Hampshire’s Chris Perry is honored by the Academy

From top: Hampshire College professor Chris Perry and grad Lupita Nyong’o, Academy Award winner and nominee, respectively.
From top: Hampshire College professor Chris Perry and grad Lupita Nyong’o, Academy Award winner and nominee, respectively.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images (above)

Chris Perry says that life hasn’t changed much since he was honored by the Oscars. He still teaches at Hampshire College. He still lives in Northampton. But he’s a bit fancier now that he’s been recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. “I guess it gives me a little more credibility,” he said. “It’s just really kind of icing on the cake.” Perry was one of this year’s honorees at the Academy Awards for scientific and technical achievements, a black-tie event held in Beverly Hills on Feb. 15. The award came as a bit of a surprise; Perry earned it for his work on Voodoo, a software application he helped develop when he worked at the animation company Rhythm & Hues from 1994 to 1997. He left the firm long before Voodoo became instrumental in making Oscar favorites such as “Life of Pi,” but because of his role in the software’s design, he was on the Academy’s list of this year’s award winners. “I think I was named as one of the people because I was heavily involved in the earliest phases. It was 17 or 18 years ago,” he said, with a laugh. Perry has been at Hampshire, where he teaches animation, since 1999. He also makes independent films, including “The Incident at Tower 37,” which was a festival favorite. . . . Perry isn’t the only Hampshire name getting Oscar attention this year. Best supporting actress nominee Lupita Nyong’o — who picked up the best supporting actress honor at the NAACP Image Awards Saturday night — is a Hampshire grad.

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