Former Trek Staffers Crash Academy Awards

By Michelle
March 6, 2006 - 2:55 PM

At the Academy Awards last night, where Marina Sirtis' movie Crash upset Brokeback Mountain to win Best Picture, Star Trek alumni were in evidence.

In the Visual Effects category, where two Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country craftsmen were nominated, Joe Letteri and King Kong beat previous winner Scott Farrar and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as well as War of the Worlds.

That was the only direct victory by a former Star Trek staffer, but Crash - a story of race relations in Los Angeles in which Star Trek: The Next Generation's Sirtis (Deanna Troi) plays Shereen, an Iranian woman - picked up best original screenplay and best editing as well as the night's top honour. Michael McCusker, and assistant to director Nicholas Meyer on The Undiscovered Country, had been nominated in the editing category as well for Walk the Line.

In the category of best cinematography, Robert Elswit, a visual effects photographer on Star Trek: The Motion Picture, was nominated for Good Night, and Good Luck. He lost to Memoirs of a Geisha's Dion Beebe.

Several Star Trek crewmembers were nominated for sound effects awards. Previous Oscar winner Doug Hemphill, who worked on Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, was nominated this year for Walk the Line, while Terry Porter, who worked on that same Star Trek film, was nominated for The Chronicles of Narnia. And Greg P. Russell of The Undiscovered Country was nominated for Memoirs of a Geisha, yet all three lost to the team from King Kong, which made a strong showing in the technical awards.

Triple nominee in writing, directing and acting categories George Clooney won best supporting actor for Syriana, though he lost the pair of behind-the-camera trophies for Good Night, and Good Luck. Deep Space Nine's Alexander Siddig (Bashir) also had a major role in Syriana.

And several Star Trek alumni appeared in the in memorial montage for 2005, including John Fiedler (Mr. Hengist), Brock Peters (Joseph Sisko, Admiral Cartwright) and Star Trek: The Motion Picture director Robert Wise. Many fans expressed dismay at the absence of James Doohan (Scotty) from the montage.

"Hollywood awards - especially the Oscars and Emmys - have a long record of ignoring Star Trek except for effects and technical categories," noted Soul of Star Trek. "This was an unpleasant echo of the snubbing of DeForest Kelley in the Oscar tribute for 1999...nor was any shot from any of the ten Star Trek films included in the several minutes of montage of scenes in 'epic' films of the past, though there were several from the first 3 Star Wars movies."

A complete list of Oscar nominees and winners may be found at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, while coverage of last night's ceremony may be found at ABC, The Washington Post, SFGate and numerous other news sources.

Here is the Trek Nation's Oscar poll:

Predict the Academy Awards! What will win the Oscar for best picture?
Brokeback Mountain 44.1% - (113 Votes)
Crash 33.9% - (87 Votes)
Good Night, and Good Luck 9.3% - (24 Votes)
Munich 8.5% - (22 Votes)
Capote 2.7% - (7 Votes)

Total Votes: 256

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