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Environmentally Oriented Oscars

by Eva Amsen

Scientific & Technical Awards
Wired News has an article on the overlooked geeks of the Oscars: the winners of all the technical awards. The most scientific categories aren’t even part of tonight’s ceremony, they had their own ceremony a few weeks ago. Maggie Gyllenhaal hosted the 2006 Scientific & Technical Awards (pictured) and got a chance to recap the whole event in about a minute in tonight’s official Academy Award ceremony.

A special award was given to a team that had made important contributions to the shift from silver-based to cyan dye analog soundtracks. This Nature News article explains the relevance: After the introduction of colour film, silver was removed from film strips but still used in the soundtrack strip to reduce noise. By using a different kind of light, these technicians found that the more environmentally processed cyan dye was able to sufficiently block unwanted noise. It took a while for the new technique to catch on, because movie theatres had to switch from tungsten readers to red-light readers to be able to play the new soundtracks.

Eco awareness
Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio announced that the Oscars were now more environmentally friendly than ever before. No explanation other than the website address, and here’s what it says: “With guidance and assistance from the Natural Resources Defense Council, a non-partisan environmental and advocacy organization, we learned that it was easy (and often cost effective) to make simple changes to reduce Oscar’s ecological footprint.” This is followed by a list of general tips that everyone over the age of six has already heard of, instead of more details on what they did, but for something as glitzy as the Oscars it’s nice to see them stress environmental awareness at all.

An Inconvenient Truth
Okay, so we have an unbroadcast award for getting rid of silver soundtracks, and the whole ceremony is supposedly ecologically friendlier than ever, but one important question remains:

Can a slide show presentation about carbon dioxide win an Oscar?

Yes! Yes, it can!

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