OSCARS: Douglas Trumbull To Receive Gordon E. Sawyer Award

Beverly Hills, CA – The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has voted the Gordon E. Sawyer Award to Douglas Trumbull, a visionary filmmaker who has worked as a designer, director, inventor and entrepreneur, for his lifetime of technical contributions and leadership in the motion picture industry.

The award, an Oscar® statuette, will be presented to Trumbull at the Scientific and Technical Awards presentation on Saturday, February 11, at the Beverly Wilshire.

Trumbull has distinguished himself as a visual effects pioneer with major contributions to such films as “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “The Andromeda Strain,” “Silent Running,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Star Trek – The Motion Picture,” “Blade Runner” and “Tree of Life.”

In the course of his work, Trumbull created, developed or improved numerous filmmaking techniques and tools. These include slit-scan photography, process photography, miniature compositing, interpositive matte painting, large-format filming, high frame rate photography and projection, synchronized multiscale filming, motion control photography, virtual reality systems, interactive motion simulators and digital cinema. He has been awarded more than a dozen related patents.

In 1975 Trumbull founded Future General Corporation, a research and special effects house that not only served as a training ground for many leading filmmakers and visual effects artists, but fostered several related companies as well.

Trumbull has earned three Academy Award® nominations for Visual Effects and received a Scientific and Engineering Award in 1992 as part of the design team for the CP-65 Showscan Camera System for 65mm motion picture photography.

Established in 1981, the Gordon E. Sawyer Award is presented to “an individual in the motion picture industry whose technological contributions have brought credit to the industry.” Trumbull will be the 23rd recipient of the award.

Portions of the Scientific and Technical Awards presentation will be included in the Oscar ceremony.

Academy Awards® for outstanding film achievements of 2011 will be presented on Sunday, February 26, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries worldwide.

  1. I think his “major contribution” besides VFX on SILENT RUNNING was that, um, he directed it.

    Cool guy. Needs another shot at directing. BRAINSTORM was genius, even with the Wood tragedy. I wonder how the movie would have really turned out if she hasn’t passed away.

    His work in Showscan at Future General is still breathtaking.


  2. I saw Showscan years ago and was really impressed. HD comes close, and it would be interesting to see a side by side comparison.

  3. Amazing that he has NEVER won an Oscar. Nominated three times: “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” and “Blade Runner”.

  4. I, too, remember Showscan from years ago and found it INCREDABLE!
    Doug Trumbull is a genius. A genius that has been stymied at every turn to push film making out of it’s celluoid mire. Only now is it finally making strides forward.
    It would have been interesting if Trumbull’s experiments could has born fruit initially back in the 80s when he was in the thick of it.
    I hope his best work is ahead of him!

  5. While there are many fine visual effects artists, Douglas Trumbull is still seen as THE greatest visual effects artist of all time. Beyond the man’s contributions, he has always brought a visionary approach. He is also, without a doubt, a great artist. He is the giant on who’s shoulders many working today stand.

    I look forward to his new filmmaking projects. Glad to see he’s getting ready to direct again.

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