June 25th, 2008


The 34th Annual Saturn Awards

It's that time of year again! That glorious season when the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films announces their list of the best of the best from last year, known as the Saturn Awards. Um, well, ostensibly the best. As longtime readers of this blog know, I find their taste questionable at best and egregious at worst. Year after year, they pay little to no attention to under-the-radar gems and seem to respond more to box office numbers than actual quality. This year appears to be no exception.

Here are the winners:

Best Science Fiction Film: Cloverfield

Not a bad choice in my opinion, though the movie remains polarizing. Still, it's better than the other nominees in the category. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, anyone?

Best Fantasy Film: Enchanted

Personally, I loved Enchanted. I'm a big softy when it comes to joyous musicals and cute redheads. (And Enchanted also won for Best Music.) But if you ask me, the nominee in this category they should have awarded was Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the first film in the Potter franchise that actually gripped me narratively.

Best Horror Film: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Remember what I said about joyous musicals? I liked this one a lot too, but I would have gone with fellow nominee The Mist. I believe Frank Darabont's adaptation of the Stephen King novella suffered from a misguided ending, but until that moment it was that rarest of things: a horror movie that actually works.

Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film: 300

One of the worst movies of 2007. The Academy continues to embarrass itself by including action movies in the Saturn Awards. I don't see the connection between action and science fiction, fantasy or horror, except that there's a lot of audience crossover. Also, 300 won over No Country for Old Men and Zodiac, two of the greatest thrillers of the past decade, and There Will Be Blood, which is inexplicably on the nominee list despite being neither action/adventure nor thriller.

Best Actor: Will Smith (I Am Legend)

Hahahahahahaha! I wonder which scene won him the award. Was it when he recited lines along with Shrek? By the way, Will Smith won over Daniel Day-Lewis for There Will Be Blood and Viggo Mortensen for Eastern Promises. Way to go, Saturn Awards! Next time, may I recommend an award for the guy who plays Third Russian from the Left in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull?

Best Actress: Amy Adams (Enchanted)

She's great. But Belen Rueda in The Orphanage was greater.

Best Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men)

Damn straight.

Best Supporting Actress: Marcia Gay Harden (The Mist)

She was amazing. Just amazing. Well deserved. The Saturn Awards have almost redeemed themselves.

Best Performance by a Younger Actor: Freddie Highmore (August Rush)

Ah well. The redemption was short-lived.

Best Direction: Zack Snyder (300)

If the award were for technical direction, I'd be behind this 100%. But Snyder clearly has no idea how to direct actors or make a script work. Frank Darabont should have taken this one for The Mist.

Best Writing: Brad Bird (Ratatouille)

Marvelous! The Coens' script for No Country for Old Men is a more accomplished achievement, but Ratatouille has its own level of brilliance.

Best Costume: Collen Atwood (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street)

Makes sense, I guess. I don't normally pay much attention to the costuming. Sorry, glvalentine!

Best Makeup: Ve Neill, Martin Samuel (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End)

I pretty much hate the Pirates movies due to their lack of internal logic and sloppy storytelling, so I would rather have seen this award go to one of the other nominees, like Planet Terror, but I have to admit World's End did have some pretty amazing makeup effects.

Best Special Effects: Scott Ferrar, Scott Benza, Russell Earl, John Frazier (Transformers)

This is where 300 should have won. Best Special Effects is the only award 300 should ever, ever get. (And maybe Best Use of Nine Inch Nails' "Just Like You Imagined" In a Preview.)

Best Animated Film: Ratatouille

Right on!

Best International Film: Eastern Promises

Great movie. But I would have gone with The Orphanage or Day Watch since they're, you know, actually science fiction, fantasy or horror. Which is what the Saturns are supposed to be about.

Best Network Television Series: Lost

After this last season? Hell yes!

Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series: Dexter

Dexter rocks my world.

Best Presentation on Television: Family Guy: Blue Harvest

I have to disagree. I thought "Blue Harvest" was a wasted opportunity and could have been much, much funnier. Unfortunately, nothing else in the category is worthy either. Tin Man, anyone?

Best Actor on Television: Matthew Fox

Ummmm....no. Fox does okay as Jack Shepard on Lost, but he seems to have only two settings: angry and sad. Michael C. Hall on Dexter blows him out of the proverbial water in a heartbeat.

Best Actress on Television: Jennifer Love Hewitt (Ghost Whisperer)

*spit-take* Still, the other nominees were just as weak. Evangeline Lily? Sure, if there's an award for getting wet in a tank top once a week.

Best Supporting Actor on Television: Michael Emerson (Lost)

Good choice. I also would have accepted Masi Oka on Heroes.

Best Supporting Actress on Television: Summer Glau (Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles), Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost)

But...but...she plays a robot! She's hardly acting at all! She just says her lines and looks vacant! (Which one am I talking about? Both!) Besides, Jennifer Carpenter on Dexter deserves this award.

Best DVD Release: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (remix)

I have no idea what this is, but at least White Noise 2 didn't win.

Best DVD Special Edition Release: Blade Runner five-disc ultimate edition

Because we need four more versions of the same movie to study for clues of robotitude!

Best DVD Classic Film Release: The Monster Squad

"See you later, Band-Aid breath!" Nuff said.

Best DVD Collection: Mario Bava Box Sets 1 & 2

Yay Bava!

Best Television Series Release on DVD: Heroes

Season one, of course. When season two comes out on DVD, there will be rioting in the streets.

Best Retro Television Series Release on DVD: Twin Peaks

Yeah, the second season was crappy, but this release finally includes the pilot movie, which the previous sets did not, so I say well deserved!

And now for the really weird thing. There was also a category for Best International Series, and the nominees were:

DOCTOR WHO (Sci Fi Channel)
JEKYLL (BBC America)

Tough choice, right? I don't know which I would have chosen, Doctor Who or Jekyll. They're both awesome. So which did the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films choose?

As far as I can tell, they didn't. I've scoured the website and can find no trace of a decision in this category. Was there no award? Was it too hard to choose between so many worthy nominees? Or did they think they all sucked? We may never know.

Because, as we are all well aware of by now, the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films is not exactly known for having its act together. (Nor for having great taste in filmed entertainment.)

See you next time, Academy!