Gordon E. Sawyer Award
The Gordon E. Sawyer Award honors an individual in the motion picture industry whose technological contributions have brought credit to the industry.
Gordon E. Sawyer was a three-time Oscar winner and former Head of the Sound Department at Samuel Goldwyn Studios. Sawyer, who served as a member of the Scientific and Technical Awards Committee from 1936 to 1977, claimed that the lists of past awards, arranged both chronologically and by category, represented a history of the development of motion pictures. After his death, an Honorary Award (an Oscar statuette) was established in his name to recognize “an individual in the motion picture industry whose technological contributions have brought credit to the industry.”
The first honoree was named in 1981; a total of 22 individuals have received the award to date. Recommendations for this award have customarily been made through the Scientific and Technical Awards Committee.
David A. Grafton
2007 Gordon E. Sawyer Award Recipient
David A. Grafton is a pioneering designer of lenses for optical effects printers. His work has led to dramatic improvements in the quality of motion picture visual effects.
His 2007 Gordon E. Sawyer Award marked the third time Grafton has been recognized by the Academy. He received a Scientific and Engineering Academy Award in 1980 for the optical design of a telecentric anamorphic lens for motion picture optical effects printers, and another in 1986 as part of the team responsible for the design and development of the Zoom Aerial 65mm Optical Printer.
Grafton, who was born in England in 1924 and immigrated to the U.S. in 1953, designed electro-optical systems for over 30 years for IBM, NCR, EG&G and Xerox.
In the 1970s Grafton also began consulting in the motion picture industry, where the highly specialized lenses he designed for optical effects printers enabled the seamless blending of multiple images from different sources. Working with such special effects companies as Industrial Light & Magic and Boss Film Studios, he contributed to the production of numerous feature films, including “Star Wars,” “The Empire Strikes Back,” and “Blade Runner.”
Gordon E. Sawyer Award Recipients
2011 (84th) – Douglas Trumbull
2008 (81st) – Ed Catmull
2007 (80th) – David A. Grafton
2006 (79th) – Ray Feeney
2005 (78th) – Gary Demos
2004 (77th) – Takuo Miyagishima
2003 (76th) – Peter D. Parks
2001 (74th) – Edmund M. Di Giulio
2000 (73rd) – Irwin W. Young
1999 (72nd) – Dr. Roderick T. Ryan
1997 (70th) – Don Iwerks
1995 (68th) – Donald C. Rogers
1993 (66th) – Petro Vlahos
1992 (65th) – Erich Kaestner
1991 (64th) – Ray Harryhausen
1990 (63rd) – Stefan Kudelski
1989 (62nd) – Pierre Angenieux
1988 (61st) – Gordon Henry Cook
1987 (60th) – Fred Hynes
1984 (57th) – Linwood G. Dunn
1983 (56th) – Dr. John G. Frayne
1982 (55th) – John O. Aalberg
1981 (54th) – Joseph B. Walker