Traditionally held two weeks before the big Oscar ceremony, the Academy’s Scientific and Technical Awards recognize significant discoveries and advancements, as well as individuals, that have made an impact in the art of motion pictures. Patrick Stewart hosted the ceremony on Saturday night at the Beverly Wilshire, where the awards were handed out.
Stewart called the honorees “film magicians” and quipped, “I have to tell you, I wouldn’t know the difference between a warp-core breach and a space-time continuum if they got into bed with me!”
Although the ceremony wasnt televised, Digital LA was at the ceremony with a roundup of all the awards. Three Oscar statuettes and nine awards for innovation were handed out.
Two Oscars went to the developers of the Houdini animation system, a suite of tools that has been used in more than 600 films. Mark Elendt and Side Effects Software each received a statue, and four other Houdini collaborators went home with an academy plaque.
The Presto visual effects software, which helps animators create fluid animations, was also recognized. It’s been used in virtually all Pixar films including Inside Out and Coco. Premo from DreamWorks and Intel was another animation program that received a plaque. It was used in How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Boss Baby.
Another award went to the BlockParty procedural rigging system at Industrial Light & Magic. It was used in films like Thor, War for the Planet of the Apes, and the latest Star Wars film.
A rotating helicopter-mounted camera known as Shotover K1 was recognized for the stunning work in Revenant and Dunkirk. A telescopic underwater crane camera was another innovation that received an award. It was recently showcased in La La Land as well as several of the Harry Potter films.
The Gordon E. Sawyer Award, which recognizes extraordinary technological contributions to the film industry, was given to Jonathan Erland. The Hollywood veteran was a co-founder of the Visual Effects Society and his film credits include the original Star Wars and Star Trek films.
“I intend to work until I drop,” he said as he hoisted the statuette. “If we don’t get the science first, there ain’t going to be no art.”
After Erland accepted his award, Stewart said, “it occurred to me that another Englishman wrote something once which is perhaps appropriate for this event. He didn’t know it would be, of course, because he lived 400 years ago.”
The 77-year-old master thespian then ad-libbed by quoting Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream: “If we shadows have offended, think but this, and all is mended — That you have but slumbered here while these visions did appear.”
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