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Academy to Commend Arthur Widmer; Changes Sci-Technical Awards Venue

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present a special Award of Commendation to Arthur Widmer at the Scientific and Technical Awards dinner on Feb. 12, 2005, at its new location, the Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel in Pasadena.

The AMPAS moved the event from the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel one of nine hotels targeted for a hotel workers union boycott because many of the people attending would not want to cross a picket line.

Widmer is being honored for his lifelong achievements in the science and technology of motion pictures, especially his significant contributions to the development of the Ultra Violet and bluescreen compositing processes.

"Art's pioneering work has had a profound impact on the film industry," said Richard Edlund, chair of the Scientific and Technical Awards Committee. "In fact, many of the films we hold dear would not have been possible without his contributions to image compositing technology."

During Widmers tenure at Eastman Kodak, he researched a variety of new methods of color photography, including Kodachrome, and in the late 1940s, he was involved with the introduction of Eastman Color Negative and Color Positive to the motion picture industry.

Widmer began his work with the Ultra Violet Traveling Matte process while at Warner Bros., where he also developed and refined technologies for other motion picture processes, including 3D and wide screen.

Universal Studios hired him to design and build an optical department, where he researched many developments in bluescreen technology and optical printing and made improvements to the Color Difference System.

The Award of Commendation, along with Academy Awards for Scientific and Technical Achievements of 2004, will be presented at a gala black tie dinner at the Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel in Pasadena.

Other Hollywood organizations have recently moved their awards show away from a boycotted venue in Los Angeles.

The Directors Guild of America moved its Jan. 29 show from the Century Plaza to the Beverly Hilton, a week after the Producers Guild of America moved its Jan. 22 awards show from the Century Plaza to Culver Studios. The Writers Guild of America West switched from the Century Plaza to the Hollywood Palladium for its Feb. 19 show.

The American Society of Cinematographers is likely to switch its Feb. 20 awards ceremony at Century Plaza to another site due to the union boycott.