And the Scientific and Technical Oscars Go To…


The technology behind the scenes has its moment as a star.

The techniques and technology behind this year’s Oscar-nominated films are a marvel. There’s a creature who inspires pity, love, and more erotic thoughts anyone thought they’d have about mermen in The Shape of Water; a smog-choked Los Angeles broken up by neon and flying ships in Blade Runner 2049; and the conjuring of the supreme Snoke in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

The people responsible for these visual feats will not all be honored onstage at the Academy Awards on Sunday. The winners of the Scientific and Technical Awards gathered instead two weeks before the Oscar telecast at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel for an event hosted by Patrick Stewart. The awards cover many years of work instead of just the past 12 months because this type of work can affect a decade or more of films.

Very few winners receive a gold statuette. The Academy Award of Merit and the Gordon E. Sawyer Award are the only two awards that come with a traditional ‘Oscar’ figure. The Scientific and Engineering Award winners get a plaque, and the Technical Achievement Award recipients get a certificate.

This year, Jonathan Erland took home the Gordon E. Sawyer Award for his technological contributions to the industry. He worked on visual effects for the original Star Wars and its send-up, Spaceballs.

While you won’t see them on Sunday, the men and women behind these achievements are stars to us; check them out below.

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