Trophy Awards at the Oscars: Science and Technology Awards

When people think about The Oscars, chances are they’re thinking about the most high-profile awards – Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Film, etc. And they’re also probably thinking about that iconic and coveted trophy award the actors and directors get to take home with them for their accomplishments. But something we tend not to think about is that that Marvel movie you loved for all its innovative graphics? – who made that visual artistry (and by extension gold trophy) possible? These people are always behind the scenes, but they’re the people who literally create the movies; otherwise actors would have nothing to act in and directors would have nothing to direct.

There are three levels of the Science and Tech Awards.

  • The Technical Achievement Award: An award given for advancements in the technological gear surrounding filmmaking.
  • The Scientific and Engineering Award: A engraved award plaque given for scientific advancements in the industry (think simulating cloth)
  • The Academy Award of Merit: A customized gold statue for an overwhelming influence upon the industry and sciences.

History of the Science and Technology Awards

The first Science and Technology Awards were presented at the 4th ever Oscars ceremony in 1931. At that time they were an award category called “Scientific of Technical achievement, and they were set in three classes. Class I honored basic achievements that move the industry forward, Class II honored high level accomplishments in engineering and tech, and Class III honored notable innovative achievements in film. Those honored accomplishments at the first Science and Tech awards included advancements in noise reduction, ribbon microphone transmitters, and synchro-projection composite photography. In 2020 some of the achievements that merited awards were for CGI hair-movement technology (think Disney’s Brave), miniature lavalier microphones and head-mounted camera systems (think first-person horror movies). Yeah, so, it’s been a minute; we’ve come a long way.

Eventually, the initial “Class” awards were given the titles they share today, and in 1978 the Science and Tech Awards graduated from a mere category to an entirely separate dinner and awards ceremony specific to them.

The Design of the Science and Tech Award Trophies

Initially, recipients were awarded with certificates and award plaques. And it’s not much different today. The Technical Achievement Award recipient is given a certificate. The Scientific and Engineering Award is used to be a bronze engraved plaque. At the new SciTech awards, they give out a 24-Karat gold plated awards with an engraved base. And the Academy Award of Merit gets its own unique take on that iconic Oscar statuette. It’s a trophy award, but it’s also an award plaque. Plated in 24-karat gold, the Academy Award of Merit includes the Oscar statuette, but it’s set next to an engraved plaque commemorating the achievement, both of which are set in a 24-karate gold-plated base.

So, there you have it! The Oscars are more than we thought. If you want to do a deep dive into the Science and Technology Awards, you can find more about them on the Oscars website.