Academy Reveals 2023 SciTech Award Recipients
Eight scientific and technical achievements represented by 19 individual award recipients will be honored at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Scientific and Technical Awards presentation on Feb. 24 at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.
Also during the SciTech Awards, which will take place in person for the first time since 2019, veteran lens designer Iain Neil will receive the Gordon E. Sawyer Award (an Oscar statuette) for his “substantial, extensive and innovative lens designs which have had lasting impact in motion picture cinematography.” Additionally, Ryan Laney will receive an award of commendation (special plaque) for his inventive use of AI-driven facial technology to give subjects a digital “disguise” to protect the identities while preserving their facial emotion in documentary filmmaking, as seen in 2020’s Welcome to Chechnya.
Scientific and Engineering awards (Academy plaques) will be presented to Larry Barton and Ben Wilcox for the cinematography electronics CineTape distance measurement system; and Howard Preston and Bernie Butler-Smith for the Preston Cinema Systems Light Ranger 2, which also provides focus distance information.
Technical Achievement awards (Academy certificates) will be presented to Howard Jensen, Danny Cangemi and John Frazier for the development of the portable 60- and 100-foot Rain Bars system used for practical rain in movie making; Mark Hills and Jim Vanns for the FQ render farm management system at VFX studio Framestore; and Matt Chambers, for his contributions to render farm management system design at Sony Pictures Imageworks and Weta. Technical Achievement Awards also will be handed out to Sébastien Deguy, Christophe Soum, Sylvain Paris and Nicolas Wirrmann for Adobe Substance 3D Designer software; and David Eberle, Theodore Kim, Fernando de Goes and Audrey Wong for the Fizt2 elastic simulation system.
Said Barbara Ford Grant, chair of the Scientific and Technical Awards Committee, “This year we honor achievements spanning accomplishments from pioneering methods in practical rain effects to career-long contributions in optical design for cinematography to humanistic-driven AI techniques. This outstanding work has enabled new and exciting ways of creating and further expanding how we experience motion pictures.”