(Source: thewrap.com) The Academy’s Scientific and Technical Awards ceremony, which took place Saturday night at the Beverly Wilshire hotel, demonstrated a couple of things conclusively.

First, it showed that filmmaking is a very complicated business, particularly to those of us who can’t tell high fidelity reflectance data from sub-pixel offsets of the CMOS array sensor.

Second, it showed that the people who do understand that stuff need to have a pretty good sense of humor.

The Academy’s annual tribute to the folks who put the sciences into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the ones whose scientific and technical breakthroughs make it possible for all those better-known Oscar nominees to do their jobs, was also a night for nerd jokes.

Elizabeth BanksLots of nerd jokes, all coming from the mouth of Elizabeth Banks, the show’s host, who came onstage after a montage of scenes from her films, including “Seabiscuit,” “The 40 Year Old Virgin,” “W.” and “Zack and Miri Make a Porno.”

The clip from that last film, which ended the montage, featured brief shots of Banks in her underwear. “Wow, thank you,” she said when she took the stage. “That was really my ass and boobs. That was unexpected.”

Banks’s job meant not only reading explanations of things like point-based rendering and high-fidelity reflectance data, but also announcing winners with names like Gyula Priskin and Mark Jaszberenyi.

“As you might have guessed, I am not an expert” in the science of movie-making, said the actress, whose appearance in the “Spider-Man” movies apparently qualified her for a gig that always goes to a young actress who’s appeared in one or two effects-laden films.

Her lack of knowledge, she added, was “Not because I am a blond. Or a woman. It’s because I’m not a nerd.”

She quickly added that she respects nerds, depends on them for things, and even married one. But those jokes turned into the running theme of the evening – and by the time she said something about zits, and then added, “not that I get zits; I’m just trying to relate to you guys,” you could hear a little grumbling in the audience.

For the most part, though, the crowd laughed at Banks’ nerd jokes and applauded her for making her way through technical descriptions that she admitted she was going to “read but not fully understand.”

Banks introduced a couple of awards in the field of ambient occlusion by saying, “ambient occlusion may sound like some sort of eye disease, especially to you nerds who know what the word occlusion means.”

Then again, one of the honorees, Hilmar Koch, admitted that his field is a touch esoteric. “My friends tell me that ambient occlusion is the best thing I’ve ever done,” he said, “because any time they have trouble falling asleep they call me up and ask for an explanation.”

By 10 p.m., the awards had all been handed out and about 40 of the honorees had delivered their acceptance speeches.  (A few couldn’t make it.) Before the winners posed for photos on the stage (for a shot, they were told, that’ll appear on the Oscar telecast) and the guests headed for the door with little goodie bags of chocolate Oscar coins, Banks returned to the stage one last time.

“I really am truly honored to be part of this evening,” she said. “It’s a great reminder of everything that goes into what we see at the movies.”

She paused. “I thank you for your nerd-dom.”



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