Academy Scientific and Technical Award
Since 1931, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has given the Scientific and Technical Award, an Academy Award for scientific or technical achievements, which are presented at "a dinner ceremony separate from the annual telecast."
These awards recognize significant milestones in the development of technology for motion pictures and are conferred by vote of the Academy Board of Governors. Potential nominations for awards are investigated by a special committee within the Academy, "The Scientific and Technical Awards Committee", which presents a written report and recommendation to the Board of Governors.
Additionally, the John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation, given for "outstanding service and dedication in upholding the high standards of the Academy", and the Gordon E. Sawyer Award, both also considered Honorary Awards, are usually also chosen by the Scientific and Technical Awards Committee and conferred at this annual presentation dinner ceremony.
Three kinds of Scientific and Technical Awards
Innovations in motion pictures technology are recognized with the following awards:
- Award of Merit - an Academy statuette (an Oscar);
- Scientific and Engineering Award- an Academy plaque; and
- Technical Achievement Award - an Academy certificate.
Award of Merit
So far, 44 achievements have been recognized by the Award of Merit. Among the organizations and milestones that have been recognized are:
- Eastman Kodak for safety film, color negative and print film, color reversal intermediate film, and T-grain films;
- Matte composite cinematography;
- Nagra sound recorder;
- Xenon arc lamp;
- Dolby sound;
- Ultimatte's first software product, developed by Petro and Paul Vlahos;
- Deep Canvas; a program developed at Walt Disney Feature Animation for three-dimensional painted backgrounds
- Maya animation software;
- Renderman rendering software;
- Avid technology;
- Digidesign audio post production;
- Kuper Motion Controls, developed by founder of Kuper Controls, Bill Tondreau, and others; and
- Panavision and Arri film cameras;
- CAPS digital animation technology jointly developed by Walt Disney Feature Animation and Pixar Animation Studios;
- Henson Performance Control System animatronic puppetry technology developed by The Jim Henson Company.
- Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. "About Academy Awards: Honorary Award". Official Academy Award Website. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), Oscars.org. Archived from the original (Web) on 2008-04-09. Retrieved 2008-08-01.
The Honorary Award can also take the form of a life membership in the Academy, a scroll, a medal, a certificate or any other design chosen by the Board of Governors.
- Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. "Special Achievement Award" (Web). Official Academy Award Website. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), Oscars.org. Retrieved 2008-07-29.
The Special Achievement Award, an Oscar statuette, is given for an achievement which makes an exceptional contribution to the motion picture for which it was created, but for which there is no annual award category. ... Unlike an Honorary Award, a Special Achievement Award is conferred only for achievements in films which meet the Academy's eligibility year and deadline requirements. ... In the Makeup and Sound Effects Editing categories, the Award can be given if those committees fail to come up with three nominations. In that case the committee may recommend to the Board of Governors that a special Achievement Award be voted instead. That was the case in the Visual Effects category, too, before Visual Effects became an annual award. ... Thirteen of the 17 Special Achievement Awards given since the category was instituted in 1972 were given for visual effects or sound effects achievements.
- Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. "John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation". Official Academy Award Website. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), Oscars.org. Archived from the original (Web) on 5 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-01.
- Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. "Gordon E. Sawyer Award". Official Academy Award Website. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), Oscars.org. Archived from the original (Web) on 20 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-01.
- "If an achievement has had a definite influence on the advancement of the industry, it may qualify for a Scientific and Engineering Award (a 24k gold plated tablet with the name of the award in raised lettering, and a representation of the Oscar statuette in bas relief to one side of the plaque). Affixed to the base is a plate engraved with a description of the achievement and the names of the contributors." (Official Webpage)
- Ultimatte Advantedge Official Website, accessed August 1, 2008; the citation for this particular Award of Merit conferred on the Vlahos brothers in the Awards Database is: "To PETRO VLAHOS and PAUL VLAHOS for the conception and development of the Ultimatte Electronic Blue Screen Compositing Process for motion pictures. [statuette]". Archived March 30, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- Kuper Controls Official Website, accessed August 1, 2008; the citation in the Awards Database for this particular Award of Merit (among several Scientific and Technical Awards conferred on Tondreau and others relating to their work at Kuper Controls and elsewhere, is: "To BILL TONDREAU of Kuper Controls for his significant advancements in the field of motion control technology for motion picture visual effects. Measuring his valuable contributions to the invention and implementation of robotic camera systems in decades rather than years, his efforts have aided motion control in becoming a core technology that has supported the renaissance of visual effects. [statuette]."
- "Scientific and Technical Awards" – Index for these Awards on the official Web site of the Academy Awards (oscars.org).
- Official Academy Award Database – Searchable.
- "Academy Award of Merit", "Scientific and Engineering Award" and "Technical Achievement Award" – Description of these Academy Awards