"I kind of just built something in my garage," Mall said. "I'm a little nervous because as a key grip for 36 years, if I see a camera in front of me, I'm in the wrong place."
Visual effects supervisor Bill Taylor noted in receiving one of the night's top honors that the green- and blue-screen pioneer Petro Vlahos, a two-time Oscar winner, was near death.
"He created the whole of composite photography as we know it at this time," Taylor said of Vlahos, who he described as a mentor. "Whenever you see Mary Poppins dancing with penguins, when you see Pi in a boat in the middle of the ocean ... you are seeing ... Vlahos' genius at work."
Saldana, who danced to the house band during lulls in the presentation, was the lone woman on stage. Many of the winners noted long hours spent away from families and thanked their wives for support of what Drew Olbrich of PDI/DreamWorks termed "all my geeky endeavors."
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