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79. Ed Ulbrich

When it came to the holy grail of special effects–creating a digitized human head indistinguishable from the real thing–no one expected it to be created by a bunch of guys who make ads for BMW and Coca-Cola. But Ed Ulbrich, 44, left the visual-effects world breathless last year when his team unveiled Benjamin Button, a photo-realistic but completely digital (and Oscar-winning) Brad Pitt head, with a full range of human expressions. Says Ulbrich: “There’s no going back from here.” — by Danielle Sacks