The Nikola Tesla Award for Visionary Achievement in Filmmaking Technology was created to shine a spotlight on pioneers in the industry who not only have an impact on their peers, but whose life’s work will influence future generations and give rise to further innovation.
John Toll, ASC
21st Annual Satellite Awards, 2016
Robert Rutherford and Jonathan Edward Miller (Hive Lighting)
20th Annual Satellite Awards, 2015
Hive Lighting, and company co-founders Robert Rutherford and Jonathan Edward Miller are guys behind “the completely flicker-free” plasma lighting. Plasma is the world’s most reliable high-speed light source; the process of super-heating the argon gas in each bulb requires cycles well beyond the frame rates currently possible with any high-speed camera.
Industrial Light & Magic (ILM)
19th Annual Satellite Awards, 2014
For 40 years, ILM has set the standard for visual effects, creating some of the most stunning images in the history of film. At the forefront of the digital revolution, ILM continues to break new ground in visual effects.
Founded in 1975 by George Lucas, ILM is the leading effects facility in the world, serving the motion picture, commercial production and attraction industries. ILM has created visual effects for over 300 feature films.
ILM has played a key role in 6 of the top 10 worldwide box office hits of all time and has contributed to twenty-five of the top fifty.
18th Annual Satellite Awards, 2013
17th Annual Satellite Awards, 2012
Walter Murch created the epoch-shaping Oscar-winning sound design of “Apocalypse Now,” and is among a rarified few who have won Oscars in different categories in the same year. For “The English Patient,” he won Best Sound and Best Editing, among accolades from BAFTA. Murch has a role in film history as part of George Lucas’s early film “THX 1138,” as designer of its sound montage. Uniquely suited for the Tesla Award, he is currently editing “Particle Fever,” a feature documentary on CERN’s Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs boson. Murch also published a seminal work on film editing, “In the Blink of an Eye.”
16th Annual Satellite Awards, 2011
Robert A. Harris
15th Annual Satellite Awards, 2010
Robert A. Harris has worked with legendary directors like David Lean on the restoration of films such as “Lawrence of Arabia,” and, as a film preservationist and renown film historian. Harris, together with producing partner James C. Katz, has revitalized many modern classics from some of Hollywood’s legendary auteurs including Stanley Kubrick, with historical epic “Spartacus,” George Cukor’s beloved musical adaption “My Fair Lady,” and two of Alfred Hitchcock’s acclaimed masterpieces “Rear Window” and “Vertigo.” He is also a producer who, with Martin Scorsese, helped bring Stephen Frears’ “The Grifters” to the screen.
14th Annual Satellite Awards, 2009
Nominated seven times for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography, Roger Deakins’ creative influence behind the camera can be seen in the ‘emotional look’ of films ranging from “The Shawshank Redemption,” “Fargo,” Martin Scorsese’s “Kundun,” “O Brother Where Art Thou?,” Ron Howard’s “A Beautiful Mind,” and “Doubt.” In 2008, Deakins received two Oscar™ nominations in the same year for “No Country for Old Men” and “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.” Most recently, he was Oscar-nominated for “True Grit,” the Coen Bros. remake.
13th Annual Satellite Awards, 2008
Six-Time Oscar® winner Rick Baker, legendary make-up effects artist, has thrilled audiences with his innovative creatures for years. A master make-up artist and prosthetics inventor, Baker began his apprenticeship on “The Exorcist,” went on to films like “Star Wars,” Dino De Laurentiis’ “King Kong” to cult classic “An American Werewolf in London,” to “Men in Black,” and the B-List director biopic “Ed Wood.” In 2010 Rick Baker won his newest Oscar for “The Wolfman,” and continues to break barriers on creature effects.
Mr. Baker was presented the Tesla Award by one of his earliest collaborators, Director/Producer John Landis.
12th Annual Satellite Awards, 2007
Eight-time Oscar® winner Dennis Muren, ASC, a pioneer in V/FX is the first visual effects artist to have a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His work in films reflects a series of milestones that mark the history of visual effects achievements in the movies: “Star Wars,” “The Empire Strikes Back,” “Jurassic Park,” and even the flying bicycle sequence in “ET.” In “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” Muren used computer digital rendering and compositing to create a menacing character. His work on the “T-1000” pushed morphing technology into the future. He recently worked on “Wall-E” and “Super 8.”
11th Annual Satellite Awards, 2006
In 1976 Richard Donner directed the classic suspense thriller, “The Omen,” followed two years later by the definitive version of “Superman,” starring Christopher Reeve. With “Superman,” Donner raised the bar on the genre by insisting that the comic book superhero should be treated with authenticity and respect for the source material rather than as camp. “Superman,” also had the distinction of creating astonishing special effects that not only pre-dated contemporary computer-generated images, but often equaled or surpassed.
10th Annual Satellite Awards, 2005
Special effects master Stan Winston created the monstrous extraterrestrials of “Aliens,” the fanciful character of “Edward Scissorhands,” the astounding dinosaurs of “Jurassic Park” and the frightening “Terminator” among other achievements. He won four Academy Awards and was nominated for 10, underscoring his groundbreaking contributions to cinema.
9th Annual Satellite Awards, 2005
While iconic actor/comedian Jerry Lewis is known the world over as a brilliant artist and stalwart humanitarian, who raised billions of dollars for muscular dystrophy research through his annual telethons, few are aware of the depth and breadth of the entertainer’s technical achievements and contributions to the science of filmmaking. He was instrumental in introducing video-assist and video playback techniques, which have become industry standards.
8th Annual Satellite Awards, 2004
Canadian-born entertainment industry icon James Cameron credits early exposure to Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” as the creative catalyst that launched a truly remarkable and technologically innovative career in the movie business. From “The Abyss” to “Terminator” to “AVATAR,” Cameron has made his mark in stand-out effects and 3D lens innovations.
7th Annual Satellite Awards, 2003 (first Tesla Honoree Awarded)
From “Star Wars” to the Indiana Jones chronicles, George Lucas continues to be instrumental in changing the viewer experiences and expectations of worldwide audiences. His impact on the entertainment industry began with “American Graffiti” to can be seen in projects as diverse as “Willow” to the animated version of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” for television. Lucas received the first Tesla Award for a lifetime of visionary filmmaking achievement and his privately held company, LucasFilm, continues to expand frontiers in the cinematic arts.