Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and president of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, will receive the Gordon E. Sawyer Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his lifetime of technical contributions and leadership in the field of computer graphics for the motion picture industry.
The award, an Oscar statuette, will be presented to Catmull at the Scientific and Technical Awards Presentations on Saturday, February 7, 2009, at the Beverly Wilshire.
"Ed is one of the rare individuals who can bridge the space between science and art," said Academy President Sid Ganis. "His vision, ingenuity and groundbreaking designs have made the impossible possible -- for filmmakers and movie audiences around the world."
Catmull founded three of the leading centers of computer graphics research -- the computer graphics laboratory at the New York Institute of Technology, the computer division of Lucasfilm Ltd., and Pixar Animation Studios.
In 2000 Catmull, Rob Cook and Loren Carpenter received an Academy Award of Merit (an Oscar statuette) for their significant advancements to the field of motion picture rendering as exemplified in Pixar's RenderMan. The software, which produces images used in motion pictures from 3D computer descriptions of shape and appearance, has been used in 45 of the last 50 films nominated for an Academy Award in the Visual Effects category.
Catmull had previously received two Scientific and Engineering Awards: in 1992 as part of a team for the development of RenderMan software, and in 1995 as part of a team responsible for pioneering inventions in Digital Image Compositing. He also shared a Technical Achievement Award in 2005.
While at Lucasfilm Ltd., Catmull managed development in the areas of computer graphics, video editing, video games and digital audio.
Catmull earned Bachelor of Science degrees in computer science and physics and a Ph.D.in computer science from the University of Utah. In 2005 the University of Utah presented him with a honorary doctoral degree in engineering.
Established in 1981, the Sawyer Award is presented to "an individual in the motion picture industry whose technological contributions have brought credit to the industry." Catmull will be the 22nd recipient of the award.
Portions of the Scientific and Technical Awards presentation will be included in the Oscar ceremony.
Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2008 will be presented on Sunday, February 22, 2009, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.