
Best Supporting Actor on Television: Michael Emerson (Lost)
Best Supporting Actress on Television: (Tie) Summer Glau (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) & Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost)
Best DVD Release: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (remix)
Best Special Edition DVD Release: Blade Runner (5 Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition)
Best Classic Film DVD Release: The Monster Squad
Best Collection on DVD: Mario Bava Collection
Best Television Series on DVD: Heroes (Season 1)
Best Retro Television Series on DVD: Twin Peaks (The Definitive Gold Box Edition)
The Life Career Award: Robert Halmi, Sr.
The Life Career Award: Robert Halmi, Jr.
The George Pal Memorial Award: Guillermo del Toro
The Filmmakers Showcase Award: Matt Reeves
The Special Achievement Award: Tim & Donna Lucas
The Service Award: Fred Barton
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July 2, 2008, 9:19 a.m. CST
July 2, 2008, 9:20 a.m. CST
July 2, 2008, 9:20 a.m. CST
If not, then its not an official first....<p>UNLIKE MINE!!!
July 2, 2008, 9:31 a.m. CST
Hey, that's Angelina Jolie's dad! <p> Does he have any other daughters? Breed that man please. It's still not too late to collect sperm samples.
July 2, 2008, 9:49 a.m. CST
But what makes me excited more than anything is that Dolph Lundgren receives thunderous applause. That guy is a class act. We need more I Come In Peace movies.
July 2, 2008, 9:55 a.m. CST
by Speed Fricassee
Great report! And way to honor del Toro!
July 2, 2008, 9:59 a.m. CST
Holy shit! That should be interesting.<p>Great night for the Bad Robot crew. Nice to hear that Walt was there, too. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALT!
July 2, 2008, 10:10 a.m. CST
by Baron Karza
Kia, an acronym for Kai.
July 2, 2008, 11 a.m. CST
A couple of minor plot changes Shane and it'll be as good as the first "Lethal."
July 2, 2008, 11:20 a.m. CST
Why do people insist on this. I personally want no part of pig-fuckery. No horseshoe-crab-fuckery, armadillo-fuckery, or banana-slug-fuckery.
July 2, 2008, 11:36 a.m. CST
...but what the hell with the winners?! Jennifer Love Hewitt best actress? Has anyone on the Saturn board seen Battlestar Galactica? Sweeney Todd better than The Mist, Grindhouse, Severance, 28 Weeks Later, or frakking REC?! Jeepers. Anyways, great report Mr. Gunn, and rest assured I'm very envious.
July 2, 2008, 11:57 a.m. CST
Nice to have you back Mr. Gunn!
July 2, 2008, 11:57 a.m. CST
You go in pieces! I must break yoU!
July 2, 2008, 1:02 p.m. CST
by Alice Adams
That's pretty cool! She was so fantastic as the original Bionic Woman. The ultimate young girl of the late 70s smart and bad-ass role model. She went to my high school and we had the same drama teacher (we didn't graduate the same year, of course). Again, thorough report! Keep up the excellent work!
July 2, 2008, 1:19 p.m. CST
by Mr. Nice Gaius
Ha! I'll have to remember that one.
July 2, 2008, 1:51 p.m. CST
they pretty muh wn the Best Actress and Best Actor awards for the whole run of Farscape and then the Peacekeeper Wars. It6's fitting they should do the anouncements.
July 2, 2008, 2 p.m. CST
I mean. Beinterested in any new projects. Good to see Benjamine Linus getting some love. He's a fantastic baddie.
July 2, 2008, 2:44 p.m. CST
Lots of information in one convenient location! Now that was cool news.
July 2, 2008, 3:26 p.m. CST
Was wayyyyy overhyped, but a good solid picture. I liked the fact that the focus was placed on the people trying to figure out what the hell was going on while trying to get to safety, it wasn't another run of the mill monster destroys city movie. The shaky camera thing was a bit overdone, but it added to the realism of the situation.
July 2, 2008, 5:26 p.m. CST
impersonation? ("How did you eight balls ever get into the Navy?"). It's gold, baby. Want some real fun? Tap him on the shoulder and ask, "How's it feel to be a has-been, musclehead?" He'll laugh and laugh...great sense of humor. Yeah, go for it--
July 2, 2008, 7:18 p.m. CST
Blair Witch Godzilla. But Science Fiction? Please? It was near-imipossible to get thru. Much as I like the Saturns, having attended a few times, this choice is eye-rolling and ugh-inducing.
July 2, 2008, 9:22 p.m. CST
Still not forgiving those twits for "The Lost Empire" and "Earthsea."
July 3, 2008, 3:30 a.m. CST
Well, how do the Saturns justify "No Country For Old Men" as SF/Fantasy/Horror? Bardem's scary, but then...I suppose that makes "Who's Afraid Of Virgina Woolf" the greatest horror movie of all time.
July 3, 2008, 9:03 a.m. CST
Bring back Mutant X
July 3, 2008, 2:21 p.m. CST
Victoria Pratt is smoking hot and super sweet! P.S. If you read the categories -- the Saturns HONORS Best Actin/Adventure/Thriller Films -- to reflect the excellence in many of those films. And No Country is a thriller in my book.
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