At the 36th Annual Saturn Awards, which honors the best of science fiction, fantasy and horror, James Cameron was once again ‘King of the World’ with his phenomenally successful movie Avatar winning 10 trophies, including Best Science Fiction Film, Best Actor and Actress: Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana and Best Supporting Actor and Actress: Stephen Lang and Sigourney Weaver.
Cameron, who won Best Director, Best Writer and for Best Picture, couldn’t attend the ceremony, but sent a fabulous replacement, Guillermo Del Toro, just back from New Zealand where he pulled out of directing the movie The Hobbit. Del Toro joked that Cameron didn’t trust him with an acceptance speech, so James filmed one which was broadcast to the audience.
On the television side, Lost won Best TV Series and TV Actor: Josh Holloway, while Best TV Actress and Best Actor in a Guest-Starring Role went to Anne Torv and Leonard Nimoy, both for Fringe.
Backstage at the event, which took place in the Starlight Ballroom at The Castaway Restaurant in the hills overlooking the San Fernando Valley, I spoke with director Zach Synder, whose movie Watchmen won Best Fantasy Film. “It’s amazing that the movie got made at all,” he said. “I’m super proud of it, and I’m so happy to receive this Saturn Award, because I think this is really where the movie belongs.”
He also spoke of the fans and critics who thought his version of the graphic novel was too literal. “If you think that this movie was too faithful to the graphic novel, then you haven’t read the graphic novel, because it’s crazy to say that. I did the movie the way I wanted to, so that was (satisfying).”
Sam Raimi’s movie Drag Me to Hell won Best Horror Film, which seemed to astound him. “I’m so surprised and thankful to the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror, we are all thrilled. We really wanted to make a horror film that entertained, shocked and scared the audience and it was a great validation to win an award like this. It’s special from this group, some of the great filmmakers like Zack Snyder, Richard Donner, great actors like Leonard Nimoy (were here tonight). To be honored amongst your peers that are so highly respected is incredible. It’s a very humbling experience. It really makes you want to improve your game and be worthy of something like it.”
When Lost walked away with Best TV Series, actor Mark Pellegrino, who played the mysterious Jacob on the show, came backstage to a barrage of cameras and flashbulbs exploding. His character for eons of time protected the light on the island that kept humanity intact. When asked what was magical about the Saturn Awards, he replied, ‘The fact that it causes blindness!’ The journalist responded, ‘You should be used to going towards the light.’ He laughed, ‘I only protected the light, I didn’t go towards it.’
When he left the stage I cornered him to ask a few questions, wondering what he would miss about the series now that it was over. “It felt like I was a part of this creative, giving, generous family that had this enormous passion connected to it. [The audience] became so involved with the mystery, and they became intimate with every character and really invested in them. And it was nice to be involved with that kind of emotional investment.’
Who would he miss the most? “Everybody had their own unique gift that they brought to work. I loved working with Nestor [Carbonell], because he and I went to the same theatre company, and we had a lot of things in common and we could talk. And he’s a down-to-earth wonderful guy. I loved talking to Jorge [Garcia] about food and his dog. With Matthew [Fox], everything was very serious and very much like his character. And Josh [Holloway] was so funny, giving and loving. Everybody gave me something very new and unique.”
Before moving on he graciously took a photo with me, remarking as he walked away, ‘You know you are a candidate now!’
Finally, Carlton Cuse, the producer of Lost, entered the pressroom, after accepting the award for Best TV Series. I asked him what reaction they had received from the fans on the finale? “It seems like a lot of people liked it,” he answered. “I think obviously there were people who didn’t like it and that was to be expected. But we stand by the finale, we made the finale that we wanted to make and we’re happy with it, and we’re gratified that a lot of people seem to react positively to it.
“In terms of specifics,” he continued, “we feel like we answered what we were going to answer in the show. There’s a twelve minute segment on the DVDs that are coming out in August that have a few answers that were not in the show, and I think fans will really enjoy that. It’s the final little quota coda to the experience of Lost. Several of the major stars in the show will be featured. That’s all I really want to say. It’s fun and we feel like people are going to enjoy seeing a final little chapter of the series.”
Finally, here’s our own picture gallery of the event.