When former Turlock resident Bayard Stryker scored two tickets to the Academy Awards in March, the freelance TV editor took along his sister Alexis.
As it turned out, the montage of horror film genre clips he crafted into a three-minute presentation for that event earned him a nomination -- not for an Oscar, but for an Emmy.
Yes, in Hollywood you can get nominated for an Emmy for the work you did for the Oscars because it aired on television.
Last Saturday night, Stryker, a 1996 Turlock High graduate, attended the Creative Emmy Awards at Los Angeles' Nokia Theatre with a chance to take home a statue. The Creative Emmys are the technical awards for television. The ceremony preceded the prime-time Emmy Awards scheduled this Sunday night.
So having taken one sister to the Oscars, he'd take another this time, right? Wrong. Youngest sister Chloe, a junior at the University of California at Santa Barbara, didn't want to go. "She didn't seem interested in the Creative Emmys," mom Christine Stryker said. "Girls would rather go to the more glamorous events."
Which was perfectly fine with mom.
"I was more interested in the creative ones," Christine said. "And I felt good, so I went."
She felt good because she was between her third and fourth cancer treatment sessions at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, where she is part of a clinical study using a drug that has put her into remission.
"A month ago, I would have been flat on my back," she said. "It's a drug I'm on for four weeks and off for two. This was an off period."
The Emmys gave her a chance to forget about cancer and enjoy herself, with the bonus of her son being nominated for an award in the Outstanding Short-Form Picture Editing category.
"I didn't expect it to be quite so nice," she said.
After all, these awards were for the nerdy tech types, not the stars whose faces are routinely plastered all over the supermarket tabloids.
She wasn't sure what to expect from her son, she said.
"I always thought he needed those guys on the TV show who do the makeover," she joked. "He's not the kind of guy who knows how to dress."
But since tuxedoes are the standard garb at these things, he did just fine. So did mom.
"It was a lot of fun and a lot more lighthearted than I expected," she said. "The idea of waiting to see if he got an award was interesting. We knew early on that he didn't win. We had to cheer and then cheer louder. It was for a condensed version of what they are going to show on the E! Channel. The cameraman would go stand at the row where the next winner was going to be. When the cameraman didn't show up, we knew he didn't win."
An editor from "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" took the Emmy in the picture-editing category.
"Yeah, the suspense kind of died out," he said. "But it actually took some of the blow away from hearing someone else's name, though."
No matter, said Christine Stryker, who retired after 20 years teaching English at California State University, Stanislaus, where husband Steve remains on staff. Christine still teaches one class a semester there. It was an honor for Bayard just to be nominated and know that the recognition could lead to bigger and better projects.
It was just as gratifying that his mom could accompany him, Stryker said.
"It was a great feeling to bring her," he said.
The Emmy nomination was the first for Stryker, 32, who attended the University of California at Santa Cruz right out of high school and then became one of the youngest, if not the youngest, film editors ever accepted into the American Film Institute.
"I hope this is going to be the break where I can put Emmy-nominated in front of my name," he said. "I want to work on great TV shows. It's going to open things up for me."
For Sunday's prime-time Emmys, he's edited a two-minute collage of clips from miniseries and TV movies that will air during the show.
After that -- and this is all you need to know about the unpredictable world of freelance editing -- he'll spend a month editing something you'll probably never see on television: a flight training video.
"This aviation thing is new," Christine said. "He hasn't done anything like that before."
Nor does he expect it will garner another Emmy nomination. For now, mom and son can remember their evening on the red carpet.
"This was the night when the unsung heroes of Hollywood get their due," she said.
For Bayard Stryker, having mom on his arm was just as good as having an Emmy in hand.
Jeff Jardine's column appears Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in Local News. He can be reached at 578-2383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.