Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Silent Oscars: 1912

For my money, the best of the early animation pioneers was Wladyslaw Starewicz. Born in Moscow to Polish parents, Starewicz was the director of the Museum of Natural History in Lithuania when he inadvertently embarked on a film career. Attempting to document on film a fight between two male stag beetles, Starewicz was frustrated by the insect's nocturnal nature—whenever the camera's lights were turned on for filming, the bugs invariably rolled over and went to sleep—but rather than give up, Starewicz made two models of the beetles with wax and wire, and staged the fight using stop-motion photography.

The result, Lucanus Cervus, was a sensation and Starewicz became a full-time director. In 1912 he made his best film, The Cameraman's Revenge, in which an adulterous insect is captured on film by her cuckolded husband then invited with her unwitting lover to the film's premiere at the local cinema:


Starewicz was decorated by the czar and won the Gold Medal at an international film festival in Milan in 1914, but fled Russia after the October Revolution in 1917. He continued to make films for the rest of his life, dying in 1965 while working on the film Like Dog and Cat.

PICTURE
winner: Mest kinematograficheskogo operatora a.k.a. The Revenge of a Kinematograph Cameraman, a.k.a. The Cameraman's Revenge (prod. Aleksandr Khanzhonkov)
nominees: How A Mosquito Operates (prod. Winsor McCay); The Land Beyond The Sunset (prod. Edison Company); The Musketeers Of Pig Alley (prod. Biograph Company); Richard III (prod. J. Stuart Blackton and M.B. Dudley)


ACTOR
winner: Elmer Booth (The Musketeers of Pig Alley)
nominees: Martin Fuller (The Land Beyond The Sunset; Max Linder (The Pathé Frères Comedies)


ACTRESS
winner: Dorothy Bernard (The Girl And Her Trust)
nominees: Lillian Gish (The Unseen Enemy and The Musketeers Of Pig Alley); Mary Pickford (The New York Hat); Ynez Seabury (The Sunbeam)


DIRECTOR
winner: Wladyslaw Starewicz (Mest kinematograficheskogo operatora a.k.a. The Revenge of a Kinematograph Cameraman, a.k.a. The Cameraman's Revenge)
nominees: D.W. Griffith (The Biograph Shorts); Harold M. Shaw (The Land Beyond The Sunset)


SCREENPLAY
winner: Dorothy G. Shore (The Land Beyond The Sunset)
nominees: D.W. Griffith and Anita Loos (The Musketeers Of Pig Alley); Wladyslaw Starewicz (Mest kinematograficheskogo operatora a.k.a. The Revenge of a Kinematograph Cameraman, a.k.a. The Cameraman's Revenge)


SPECIAL AWARDS
G.W. "Billy" Bitzer (Cinematography) (The Musketeers Of Pig Alley)

2 comments:

Dawn said...

I'm so glad that you are posting the "SILENT OSCARS".They are the best!!

thingy said...

It had everything! I had to watch the first performer on stage, twice. He dances like my ex.

Well, that made my day. Fabulous.