Hollywood’s techies had their moment in the Oscar spotlight Saturday, as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences presented its annual Scientific and Technical Awards.
At a ceremony at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel, AMPAS gave out technical achievement awards (certificates), scientific and engineering awards (plaques), an award of commendation, two John A. Bonner medals of commendation and an Academy Award of Merit (an Oscar).
Award presenter Helen Hunt thanked the Sci-Tech community for devising the methods to create visual effects for films like “Twister,” in which she starred.
Technical achievement awards went to:
Perry Kivolowitz for the primary design and Dr. Garth A. Dickie for the development of the algorithms for the shape-driven warping and morphing subsystem of the Elastic Reality Special Effects System;
Ken Perlin, for the development of Perlin Noise, a technique used to produce natural appearing textures on computer generated surfaces for motion picture visual effects;
Nestor Burtnyk and Marceli Wein of the National Research Council of Canada, for their pioneering work in the development of software techniques for Computer-Assisted Key Framing for Character Animation;
Grant Loucks, for the concept and specifications of the Mark V Director’s Viewfinder.
Brian Knep, Craig Hayes, Rick Sayre and Thomas Williams, for the creation and development of the Direct Input Device;
James Kajiya and Timothy Kay, for their pioneering work in producing computer-generated fur and hair in motion pictures;
Jeffery Yost, Christian Rouet, David Benson and Florian Kainz, for the development of a system to create and control computer-generated fur and hair in motion pictures;
Richard A. Prey and William N. Masten, for the design and development of the Nite Sun II lighting crane and camera platform.
Scientific and engineering awards were presented to:
John Schlag, Brian Knep, Zoran Kacic-Alesic and Thomas Williams, for the development of the ViewPaint 3-D Paint System for film production work;
William Reeves, for the original concept and the development of particle systems used to create computer-generated visual effects in motion pictures;
Jim Hourihan, for the primary design and development of the interactive language-based control of particle systems, as embodied in the Dynamation software package;
Jonathan Erland and Kay Beving Erland, for the development of the Digital Series Traveling Matte Backing System used for composite photography in motion pictures.
The Academy Award of Merit went to Imax Corp. for the method of filming and exhibiting high-fidelity, large-format, wide-angle motion pictures. Co-chairmen Bradley Wechsler and Richard Gelfond accepted the Oscar statue.
One of the evening’s biggest crowd-pleasers was Joe Lombardi’s Award of Commendation for special technical contributions to the motion picture industry. Lombardi was honored for his 50 years in the motion picture industry, during which time he advanced the field of pyrotechnics and promoted on-set safety for effects technicians.
The John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation was given to Volker W. Bahnemann, president of camera manufacturer Arriflex, and to Bud Stone, former CEO of DeLuxe Film Labs.