Chris is up there with the stars

WHAT do Brad Pitt, Steve McQueen, Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio and a dad of three from Lalor Park have in common?

They are all being recognised by the US Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science in red-carpet fashion at the Oscars this Sunday.

The difference is that lesser-known Chris Cooper already knows he's a winner.

"It's a really good surprise," Mr Cooper said.

He won't be getting a thirteen-and-half-inch gold statuette, but a certificate for a software program he helped develop for Baz Luhrmann's Australia.

Mr Cooper receives the Academy Technical Achievement Award for the development, prototyping and promotion of technologies and workflows for deep compositing.

"I started working on that technology in 2007," Mr Cooper said with reference to deep compositing, which uses an image pixel containing many samples of data instead of the traditional single sample.

"It was quite a tricky problem we were having to solve . . . to combine the cattle and computer-generated dust with live cattle in Australia," he said.

The former Castle Hill High student completed a computer systems engineering degree at the University of Technology Sydney before working on TV commercials and then in the film industry, developing visual effects software.

His other credits include the Matrix movies, Moulin Rouge, Happy Feet 1 and 2, Stealth and the Farscape science fiction tele-series.

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