Miyagishima lauded at Sci-Tech Oscars

Special Commendation plaque given to Arthur Widmer

See Winners

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences feted some of the industry’s oldest contributors and newest technologies at the Scientific & Technical Awards Saturday night.

At the black-tie banquet at the Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, an Oscar statuette went to longtime Panavision design engineer Takuo Miyagishima as the winner of the Gordon E. Sawyer Award.

Miyagishima, who started at Panavision some 50 years ago, gave an emotional acceptance speech, recalling that as a boy, he went to a school on Southern California’s Terminal Island where almost all the students were children of immigrants.

“For me to be standing before you, only in the United States could that happen,” he said.

He also quipped, “I hope they didn’t give this to me just to get rid of me.”

Miyagishima has received many kudos for his contributions to improving camera technology, including the Acad’s John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation, a Fuji Gold Medal and an Emmy.

F/x guru feted

A rare special Award of Commendation plaque went to Arthur Widmer, longtime f/x guru at Warners and Universal and a pioneer in bluescreen compositing.

In a halting but still witty acceptance speech, Widmer said the downside of being a nonogenarian was that “you lose the ability to communicate with the younger generation (of engineers).”

He doesn’t understand the acronyms today’s f/x engineers use, he said, “and in my time, being digitally adept meant you could play the piccolo.”

“You’ve honored analog achievements made in an era without acronyms,” he added.

Statuettes also went to Academy Award of Merit winners Horst Burbulla for the invention and development of the Technocrane telescoping camera crane and Jean-Marie Lavalou, Alain Masseron and David Samuelson for the engineering and development of the Louma Camera Crane.

Samuelson said getting the award was “like having a new baby in the family, but it’s had a 25-year period of gestation.”

Technocrane whizz finally gets his

Czech Republic native Burbulla told Daily Variety he invented the Technocrane 20 years ago as a way to get a shot he wanted in a movie he was directing, adding he didn’t quite realize he was onto something big until “this year.”

Gyula Mester and Keith Edwards received Scientific & Engineering Award plaques for their part in the development of the Technocrane.

Plaques also went to five members of the team that developed the Cineon Digital Film Workstation, the system that created digital compositing as it’s used today.

Presenter for the evening was Scarlett Johansson. Thesp held her own on the techspeak, although at one point, after reading what the DNF 001 multiband digital audio noise suppressor does, she admitted, “I have no idea what that means. The words are coming out of my mouth but I’m just not processing.”

In accepting his Technical Achievement Award certificate, inventor Steven Boze assured her, “All you need to know is it makes it sound better.”

Among the other eight devices to receive Technical Achievement certificates was the Storm software for volumetric digital effects. Designer Alan Kapler thanked his parents “for letting me piss around on my computer instead of getting a real job,” and Digital Domain “for turning that into a real job.”

And the winners are…

Technical Achievement Awards

Academy Certified
To Greg Cannom and Wesley Wofford for the development of their special modified silicone material for makeup appliances used in motion pictures.
To Jerry Cotts for the original concept and design and Anthony Seaman for the engineering of the Satellight-X HMI Softlight.
To Steven E. Boze for the design and implementation of the DNF 001 multiband digital audio noise suppressor.
To Christopher Hicks and Dave Betts for the design and implementation of the Cedar DNS1000 multiband digital noise suppressor.
To Nelson Tyler for the development of the Tyler Gyroplatform boat mount stabilizing device for motion picture photography.
To Julian Morris, Michael Birch, Paul Smyth and Paul Tate for the devel-opment of the Vicon motion-capture technology .
To John O.B. Greaves, Ned Phipps, Antonie J. van den Bogert and William Hayes for the development of the Motion Analysis motion-capture technology.
To Nels Madsen, Vaughn Cato, Matthew Madden and Bill Lorton for the development of the Giant Studios motion-capture technology.
To Alan Kapler for the design and development of Storm, a software toolkit for the control of volumetric effects.

Scientific and Engineering Awards

Academy Plaques
To Gyula Mester (electronic systems design) and Keith Edwards (mechanical engineering) for their significant contributions to and continuing development of the Tech-nocrane telescoping camera crane.
To Lindsay Arnold, Guy Griffiths, David Hodson, Charlie Lawrence and David Mann for their development of the Cineon Digital Film Worksta-tion.

Award of Commendation

Special Plaque
To Arthur Widmer for his lifetime of achievement in the science and technology of image compositing for motion pic-tures as exemplified by his significant contributions to the development of the Ultra Violet and the “bluescreen” compositing process.
Academy Award of Merit

Oscar Statuettes
To Horst Burbulla for the invention and continuing development of the Technocrane telescoping camera crane.
To Jean-Marie Lavalou, Alain Masseron and David Samuelson for the engineering and development of the Louma Camera Crane and remote system for motion picture production.

Gordon E. Sawyer Award
Takuo Miyagishima

More Scene

  • David Crosby

    David Crosby Says New Documentary 'Remember My Name' Is Like 'Being Naked in Public’

    “It’s not easy. It’s hard being naked in public,” David Crosby, the legendary troubadour of classic rock, reflected at Tuesday night’s New York City premiere of “David Crosby: Remember My Name.” “I don’t know what to do here. There’s no guitars, no drums,” he laughed. Directed by newcomer A.J. Eaton and produced by the legendary [...]

  • The Ultimate Guide to 2019 Comic-Con

    The Ultimate Guide to 2019 Comic-Con Parties and Activations

    Hollywood is heading down the California coast to San Diego because It’s time for 2019 Comic-Con International. The annual cosplay celebration officially kicks off tomorrow, July 18, with a preview happening tonight. Here, Variety gives you a guide to this year’s parties and activations. Make sure to check back for updates. Wednesday, July 17Amazon Prime [...]

  • Sir Elton John, David Furnish. Sir

    New Elton John AIDS Foundation Gala to be Held in the South of France

    Elton John and David Furnish are launching a new gala for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The two will host the inaugural A Midsummer Party benefit on July 24 in the south of France at the Johnny Pigozzi’s private estate, Villa Dorane, in Cap d’Antibes. A cocktail reception will be followed by dinner, a live [...]

  • Dwayne Johnson Idris Elba

    Dwayne Johnson: Idris Elba Nixed 'Black James Bond' Joke in 'Hobbs & Shaw'

    In the “Fast & Furious Presents Hobbs & Shaw,” the movie’s villain Brixton, played by Idris Elba, spreads his arms out wide and declares “I’m black Superman.” It turns out that might not have been the original line. Dwayne Johnson tells Variety that Elba was first asked to proclaim he’s “black James Bond,” but the [...]

  • Matteo BocelliAmerican Icon Awards Gala, Inside,

    Top Music Manager Calls Out American Icon Awards for Failing to Pay Talent

    The centuries-old adage no good deed goes unpunished is a common refrain for star music manager Scott Rodger of late. Rodger, who represents Paul McCartney and Andrea Bocelli at Maverick, says his client Matteo Bocelli, the son of the opera star, was stiffed out of promised expense reimbursement by the American Icon Awards. The event, [...]

  • Mary Bailey Steve D'Angelo, Jim Belushi

    Cannabis Industry Tackles Justice Reform With 'Last Prisoner Project'

    Jim Belushi is standing two feet away in the backyard of his spacious Brentwood home, honking a harp like he’s a Blues Brother back in sweet home Chicago accompanied by noted reggae band Rebelution’s Eric Rachmany and Kyle Ahern, who provide a 12-bar shuffle. There’s the sweet smell of skunk — and success — hanging [...]

  • Dwayne Wade holds up the legend

    Dwyane Wade, Megan Rapinoe Win Big at 2019 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Sports Awards

    The 2019 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Awards was filled with incredible athletes, inspiring moments and — of course — a massive amount of slime. “I love the kids. I love the slime. I loved the games. I love seeing celebrities and athletes like become kids again. And it’s like my favorite thing,” Michael Strahan told [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content