Filed in: Art Direction, Awards, Featured, Film, Television
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Art Directors Guild Honors Production Designers for Hugo, Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Harry Potter

February 6, 2012 | By

From left: ADG president and chairman Thomas A. Walsh, production designer Dante Ferretti, production designer Stuart Craig and lifetime achievement award recipient Tony Walton. (Photo by Evans Ward/Mathew Imaging).

The production designers for Hugo, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 won top prizes in the three feature film categories at the 16th annual Art Directors Guild “Excellence in Production Design” dinner held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel Saturday night.

In the television categories, the production designers for HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and  Mildred Pierce, and for Modern Family, the hit ABC series, walked away with top honors.

The awards ceremony, hosted for the third year in a row by zany comedienne Paula Poundstone, also marked the 75th anniversary of the founding of the guild in 1937.

The ADG divides the feature film awards into three areas.

Dante Ferretti, the production designer for Hugo, received the period film kudo, besting those nominated for The Artist, The Help, Anonymous and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. The closely watched category included three nominees for the art direction Oscar.  The ADG award makes the Italian production designer the odds-on favorite for this year’s art direction Oscar. This was the first ADG win for Ferretti who has had five ADG nominations before this.  He has already won two Academy Awards for The Aviator and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Donald Graham Burt got the award in the contemporary film slot for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  Burt previously won an ADG feature film award for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.  He also received an Oscar for his production design for Benjamin Button.

Stuart Craig got the award in the fantasy film competition for his production design on the final installment of the Harry Potter series. He is also nominated for the art direction Oscar. Stuart worked on all seven of the Potter films and was previously nominated for his work on three by the ADG. He won an ADG award for The English Patient.

As for television, in the TV movie or mini-series contest, production designer Mark Friedberg won for Mildred Pierce, an eight-hour remake of the 1940s film noir piece.  Boardwalk Empire production designer Bill Groom was the recipient in the category for one-hour single camera television series.

Richard Berg, the production designer for Modern Family, was the winner in the half-hour single-camera category.  He triumphed over nominees for 30 Rock, Weeds, Californication and New Girl.

Other television winners:

  • Keith Ian Raywood, Eugene Leo, Leo Yoshimura and N. Joseph De Tullio, production designers for the Saturday Night Live show hosted by Justin Timberlake, were honored in the best “episode of a multi-camera, variety or unscripted series” category.
  • Production designer Steve Bass received the award for his work on the 83rd Annual Academy Awards in the awards, music or game shows category. Bass was competing with himself, with another nomination for the 63rd Annual Emmy Awards.
  • Neil Spisak won in the commercials and music  videos category for his production design of a spot for the Activision “Call to Duty” videogame.

The ADG lifetime achievement award was bestowed on Tony Walton, the Academy Award-winning art director for All That Jazz. He is best known for his production design and costumes for Mary Poppins. He received the award in a videotaped segment from Julie Andrews, the Mary Poppins star who was once married to Walton.

The creative team for the entire Harry Potter skein, which has grossed more than $7 billion worldwide for Warner Brothers, received the outstanding contribution to cinematic imagery award at the dinner. The large Harry Potter contingent swarmed the stage to receive the prize handed out by Tinker Tailor star Gary Oldham.

This was the first time the full complement of creators behind a film – including author J.K. Rowling, the producers, directors, screenwriters and production designer Craig – has received the prestigious ADG special honor. Past winners include actors Warren Beatty and Clint Eastwood, and directors Steven Spielberg and Robert Wise.

Three production designers were added to the Art Director Guild’s Hall of Fame:

  • Robert Boyle, who collaborated often with director Alfred Hitchcock on films such as Shadow of a Doubt and North by Northwest.
  • William Darling, who worked during Hollywood’s Golden Age. He was nominated for six Oscars and won for Cavalcade, The Song of Bernadette and Anna and the King of Siam.
  • European art director Alfred Junge, best known for working on films with England’s Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, including Black Narcissus, which garnered him an Academy Award.

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