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HPA Honors Robert Legato with Lifetime Achievement Award

Oscar, BAFTA, and VES Award winner will be honored for his significant creative and technical achievements

Rob Legato 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award

August 14, 2019 (Burbank, CA) The Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) has announced that Robert Legato, the legendary visual effects supervisor and renowned creative, will receive the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the HPA Awards during a gala evening at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles on November 21st. Now in its 14th year, the HPA Awards recognize creative artistry, innovation and engineering excellence in the media content industry. The Lifetime Achievement Award honors the recipients’ dedication to the betterment of the industry.

Legato is an iconic figure in the visual effects industry with multiple Oscar®, British Academy of Film & Television Arts (BAFTA), Visual Effects Society (VES) nominations and awards to his credit. He is a multi-hyphenate on many of his projects, serving as Visual Effects Supervisor, VFX Director of Photography, and 2nd Unit Director. From his work with studios, directors, and in his roles at Sony Imageworks and Digital Domain, he is a groundbreaking thinker in the development of nimble digital workflows.

Legato’s extensive film credits include some of the most creatively honored and important visual effects driven projects of the past 20 years. He has enjoyed long collaborations with leading directors including James Cameron, Jon Favreau, Martin Scorsese, and Robert Zemeckis.

Legato’s career in VFX began in television at Paramount Pictures, where he supervised visual effects on two Star Trek series, which earned him two Emmy awards. He left Paramount to join the newly formed Digital Domain where he worked with founders James Cameron, Stan Winston and Scott Ross, to forge Digital Domain into a visual effects powerhouse. He remained at Digital Domain until he segued to Sony Imageworks.

Legato began his feature VFX career on Neil Jordan’s “Interview with the Vampire.” He then served as Visual Effects Supervisor and Director of Photography for the VFX unit on Ron Howard’s “Apollo 13”, which earned him his first Academy Award® nomination, and a win at the BAFTAs. He worked with James Cameron on “Titanic,” earning him his first Academy Award. Legato continued to work with Cameron, conceiving and creating the Virtual Cinematography Pipeline for Cameron’s visionary “Avatar.” Legato has enjoyed a long collaboration with Martin Scorsese that began with his consultation on “Kundun” and continued with the multi-award winning film “The Aviator,” on which he served as Co-2nd Unit Director/Cameraman and Visual Effects Supervisor. Legato’s work on “The Aviator” brought him three VES awards and the International Press Academy’s Satellite Award for Best Visual Effects. He returned to work with the director on the Oscar® Best Picture winner “The Departed” as the 2nd Unit Director/Cameraman and VFX Supervisor.  Legato and Scorsese collaborated on “Shutter Island,” where he was both Visual Effects Supervisor and 2nd Unit Director/Cameraman. He continued on to Scorsese’s epic 3D film “Hugo,” which was nominated for 11 Oscars and 11 BAFTAS, including Best Picture and Best Visual Effects. Legato won his second Oscar for “Hugo” as well as three VES Society Awards and an International Satellite Award. His collaboration with Scorsese continued with “The Wolf of Wall Street” as well as with non-theatrical and advertising projects such as the Clio award winning “Freixenet: The Key to Reserva,” a 10-minute commercial project, and the Rolling Stones feature documentary, “Shine a Light.”

Legato worked with director Jon Favreau on Disney’s “The Jungle Book” (2nd Unit Director/Cinematographer and Visual Effects Supervisor) for which he received his third Academy Award, a British Academy Award, five VES Awards, an HPA Award and the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Visual Effects for 2016. His latest film with Favreau is Disney’s “The Lion King,” which surpassed $1 billion in box office after fewer than three weeks in theaters.

His extensive credits include serving as Visual Effects Supervisor on Chris Columbus’ global phenomenon “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” as well as two Robert Zemeckis films, “What Lies Beneath” and “Cast Away.” He was senior Visual Effects Supervisor on Michael Bay’s “Bad Boys II,” which was nominated for a VES Award for Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects, and for Digital Domain he worked on Bay’s “Armageddon.”

He is a member of ASC, BAFTA, DGA, AMPAS, VES, and the Local 600 and Local 700 unions.

Seth Hallen, president of the HPA, said, “It is an absolute honor to present the HPA Award for Lifetime Achievement to the inimitable Rob Legato.  His credits and accomplishments have played an undeniable role in the advancement of visual storytelling and expanded the way that audiences experience entertainment. His brilliant work has informed our viewpoint of what is real, what is an illusion, and how stories come to life. Rob has also joined us as a presenter at the HPA Awards, and to have him with us this year to accept the Lifetime Achievement Award is a wonderful cycle of events.”

The HPA Awards honor creative categories, Engineering Excellence and Creativity and Innovation.  Nominations for the creative categories will be announced in the coming weeks, and winners of the HPA Engineering Excellence Awards were announced earlier. The HPA Awards are made possible through the generous sponsorship of Diamond Title Sponsor Blackmagic Design, Platinum Sponsor IMAX, and foundation members Avid, Dolby, EFilm, Encore, Deluxe Toronto, and Level 3 Post. For sponsorship or program advertising opportunities, please contact Joyce Cataldo at jcataldo@hpaonline.com. Tickets for the HPA Awards are now available at www.hpaonline.com.


About the HPA® Awards
The HPA Awards were created to foster awareness and recognize the achievements of the individuals and companies that have contributed to groundbreaking technologies and creative excellence within the professional media content industry and build involvement in the Hollywood Professional Association. The HPA is a partner of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers® (SMPTE®). Information about the HPA Awards is available at www.hpaonline.com. The HPA Awards will be presented with generous support from Foundation Members and sponsors.

About the Hollywood Professional Association
Hollywood Professional Association (HPA®) serves the professional community of businesses and individuals who provide expertise, support, tools and the infrastructure for the creation and finishing of motion pictures, television, commercials, digital media and other dynamic media content. Through their partnership with the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers® (SMPTE®), the leader in the advancement of the art, science and craft of the image, sound, and metadata ecosystem, the HPA continues to extend its support of the community it represents. Information about the HPA is available at www.hpaonline.com.

About the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers® (SMPTE®)
For more than a century, the people of the Society of Motion Pictures and Television Engineers (SMPTE, pronounced “simp-tee”) have sorted out the details of many significant advances in media and entertainment technology, from the introduction of “talkies” and color television to HD and UHD (4K, 8K) TV. Since its founding in 1916, the Society has received an Oscar® and multiple Emmy® Awards for its work in advancing moving-imagery engineering across the industry. SMPTE has developed thousands of standards, recommended practices, and engineering guidelines, more than 800 of which are currently in force today. SMPTE Time Code™ and the ubiquitous SMPTE Color Bars™ are just two examples of the Society’s notable work. As it enters its second century, the Society is shaping the next generation of standards and providing education for the industry to ensure interoperability as the industry evolves further into IT- and IP-based workflows.

SMPTE’s global membership today includes more than 7,000 members: motion-imaging executives, creatives, technologists, researchers, and students who volunteer their time and expertise to the Society’s standards development and educational initiatives. A partnership with the Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) connects SMPTE and its membership with the businesses and individuals who support the creation and finishing of media content. Information on joining SMPTE is available at  www.smpte.org/join

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