This year’s first Academy Awards--the ones for scientific and technical achievements--were handed out over the weekend, with an Oscar going to veteran special-effects animator Ray Harryhausen, and other citations recognizing a variety of work, including a new Walt Disney Studios animation technique.
Harryhausen received the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Gordon E. Sawyer Award, voted by the board of governors, for his stop-action animation work on such films as “It Came From Beneath the Sea,” “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad,” “Jason and the Argonauts,” “The Golden Voyage of Sinbad” and “Clash of the Titans.”
His 50-year career began by working with producer and three-dimensional animator George Pal on the “Puppetoons” series during the early 1940s, and in 1946 he worked on his first feature, “Mighty Joe Young,” as head animator and assistant to Willis O’Brien, the animator of the original “King Kong.”
The awards were presented during a ceremony hosted by actor Tom Hanks Saturday night at the Century Plaza. The Oscars for the “arts” portion will be presented on March 30.
Other scientific and technical awards:
“CAPS” production system: Used in coloring characters in “Beauty and the Beast.” Awarded to Randy Cartwright, David B. Coons, Lem Davis, Thomas Hahn, James Houston, Mark Kimball, Peter Nye, Michael Shantzis, David F. Wolf and Disney’s animation department.
Primo Zoom Lens: For 35mm cinematography. Awarded to Panavision Inc. and Iain Neil and Albert Saiki.
Fluid tripod heads: Georg Thoma, Heinz Feierlein, Sachtler AG, Harry J. Baker and Guido Cartoni.
Sound recording developments: Ray Feeney, Richard Keeney and Richard J. Lundell.
Henson Performance Control System: Faz Fazakas, Brian Henson, Dave Housman, Peter Miller and John Stephenson.
Film projection: Mario Celso.
Geared camera head: George Worrall.
Cobweb effects gun: Robert W. Stoker Jr.
Dry fog effects: James Doyle.
Lens developments: Dick Cavdek, Steve Hamerski and Otto Nemenz International; Ken Robings and Clairmont Camera, and Century Precision Optics.
Award of commendation: Pete Comandini, Richard T. Dayton, Donald Hagans and Richard T. Ryan of YCM Laboratories for development of a film restoration process.
Medals of commendation: Richard J. Stumpf and Joseph Westheimer for outstanding service and dedication.