Motion picture scientist Petro Vlahos has been voted the Gordon E. Sawyer Award by the board of governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

The award, established in 1980to recognize a lifetime of achievement by an individual “whose technological contributions have brought credit to the industry,” will be presented to Vlahos — the 11th recipient of the award — at the Academy’s Scientific and Technical Awards ceremonies on Feb. 26 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

A welcome matte

Vlahos, who received an Academy Award in 1964 for his development of traveling matte systems, received an engineering degree from UC Berkeley in 1941 .

Since then, he has been involved in the film industry in a number of capacities, including design engineer, field engineer, systems engineer and as the chief scientist for the Assn. of Motion Picture & Television Producers. He holds more than 35 U.S. and foreign patents, including the Color Difference Traveling Matte System and the Sodium Traveling Matte System.

Showing his Medal

In addition to his Oscar, Vlahos was presented a Medal of Commendation in 1992 for his service and dedication in upholding the high standards of AMPAS.

He also has been recognized by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers with the Life Fellowship and the Herbert T. Kalmus Gold Medal Award in 1987 and received an Emmy Award in 1978 for his electronic compositing system used throughout the TV industry.

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