The first Oscars of the year have been presented at the Scientific and Technical Awards, the motion picture academy’s annual celebration of the geeks and gizmos that make movie magic.
Oscar winners at the Saturday night gala included Douglas Trumbull, the visual-effects master behind such pioneering works as “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “Blade Runner.” Trumbull, 69, was honored for his long career of technological contributions to filmmaking, including his latest wizardry in the Brad Pitt-Terrence Malick drama “The Tree of Life,” which featured grand images of the cosmos and the age of dinosaurs.
But he emphasized to the black-tie industry audience that his inventive film work continues, including a system of new digital technologies — higher frame-rates, brighter projection, bigger and better screens — to enhance the movie-going experience. “I want to accept this in the spirit of affirmation of my work, which is on-going, as you know,” Trumbull said upon receiving his golden statuette from “Resident Evil” star Milla Javovich. “I am trying to figure out a way to make a movie that you are in, rather than looking at.” He noted that cinema audiences have fallen by 16 percent in recent years because of the many ways audiences can watch movies today — from mobile devices to big-screen TVs. He said it was time Hollywood started making films best viewed in theaters so people will say, “‘I want to go out to the movies tonight because it’s so cool and it’s so big, it’s so grand and so spectacular.”’ Also receiving an Oscar for technical achievement at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel ceremony was Germany’s ARRI camera company for its Arrilaser film recorder used extensively by the industry in the post-production phase of motion pictures and also for restoring old films.