Monday, 06 March 2017 21:04

New Innovations in Puppetry Lead to Trailblazing in GOP

Alcy Leyva
New Innovations in Puppetry Lead to Trailblazing in GOP Photo by Justin Lane/EPA

New Innovations in Puppetry Lead to Trailblazing in GOP

By Alcy Leyva

For all of the faults and mishaps we saw at the 2017 Oscars, a few highlights flew under the radar. Some truly amazing gowns were flaunted on the red carpet. Jimmy Kimmel’s airlifted snacks were a hit. And maybe overshadowing them both were the Academy’s brand new Oscar category, “Advances and Excellence in Puppetry”, which was rolled out just this year.

For decades, shows such as Sesame Street have relied on puppets to headline its storylines. Even the now legendary Alf placed its puppet skills front and center for its titular character. This year, the Academy felt that this artform could no longer go uncelebrated.

The nominees in its inaugural year were true pioneers in animatronic and handcrafted puppets, but only one could win. There was an obvious deserving stand out, and many would say that this was the sole reason the category was created.

The Steven Miller puppet that has starred on such shows such as CNN and MSNBC is a modern marvel in technology and human caricature. John Sokolov, the engineer contracted by the White House, worked for years to get the puppet just right. “For the look, we were going for ‘creepy man in van’ but his mannerisms weren't 100% there,” John explained in a taped interview. “Then we dressed him like a guy who sells rat poison door to door and that’s where the magic happened.” With its onboard hard drive, the Steven Millar puppet has access to twenty-five forms of rhetoric, up from four by the previous “Conway” puppet before it got recalled from primetime.

It’s only real competition was the DJT puppet we have seen so much of since its election. Unfortunately, the foreign-made construct is what is called a “rectal” puppet which, by definition alone, hurt its chances in the end. When asked for a comment with its puppeteer before a Fox & Friends performance, the showman didn't seem disheartened. “We have plans,” Mr. Bannon said and disappeared beneath the table again.

 

Last modified on Tuesday, 09 May 2017 20:37
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