Waterloo alumni make their mark on Hollywood with their creativity and technical innovation. 

Take a peek into the world of filmmaking and see why these graduates were recognized with Oscars for their achievements. 

Mike Jutan

Mike Jutan (BMath ’07) won an Oscar in 2018 for co-developing software for George Lucas’s visual effects studio, Industrial Light & Magic. You might have seen his work in the special effects of Iron Man, recent Star Wars movies or other smash hits.

Fun fact: Mike’s desk holds an incredible range of Pixar collectibles. Check them out!

Chris Williams

A man of many talents, Chris Williams (BA ’91) is an animator, film director, screenwriter and voice actor. He co-directed several films that received Oscar nods, including Disney’s Bolt, Big Hero 6 and Moana. Big Hero 6 won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature in 2015. 

Chris Williams holding his Oscar award

Tom Duff

Tom Duff (BMath ’74) is a Senior Research Scientist at Pixar who specializes in computer graphics and animation. Over the course of his career, he's produced visual effects for beloved films like Return of the Jedi and A Bug's Life. His contributions to motion picture science and technology have earned him two Academy Awards.

Luke Skywalker in Return of the Jedi

Want to learn more about Waterloo's Oscar recipients? See what they're contributing to the film industry... 

Kim Davidson (BMath ’81)
  • 2017 – Academy Award of Merit (Oscar statuette) for SideFX’s creation and development of the Houdini visual effects and animation system.
  • 2002 – Scientific and Engineering Award for the further development of Prisms program as exemplified in Houdini software package.
  • 1997 – Technical Achievement Award for the development of procedural modeling and animation components of Prisms software.
Cristin Barghiel (MMath ’94), Jeff Lait (BMath ’99), Mark Tucker (BASc ’97)
  • 2017 – Scientific and Engineering Award for contributions to the design and architecture of the Houdini visual effects and animation system.
Robert Bridson (MMath ’99)
  • 2014 – Technical Achievement Award for pioneering work that impacted the design of volumetric tools in the visual effects industry.
Eric Veach (BMath ’90)
  • 2013 – Scientific and Engineering Award for foundational research that allowed visual artists to more accurately simulate materials and light.
  • 2013 – Technical Achievemnt Award for influential research on the fundamental concepts of deep shadowing technology.
Andrew Clinton (BASc ’05)
  • 2011 – Technical Achievement Award for allowing for the first time unified and efficient rendering of effects such as smoke and clouds.
Kevin Tureski (BMath ’84)
  • 2002 – Scientific and Technical Award for the development of a 3D animation, dynamics, modeling and rendering production tool known as Maya. 
Mike Lazaridis (DEng ’00)
  • 1998 – Technical Achievement Award for the design and development of technology that expedites editorial and post-production processes.
Dale Brubacher-Cressman (BASc ’87)
  • 1998 - Technical Achievement Award for the design and development of technology that expedites editorial and post-production processes.
William Reeves (BMath ’74)
  • 1997 – Scientific and Engineering Award for the development of the Marionette 3D computer animation system.
  • 1996 – Scientific and Engineering Award for the development of particle systems used to create computer-generated visual effects.
  • 1988 – Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film: Tin Toy.