Carnegie Mellon University
May 19, 2021

Carnegie Mellon Boasts 11 Academy Award Wins

By Pam Wigley

Beginning in 1983 and, most recently with a 2021 win, eight Carnegie Mellon University alumni across several colleges have accepted a total of 11 Academy Awards, given by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. This year, CMU celebrated the most recent Oscar win by costume designer Ann Roth, a 1953 graduate of the School of Drama. Roth accepted her second Academy Award at the 93rd Annual Oscars for her work as costume designer for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” She also won an Oscar in 1996 for costume design for “The English Patient.”

Carnegie Mellon alumni have worked both in front of the camera and behind the scenes to net Oscar gold. College of Fine Arts Dean Dan Martin recognizes the expansive depth and breadth of talent among these honorees and the many talented alumni contributing their talents to society every day.

“Many people know of Carnegie Mellon’s prominence and influence in STEM education and research,” he says. “What is not as well-known is the fact that the arts were an essential part of Andrew Carnegie’s founding vision, and that our arts, design and architecture graduates have contributed to and helped transform the creative sectors for the greater part of the last 100 years. The artistry and achievements of the School of Drama’s graduates are but one example of the depth, quality and impact of creative education, research and practice at Carnegie Mellon.”

Roth, who was not in attendance at the Union Station ceremony in Los Angeles earlier this year, has been a fixture on the costume design circuit for five decades. She regularly visits the CMU campus to talk with students in the School of Drama’s costume design program, recently named one of the best in the world by The Hollywood Reporter.

Carnegie Mellon’s Creativity and Innovation Touches Every Corner of the Arts: The Tartan Community’s Academy Award Winners

Kiran Bhat
School of Computer Science, Class of 2004
Technical Achievement (2017) - For the design and development of the ILM facial performance-capture solving system; Awarded jointly with Michael Koperwas, Brian Cantwell and Paige Warner

Holly Hunter
College of Fine Arts, Class of 1980
Best Actress in a Leading Role (1993) - “The Piano”

Drew Olbrich
School of Computer Science, Class of 1992
Technical Achievement (2013) - For creating the light system for computer graphics lighting at PDI/Dreamworks; Awarded jointly with Lawrence Kesteloot and Daniel Wexler

Iain Matthews
School of Computer Science, Adjunct Faculty
Technical Achievement (2017) - For the design, engineering and development of the FACETS facial performance capture and solving system at Weta Digital; Awarded jointly with Luca Fascione and J.P. Lewis

Ann Roth
College of Fine Arts, Class of 1953
Best Costume Design (2021) - “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
Best Costume Design (1996) - “The English Patient”

Stephen Schwartz
College of Fine Arts, Class of 1968
Best Music, Original Song (1998) - “When You Believe” from “The Prince of Egypt”
Best Music, Original Musical or Comedy Score (1995) - “Pocahontas”
Best Music, Original Song (1995) - “Colors of the Wind” from “Pocahontas”

Richard Shoup
College of Engineering, Class of 1965; School of Computer Science, Class of 1970
Outstanding Achievement in Engineering Development (1983) - For concept and development of the first electronics graphics creative system; Awarded jointly with A.R. Smith and T. Porter

James R. Swartz
Tepper School of Business, Class of 1966
Best Documentary Feature as producer (2018) - “Icarus”; Awarded jointly with Bryan Fogel, Dan Cogan and David Fialkow