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An Oscar nod for cutting edge animation

It's Hollywood's biggest night. The Academy Awards are the most important awards in the entertainment industry and one of the biggest TV events in the world. The stars strut down the red carpet in their finest in anticipation of seeing who'll take home the coveted golden statuette — the Oscar. Since the awards were first handed out in 1929, Canada has enjoyed an impressive track record. CBC Archives pays tribute to a handful of Canadians whose Oscar recognition reverberated back home.

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"My lifelong dream was to win a Stanley Cup," says Kevin Tureski of Alias/Wavefront holding his Oscar statuette. "An Oscar is like a Stanley Cup." The Academy has awarded the Scientific and Technical Award to Toronto software giant responsible for Maya, computer software used in cutting edge animation technology. From The Lord of the Rings to Star Wars to Spiderman, it's nearly impossible to find a film that doesn't use the Maya technology.

The Oscar confirms Canada's status as a leader in the field of 3D animation, something that designer Bill Buxton finds ironic. If anyone had suggested there would be an industry around this technology back in the late 70s and early 80s, says Buxton, they would have been laughed out of the room. 
. Maya is known for its special character animation capabilities that allow human characters to be simulated with flesh tones, wrinkles and even folds in clothing.
. In 2003, Alias received the Good Design Award by Japan's Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry. The first Canadian company to be honoured in the award's 45-year history.

. Those in the entertainment industry using Maya technology include: CNN, Disney, DreamWorks, Industrial Light & Magic, Nintendo and Sony Pictures Imageworks,
. In 1989, the Academy awarded the technical award to Istec Incorporated for the development of Westcam Camera System. Westcam attaches to the camera and reduces vibrations, resulting in steady smooth aerial pictures.

. IMAX is a film projection system developed in Canada, in 1967, that has the capacity to display images of much bigger and at a higher resolution than conventional films. The projected image can be so big that a whale can appear life-size.
Medium: Television
Program: Canada Now
Broadcast Date: March 13, 2003
Guest(s): Bill Buxton, Kevin Tureski
Reporter: Tracey Moore
Duration: 2:05

Last updated: March 30, 2012

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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