At the 19th annual Art Directors Guild awards dinner Saturday night, the production designers for Birdman, Grand Budapest Hotel and Guardians of the Galaxy took top honors in the contemporary, period and fantasy film competitions respectively.
In the television categories, winners included production designers for Game of Thrones, True Detective, American Horror Story: Freak Show, Silicon Valley and The Big Bang Theory.
The gala, held in the Grand Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton Hotel, was hosted by comedian Owen Benjamin. It featured some glamorous presenters including Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, the Oscar-nominated stars of The Theory of Everything, as well as George Clooney.
Ann Hathaway presented the guild’s Cinematic Imagery Award to Christopher Nolan, the director-producer-writer who helmed this year’s sci-fi blockbuster Interstellar, and is also known for Inception, Memento and the Dark Knight trilogy. “Whatever I’ve contributed to cinematic imagery is due to my collaborations with my designers,” said Nolan. “I think the art department stands for everything wonderful about movies, everything exciting about movies,” he told the audience.” Nolan gave a shout out to Nathan Crowley, his longtime art director, and other production designers he’s worked with.
Adam Stockhausen winner in the period category for his production design for Grand Budapest Hotel, is the only one of the three ADG feature film honorees to also be nominated for an Oscar, giving him a leg up for the best art direction Academy Award. Kevin Thompson won for his production design for Birdman in the contemporary category, and Charles Wood won in the fantasy category for Guardians of the Galaxy. Guardians was one the biggest surprises besting Into the Woods and Interstellar, which are both Oscar nominees for best art direction.
The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Jim Bissell, who in his 35-year career has collaborated with numerous notable directors, including Steven Spielberg on E.T. the Extraterrestrial and John Schlesinger on The Falcon and the Snowman. His most frequent collaboration has been with George Clooney on Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Good Night and Good Luck, Leatherheads and The Monuments Men.
Clooney who handed out the award noted that Good Night, and Good Luck, with a budget of $6.5 million is the least expensive film, in inflation-adjusted dollars, ever nominated for an art direction Oscar, jibed: “So what I’m trying to say is, Jim isn’t just the best, he’s cheap. He loves what he does almost as much as we love what he does. And boy do we love what he does.”
For the first time this year, the ADG (IATSE Local 800) handed out Lifetime Achievement Awards to members of the art department with specialized skills:
Camille Abbott was honored for her long career as an illustrator on Annie, Unfaithfully Yours, Spaceballs, Battlestar Galactica and many other projects. Abbott was also the secretary/treasurer for the Illustators and Matte Artists IATSE Local 790.
Will Ferrell was cited for his work as a scenic artist on Funny Girl, Ship of Fools, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and many other movies. For most of his career he worked in tandem with his twin brother, the late Warren Ferrell. Projects for Disneyland included the “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride and “It’s A Small World After All.”
John P. Bruce received his award for his many years as a scenic designer. His television credits include Falcon Crest, The X-Files, Star Trek and Murder, She Wrote. He worked on films such as Armageddon, Ice Station Zebra and The Shoes of the Fisherman.
Three new entrants to the Art Directors Guild Hall of Fame were announced:
John Gabriel Beckman (1898-1989) was art director on such films as The Bad Seed, The Helen Morgan Story and Gypsy. He worked as a scenic artist on Lost Horizon, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon and The Adventures of Robin Hood. Famous decorative projects he worked on include the original Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood and the murals on the interior of the Casino on Catalina Island.
Charles Lisanby (1926-2013) won three Primetime Emmys and another eight Primetime nominations, many for work on golden-age television shows. He did variety shows for Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand. Lisanby also worked as a scenic artist on Broadway shows, Metropolitan Opera presentations, and even clubs. He is known for the mural in the interior of the Friar’s Club in New York City.
Walter H. Tyler (1909-1990) received eight Oscar nominations for art direction. His credits include A Place in the Sun, Roman Holiday, Sabrina, Samson and Delilah, Shane, The Greatest Show on Earth, The Ten Commandments, The Odd Couple and Midway.
The winners of the the 19th annual Art Directors Guild awards:
Guardians of the Galaxy
Production Designer: Charles Wood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Production Designer: Adam Stockhausen
Production Designer: Kevin Thompson
One-Hour Period or Fantasy Single-Camera Television Series
Game of Thrones: “The Laws of Gods and Men,” “The Mountain and the Viper”
Production Designer: Deborah Riley
One-Hour Contemporary Single-Camera Television Series
True Detective: “The Locked Room,” “Form and Void”
Production Designer: Alex DiGerlando
Television Movie or Mini-Series
American Horror Story: Freak Show “Massacres and Matinees”
Production Designer: Mark Worthington
Half Hour Single-Camera Television Series
Silicon Valley: “Articles of Incorporation,” “Signaling Risk,” “Optimal Tip-To-Tip Efficiency”
Production Designer: Richard Toyon
Awards or Event Special
86th Annual Academy Awards
Production Designer: Derek McLane
Multi-Camera Television Series
The Big Bang Theory: “The Locomotive Manipulation,” “The Convention Conundrum,” “The Status Quo Combustion”
Production Designer: John Shaffner
Variety, Competition, Reality, or Game Show Series
Production Designer: Tyler B. Robinson
Short Format: WebSeries, Music Video or Commercial
Production Designer: Sean Hargreaves