1984: Computer graphics
When the Academy awarded a modest Sci-Tech plaque to digital-graphics pioneers John Whitney, Jr., and Gary Demos "for the practical simulation of motion-picture photography by means of computer-generated images," you don't sense that its members knew the magnitude of what was to come. Whitney and Demos contributed to such trailblazing CG projects as Tron (1982) and The Last Starfighter (1984). The Last Starfighter, the first feature film to make use of photorealistic computer graphic images, contained a full 27 minutes of CG effects produced with the help of a Cray XMP supercomputer at a cost of $14 million. Pixar's short animated films of the late 1980s and Jurassic Park in 1993--the projects that the public associates with ushering in the CG era--were still years away.