FoTR took out one of the Hugo Awards at this year’s Worldcon in San Jose (also known as ConJose), with Sam Astin and Sala Baker there to accept the award for Best Dramatic Presentation. Ringer Spy Samwise Gamgee was there to get the scoop.

Samwise’s Update:
My information was true, as far as, what me and my friends did. Seems that we gave up too early…

However, Sean DID NOT LEAVE THE BUILDING like we thought he did. He stayed, and signed autographs, and talked to fans. Then, he went back over to the Fairmont, and talked some more, and was friendly and approachable. He was not afraid of the fans at all. This is all very good news! I’m so glad for the people that did stay, and the ones that got the REAL photos will undoubtedly be sending them along to you.

Oh yes, also, the person with him was Sauron (ie: Sala Baker), not Lurtz (Lawrence Makoare) … Yikes! All that makeup … can’t tell the bad guy actors apart. My mistake.

Sean Astin at the Hugo Awards, September 1, 2002

WorldCon, the international Fantasy/Science Fiction Fandom convention, took place in San Jose, CA this year (also referred to as ConJose). The Hugo Awards, presented at each WorldCon, is the yearly awards for the Science Fiction community which includes book, film, TV, fanzine, magazine, art, etc.

Sean Astin was a last-minute special guest, to appear at the Hugos to accept the award for Best Dramatic Presentation: Lord of the Rings, the Fellowship of the Ring. I was lucky enough to find out about this fact a day early, being a featured artist at the con who struck up a nice conversation with ConJose’s director. So, naturally, I immediately planned to attend the Hugo Award Ceremony to catch a glimpse of Sean with two of my LOTR fan buddies.

The Awards started at 8:00 pm tonight (Sunday.) We filed in and got as close as possible to the stage. Many importantly dressed crowds arrived, including famous authors and artists from the F/SF industry, which garnered applause from the crowds. I was looking for Sean of course, my camera in hand. Of course he was nowhere to be seen.

On stage, the MC called for people’s attention to wish someone well in fandom who had become gravely ill. While this occurred, the Sean Astin group moved into the front row from the side entrance, taking advantage of the distraction. He was well-guarded by Lawrence Makoare on one side, and in general, ducked and turned his head so he would not be noticed. It was flawlessly done, and I barely noticed him enter before he was seated about 8 rows ahead of me.

The Hugos began and went on, honoring fans and professionals alike. Clips were displayed on large screens for the Nominees of Best Dramatic Presentation. We were treated again to our favorite scene, The Boat Scene with Sam and Frodo at the end of FOTR. The applause was enthusiastic, and there was no doubt Sean Astin would indeed be accepting the award at that point. I had some serious anticipation jitters!

Finally: The big announcement that FOTR did indeed win for Best Dramatic Presenation. He got up to accept the award, amid flashing cameras and cheers. Mr. Astin was smiling and friendly, making jokes about the last-minute nature of the venue, a couple of heartfelt quotes (One J.R.R. Tolkien) and comments about Fantasy and Science Fiction in general, and then speaking warmly of New Zealand before handing the Hugo over to Mr. Makoare to give his thanks. Sean pointed out that he had never been out of New Zealand before coming to California. (Another interesting detail that stuck in my mind is that Sean did mention Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy as a book he enjoyed, in passing, which is absolutely one of my favorite books as well! Cripes, and he’s an Angel fan too? What great taste!) We made
valiant attempts to get photos, however the lighting and distance prevented us. My good friend Talisha did remember a tape recorder to get his acceptance speech, and it looked like it worked, but she has yet to play it back and type it. We’ll have to see about that when she’s done with it. (fingers tightly crossed)

After Lawrence had concluded, Sean hugged him warmly, smiled like a million bucks, and exited stage left ­ grabbing the rocket-shaped Hugo award and “flying” it in his hands offstage as the two left. Applause was loud and appreciative. The general impression he gave was casual, happy, funny and slightly goofy. Yes! Bliss achieved! 😉

We left immediately to catch a further glimpse of our favorite celebrity, dashing down the front steps and around the back of the building. I am in awe of Mr. Astin’s people: they are evidently ex-government. His entrance and exit were so slick and expertly timed that there was absolutely no way to meet him on his way in or out. Evidently, his car had pulled up and taken him, roadside, before he could even be identified by passers by. We were mildly disappointed, as we had brought things to sign (I had brought original Hobbity artwork of mine) but we were still incredibly happy to have seen him in person all the same. Definitely worth it.

Thanks go out to the awesome ConJose staff and management! These are all volunteers who by some magic managed to capture a major LOTR film star in San Jose for a brief time.

Hooray for ConJose!

Signing off now~
Samwise Gamgee