Ray Feeney, a pioneer of software solutions for visual effects in motion pictures, will receive the first Oscar this year when Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honors him with the Gordon E. Sawyer Award. Another VFX pioneer, Richard Edlund, will be awarded a John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation. The Oscar statuette and Bonner medallion will be presented at the Scientific and Technical Awards Dinner on Feb. 10, 2007, at the Regent Beverly Wilshire.
Feeney began his career at Robert Abel & Assoc. working on vfx for commercials and feature films. In 1988, he received his first Scientific and Engineering Award from the Academy for his part in the development of one of the first motion control camera systems. He received a second Scientific and Engineering Award in 1991 for his work on the Solitaire Image Recorder, and two more in 1994, honoring his work in developing film input scanners and the Cinefusion software implementation of the Ultimatte Blue Screen Compositing Technology.
Feeney founded RFX Inc. in 1978 to provide scientific and engineering solutions for the film industry, many of which are now in widespread use to produce visual effects for feature films, television shows and commercials.
In 1995, Feeney launched another company, Silicon Grail, to develop software for the motion picture industry. Silicon Grail's RAYZ software has been a digital compositing tool for creating vfx for feature films. Apple Computer acquired his technologies in 2002 and continues to incorporate them into Apple products.
Feeney is a co-chair of the Academy's Science and Technology Council, serves on the Academy's Scientific and Engineering Awards Committee and has chaired the Digital Imaging Technology Subcommittee. Feeney is also a founding member and director of the Visual Effects Society, as well as a fellow of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers.
"Ray has helped develop and implement many of the groundbreaking technologies that have become industry standard techniques used in the creation of visual effects for motion pictures," said Academy president Sid Ganis. The Gordon E. Sawyer Award is "presented to an individual in the motion picture industry whose technological contributions have brought credit to the industry." Feeney will be the 20th recipient of the award.
In 2001, the Academy's Board of Governors awarded Feeney the John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation.
Edlund, winner of this year's John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation, has been awarded Oscars for his work on STAR WARS, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and RETURN OF THE JEDI.
"Besides Richard's groundbreaking visual effects work, which has given moviegoers some of the most memorable scenes on the big screen," said Ganis, "he's been central to the Academy's work in the scientific and technical areas for over a quarter century, including serving as one of the first Visual Effects Branch governors on the Board."
In 1983, Edlund founded Boss Film Studios and began work on GHOSTBUSTERS. Through 1997, the Venice, California-based studio produced visual effects for more than 30 motion pictures, including 2010, DIE HARD, GHOST, POLTERGEIST II: THE OTHER SIDE, CLIFFHANGER, BATMAN RETURNS, ALIEN 3, SPECIES, MULTIPLICITY and AIR FORCE ONE.
Edlund has also earned six additional Academy Award nominations and three Scientific and Engineering Awards. He also won an Emmy Award for visual effects for the TV series, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA.
An active member of the Academy since 1979, Edlund served on the Academy's Board of Governors from 1995 to 2006, chairing both the Visual Effects Branch Executive Committee and the Scientific and Technical Awards Committee 2001-2006.
He continues to serve on the Academy's Science and Technology Council and on its Museum Committee.
Named in honor of the late director of special projects at Warner Hollywood Studios, the John A. Bonner Medal is awarded for, "outstanding service and dedication in upholding the high standards of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences."
Segments of the Scientific and Technical Awards presentation will be broadcast on ABC during the 79th Academy Awards Feb. 25.