The 30th Annual Saturn Awards, 'Celebration of the Fantastic,' were held at the Sheraton Universal Hotel on Wednesday, May 5th.
As the excitement built on the red carpet the key phrases from everyone about The Academy and Science Fiction in general seemed to be that the stories are character driven, we all loved sci-fi as children, we use our imaginations while watching and that the fans are very loyal. These thoughts were perhaps best summed by James Cameron, who stated, "Other academies tend to really ignore the genre picture. If you're a real fan of fantasy and horror, every once and a while you have a film that punches through to the mainstream, in a resounding way, like LORD OF THE RINGS, and that's cool. It's good to sit in a room with a bunch of like minded peopled and celebrate this genre that we love so much."
Master of Ceremonies for the evening was writer, actor, producer and comedian, Jeffrey Ross, also last years' host, with Gabriella Bern as stage hostess, and Jeff Rector, the event announcer.
The 2003 Dr. Donald A. Reed Award, founder of The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, was presented to TRUE LIES by Tom Arnold to James Cameron for his contribution to genre filmmaking. (Cameron was unable to attend last years' ceremony as he was on a deep sea expedition for GHOSTS OF THE ABYSS).
Cameron and Arnold were amused, after their photo shoot in the press room, by an alluring and delightful space alien from Saturn named Lolly, whose squeaky voiced language, pale white skin, pink body suit and blond pony tail beguiled everyone. She unobtrusively arrived at the awards in a small traveling trunk and quickly and quietly unfolded in the lobby before everyone's eyes! Her performance piece was priceless, and actress and contortionist Bonnie Morgan has also toured with Paul McCartney and appeared in MINORITY REPORT.
This years' Reed Award, presented by Sam Elliot, went to veteran producer Gale Anne Hurd for her vast body of work that includes THE TERMINATOR series, ALIENS, THE HULK and ARMEGEDDON. Hurd looked lovely in a multi-colored blue and green chiffon dress, commented that, "As much as the genre is accepted, not all films are successful and that she was very happy for all of her successful films." Elliot noted that he was getting ready to release his OFF THE MAT film and his lovely wife, Katherine Ross, when asked about the new STEPFORD WIVES, noted that, "The film was ahead of its time, with cloning now here. I'm sure the movie will be very different and I look forward to seeing it."
Best Horror Film for 28 DAYS LATER was accepted by Andrew Lin, with Best DVD release going to BIONICLE:MASK OF LIGHT, which was presented by Alison Eastwood and accepted by Bob Thompson and David Molina.
Kevin Sorbo of ANDROMEDA and HERCULES, also nominated in the Best DVD Television Release and Best Syndicated/Cable Series, presented Best DVD Classic Film Release to THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, which starred Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland. It was accepted by Michael Crawford. Best DVD Collection went to THE ADVENTURES OF INDIANA JONES, accepted by Kevin Kurtz. Kelly Carlson of NIP/TUCK and Will Kemp of VAN HELSING presented Michael Pellerin and Michael Mulvilhill the Best DVD Special Edition Release award for THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS (extended edition) and Best DVD Television Release, announced by Isaiah Washington, went to Joss Whedon's THE COMPLETE FIREFLY. Whedon also tied for Best Network Television Series for ANGEL with CSI:CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION, whose award was accepted by producer Naren Shanker, who was thrilled with the recognition. Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series award winner was STARGATE SG-1, accepted by Joe Malozzi and Paul Mullie, who are currently working on a new spin-off series for the franchise.
Backstage fans from the Saving Angel Organization presented Whedon with a special $13,000 donation to the International Committee of the Red Cross. Prior to the show, Whedon commented that he was, "... sorry to see the show go, but was working on other Mutant Enemy projects." Additional special guests for the evening included Terry Moore (MIGHTY JOE YOUNG) who is producing a mini-series about her liaison with Howard Hughes and carmaker George Barris, who's supped-up Delorean was a key component in the BACK TO THE FUTURE movies.
Readers of Cinescape Magazine chose The Faces of the Future Award: winners were Scott Speedman of UNDERWORLD and Melissa George of ALIAS. Speedman prior to the event said his next film would not be a genre film and, "I don't expect to win." In the pressroom he was extremely happy with his unexpected trophy.
Richard Kelly of DONNIE DARKO presented CABIN FEVER's Eli Roth with the Filmmakers Showcase Award. In the pressroom Roth said, "It's an incredible honor. After traveling with the film in other countries and great festivals, this is the only organization that honors this genre and has an appetite for them. I am honored and it is a incredible feeling."
The original INCREDIBLE HULK, Lou Ferrigno, looking as dabber and fit as ever, presented David Eick and Ronald Moore of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA with Best Television Presentation. In the pressroom Moore stated that the win was, "A validation, a long time in the coming, two years in the making and it's nice to be recognized."
Donal Logue of BLADE, who liked the "cool and mellow vibe of the evening," announced James Marsters as Best Supporting Actor on Television for ANGEL and BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. He accepted via videotape. Amy Acker won Best Supporting Actress on Television for ANGEL. Acker, pleased with the award, said she was feeling bad for the show to be over. "It's the last day of celebration for what we've done."
Best Actress on Television went to Amber Tamblyn of JOAN OF ARCADIA and was accepted by her co-star Michael Welch. Best Actor on Television went to David Boreanaz of ANGEL, who also accepted via a pre-taped piece.
Ron Perlman, fresh off his critically acclaimed HELLBOY movie, admitted on the red carpet that he was, "speechless over the rave reviews." He introduced Peter Jackson's pre-taped win for Best Director for LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING and presented Lawrence Bender with Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film for KILL BILL, VOLUME 1. In the pressroom Bender noted, "We had lots of fun on the set. I'm glad to see it win. Eventually both films will come out all together."
Tyler Hoechin announced Best Performance by a Younger Actor, with the Saturn Award going to Jeremy Sumpter of PETER PAN. The very enthusiast performer commented, "This is my first award and it feels amazing."
Sean Young introduced Uma Thurman's pre-taped win as Best Actress for KILL BILL, VOLUME 1, and announced Elijah Wood as Best Actor for THE LORD OF THE RINGS:THE RETURN OF THE KING. Samantha Mathis from THE PUNISHER, announced Best Supporting Actress to Ellen DeGeneres in FINDING NEMO and to Sean Astin for Best Supporting Actor for LORD OF THE RINGS:THE RETURN OF THE KING. FINDING NEMO, also picked up the award for Best Animated feature.
Backstage Astin was accompanied by Alison Heruth-Waterbury, producer and actress of D.H.S., THE SERIES (Department of Homeland Security), who along with executive producer Joseph Medawar spoke briefly about their two-hour pilot and new series that has been lauded by President Bush and Governor Schwarzenegger's anti-terrorism office. Astin, pleased with his win stated, "Mythology is imbedded into the genre of science fiction and science fiction is a celebration of the imagination. This award feels great." He considers himself to be a student of the history of cinema and his new book "There and Back Again-An Actor's Tale" will be released this fall.
John Favreau announced LORD OF THE RINGS:THE RETURN OF THE KING for Best Writing by Philippa Boyens, Fran Walsh and Peter Jackson; and Best Fantasy Feature. Additional wins for RINGS included Best Music by Howard Shore, Best Make-up by Richard Taylor and Peter King; and Best Special Effect by Jim Rygiel, Joe Letteri and Randall William Cook.
Young Jenna Boyd, looking wonderful in her white beaded satin gown announced additional winners that were not present. Ridley Scott won the George Pal Memorial Award. Some of his film classics include ALIEN, BLADE RUNNER, GLADIATOR and BLACK HAWK DOWN. The Lifetime Achievement Award went to composer John Williams for his orchestral work on JAWS, the Indiana Jones trilogy, Star Wars movies and Harry Potter series; the Life Career Award went to Blake Edwards for his PINK PANTHER series, VICTOR/VICTORIA and BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S. The Visionary Award went to philanthropic investor and co-founder of Microsoft (with Bill Gates) Paul G. Allen, the man behind FAR FROM HEAVEN, the PBS series EVOLUTION and Martin Scorsese's THE BLUES. Additional tributes included THE WIZARD OF OZ: An Appreciation; MARS ON FILM: The Photogenic Red Planet; and GODZILLA: An Anniversary tribute for his 50th Birthday.
The evening closed out with Ben Browder of FARSCAPE presenting the Best Science Fiction Film to X2: X-MEN UNITED to Laura Shuler Donner and Ralph Winter, who summed the evening up nicely by stating that, "Receiving this award is a thrill." Donner added that, "... characters and imagination drive these stories and that's what makes them work."
ANECDOTES FROM THE EVENING:
James Cameron: one of his favorite horror films is Blake Edwards' WAIT UNTIL DARK.
Kevin Sorbo enjoyed sitting behind Gene Roddenberry's desk in his house and discussed ANDROMEDA.
Sean Astin "As an actor, I'm passionate. I worked hard for years in order to play Sam."
Ben Browder: "FARSCAPE is an epic romance and the genre is a stepchild of drama and comedy."