Ang Lee received a standing ovation last night at the 4th Annual 3D Creative Arts Awards as he took the stage to accept the Harold Lloyd Award, the society’s highest honor for achievement in 3D storytelling.
“Sorry to make you stand up twice,” said Lee with a smile, having gotten a similar reception earlier as he accepted one of the three awards won by “Life of Pi.” It picked up Live Action 3D Film of the Year, Stereography (Live Action) and 3D Moment of the Year.
“I wanted to bring the audience a new sensation," Lee explained to Gold Derby. “When I started out, I didn’t know what I was thinking, but I was guessing that I needed a new experience. As I got into it, I realized it was a new cinematic language, with a lot to learn, and a lot of struggle.”
Lee revealed initial setbacks encountered by the use of 3D. “Two years ago, it was very slow. This technique was still puzzled by many things. There were technical problems, we didn’t know how to solve them, it took a lot of time. I think it’s much improved now. We’re just beginning to understand this technique.”
Yet the Oscar-winning director ("Brokeback Mountain") knew 3D was necessary to tell a story that had proven difficult to adapt to the screen. “There’s an economic side, other than an artistic side. The economic side is it’s a philosophical book, but it has to be an expensive movie. Those two things collide with each other. So how do you find the right balance? Also, the ending is particularly challenging, because we examine the power of storytelling, the power of illusion. You’re watching something, and at the same time you have to examine it, which is very unusual for a movie.”
Leonard Maltin, a fan of 3D when used as effectively as in “Life of Pi”, hosted these kudos. “No one goes to the movies to see technology, they go to see a movie they want to see,” says Maltin. “James Cameron gave us the game changer with “Avatar,” and only a handful of true world-class filmmakers have followed in his footsteps. When you see a film as great as 'Life of Pi,' and you see what creative and organic use of 3D Ang Lee was able to make, this validates 3D. This encourages me as a viewer to want to see more. The other side of that coin is that there are people who make unimaginative use of 3D, or don’t like it and use it grudgingly, and that turns you off. It’s up to the filmmakers to deliver the goods.”
The Harold Lloyd Award is named for one of silent cinema's greatest comedians. Lloyd saw 3D as the future of cinema. In 1950, he formed the first Hollywood 3D Film Society. “If the characters could only be made to stand out as they do in stereopticon pictures, and still retain the action of motion pictures today, I think the ultimate would be reached by cinema,” Lloyd was reported to have told the Los Angeles Times in 1923, four years before the "talkies."
Past recipients of the Harold Lloyd Award include James Cameron for “Avatar” (2009) and Martin Scorsese for “Hugo” (2011). With “Life of Pi,” Lee joins the ranks of these renowned filmmakers who are turning the one-time gimmick of 3D into a true art form.
The complete list of winners is below.
LIVE ACTION 3D FEATURE: “Life of Pi”
ANIMATED 3D FEATURE: “Brave”
SHORT 3D MOTION PICTURE/NARRATIVE: “La Luna”
3D DOCUMENTARY: “Storm Surfers”
THEATRICAL MOTION PICTURE - OUTSTANDING USE OF 2D TO 3D CONVERSION: “The Avengers”
3D LIVE EVENT: “Katy Perry: Part of Me”
STEREOGRAPHY – LIVE ACTION: “Life of Pi”
3D MOMENT OF THE YEAR: "Fish Flying Over Boat," “Life of Pi”
STEREOGRAPHY – ANIMATION: “Brave”
3D ELECTRONIC BROADCAST MEDIA - LIVE SPORTS: 2012 BCS Championship, ESPN
3D ELECTRONIC BROADCAST MEDIA – ENTERTAINMENT: Sky Soldier: The Vietman War in 3D
3D ELECTRONIC BROADCAST MEDIA - LIVE EVENT: Britney Spears: Femme Fatale Tour
3D ELECTRONIC BROADCAST MEDIA – COMMERCIAL: Volkswagen "Flower Power"
THEMED ATTRACTION: “Transformers: The Ride—3D”
SIR CHARLES WHEATSTONE AWARD: DreamWorks Animation (DWA)
HAROLD LLOYD AWARD: Ang Lee
CENTURY AWARD: Panasonic Corporation
AUTODESK 3D INDEPENDENT SHORT FILM COMPETITION: “Ora”
INTERNATIONAL JURY PRIZE (JAPAN): “Tekken: Blood Vengeance”
INTERNATIONAL JURY PRIZE (CHINA): 3D Taiwan
INTERNATIONAL JURY PRIZE (KOREA): “The Fetus”
INTERNATIONAL JURY PRIZE (EUROPE): “Vicky and the Treasure of the Gods”
INTERNATIONAL JURY PRIZE (3DTV - LIVE SPORTS): The Ryder Cup (2012)
INTERNATIONAL JURY PRIZE (3DTV - ENTERTAINMENT): “The Little Prince”
INTERNATIONAL JURY PRIZE (3DTV - SHORT): “Little Crackers”