Sure. We generally recognize the names of the actors, directors and makers of major Hollywood movies who receive Academy Awards for their work.
But many winners are documentary filmmakers, animators and members of teams that perform technical work. Without them, the quality of motion pictures would suffer dramatically.
Among such individuals, who either received or worked for companies that won Oscars and who died in the last year, are:
Frank Edward Warner, who died Aug. 31 at age 85, received an Academy Award for the sound effects of the 1977 Steven Spielberg film, "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," according to the obituary in the Los Angeles Times.
He reportedly said, "For the Mother Ship sound, I made up 31 different sounds including haybalers (slowed and reversed), trucks, trains, mosquitoes, metal and wood twists, squadrons of planes, etc. All were treated to remove their source and to move this tremendous image of a big, heavy living but harmless mass."
Warner also worked on such films as "Spartacus," "Harold and Maude," "Taxi Driver," "Being There," "Raging Bull" and three "Rocky" movies.
John L. Horn Jr., who died July 18 at age 55, began his 22 year career at LucasFilm on the EditDroid project, helping transition film editing from analog to the digital age, in 1988, per the obit in the Marin Independent Journal in California.
He transitioned to the R&D division, the "code mine" as he called it, where he remained until his death. John codeveloped image processing, animation, and motion capture technologies, including 2 systems that won Academy Awards for technical achievement. He worked on dozens of feature films, including Hook, Jurassic Park, Forrest Gump, the Star Wars prequels, and Cowboys & Aliens.
I personally was impressed that Horn helped the video games division with tools for “The Force Unleashed,” one of my favorite books from the Star Wars Expanded Universe. He also worked on a pre-visualization system used extensively on the Clone Wars TV series.
Bernard “Barney” Posner, who died Nov. 28 at age 96, became a cartoon animator during The Golden Age of Animation, according to the obit in the Los Angeles Times.
His credits include Jerry Mouse, Gene Kelly's dance partner, Hollywood's most successful animation and live action film, Anchors Aweigh, MGM 1945. His team at UPA earned an Academy Award for When Magoo Flys in 1957.
Dwight Montgomery Shook, who died Nov. 16 at age 90, worked in motion picture special effects and was a regular crew member at Academy Award winning Grant McCune Design, according to the obit in the Los Angeles Times.
His credits included Airplane II, Terminator 2, Batman Forever, Spaceballs, Spiderman 1 and 2, X Men 2, Serenity and Flight Plan.
Christian Robert Odasso, a documentary filmmaker who died Dec. 30, worked with Orson Welles, François Reichenbach, Chris Marker, and Claude Lelouch. Reichenbach and he won multiple awards, including an Academy Award and the Palme d'or at Cannes, according to the obit in the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post.
Although the obit does not indicate what he won the Oscar for, it says that he filmed luminaries like Dalí, Brigitte Bardot, Jeanne Moreau, Karajan, Menuin, Arthur Rubinstein, Jim Harrison, Richard Brautigan, Van Morrison, BB King, and Jimmy Buffett. He recorded JFK's funeral, the Vietnam war, Woodstock, Mission Control during the moon landing, and extensively with indigenous peoples in Central America.
Fred "Mac" Hardman, a.k.a. M. J. McMasters, who died Oct. 7, was employed by CELCO Manufacturing where his company received an Academy Award for Technological Innovation in the development of the "colorizer" equipment used for a number of Disney Films, according to the obit in the Lompoc (Calif.) Record.
This post was contributed by Alana Baranick, a freelance obituary writer. She is the director of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers and chief author of Life on the Death Beat: A Handbook for Obituary Writers.