Grafton gets Sci-Tech Sawyer Award

Work benefitted 'Star Wars,' 'Blade Runner'

David A. Grafton will receive the Gordon A. Sawyer Award at this year’s Sci-Tech Awards, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced Wednesday. He will receive the honor, an Oscar statuette, at the Scientific and Technical Awards dinner on Feb. 9.

Grafton is a pioneering designer of lenses for optical printers. Beginning in the 1970s, his work permitted the seamless blending of images from multiple sources. Printers incorporating his designs were adopted by almost every visual effects shop in the industry, and they were a staple of visual effects production from their introduction up to the early 1990s.

Among the films that benefited from his designs are the original “Star Wars,” “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Blade Runner.”

Blighty native previously received two Scientific and Engineering Academy Awards for his work on printer lenses, one in 1980 and one in 1986.

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He becomes the 21st Sawyer Award honoree since the nod was established in 1981. Award goes to “an individual in the motion picture industry whose technological contributions have brought credit to the industry.”

The Sci-Tech dinner will be at the Beverly Wilshire. Highlights will be included in the Oscar telecast.