Costume Designers Guild Awards: Jacqueline Durran Wins For ‘Anna Karenina’, Eiko Ishioka For ‘Mirror Mirror’, Jany Temime For ‘Skyfall’; TV Winners ‘Smash’, ‘AHS: Asylum’, ‘Downton Abbey’

Deadline’s Jen Yamato and contributor Ross Lincoln provided on-scene coverage tonight.

Costume Designers Guild Awards 2013Anna Karenina‘s Jacqueline Durran and Mirror Mirror‘s Eiko Ishioka vaulted to frontrunner status for this year’s Best Costume Design Oscar by taking home top awards tonight at the 15th annual Costume Designers Guild Awards. Durran won the Outstanding Period Film Award, while Ishioka posthumously scored the Outstanding Fantasy Film nod. “One can only do great work if one is given a great opportunity”, Durran said in accepting her honor. Skyfall‘s Jany Temime took the third film award of the night for Outstanding Contemporary Film.

Other Oscar nominees on the shortlists tonight in the Beverly Hilton-set ceremony included Les Miserables‘ Paco Delgado, who in a pre-ceremony shout-out lamented Argo‘s Jacqueline West missing out on an Academy Award nom — “Argo had a vision of the ’70s I thought was so real, it’s a pity they didn’t get an acknowledgement”; Lincoln‘s Joanna Johnston; and Colleen Atwood for Snow White And The Huntsman.

On the TV side, Downton Abbey‘s Caroline McCall won the Period/Fantasy TV Series category, Lou Eyrich of American Horror Story: Asylum took the Television Movie or Miniseries trophy and Smash costume designer Molly Maginnis won for Contemporary TV Series. The night also featured Career Achievement Awards for Eduardo Castro (TV) and Judianna Makovsky (film), who also took the Commercial Costume Design award in addition to being nominated in the Fantasy category for The Hunger Games.

In other awards, Saturday Night Live boss Lorne Michaels received the guild’s Distinguished Collaborator Award after being introduced by SNL alums Steve Martin, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph. Martin was spot-on in his stand-up intro, saying among other things about the CDG plaque he received: “Many men want a trophy wife, but no one wants a plaque wife.” Anne Hathaway was presented with the Lacoste Spotlight Award by her Les Miserables co-star Russell Crowe. “Some of the fondest memories of my life are… not the fittings, no!… but the results of the fittings,” she said. “Being pinned and needled, but you look down and you believe what you’re wearing, and when you look up, you are gone, and the character can come alive.”

Among presenters that also included Mirror Mirror star Lily Collins accepting Ishioka’s award, Shirley MacLaine delivered a hilarious series of zings in presenting the Period Film award won by Durran. “I purposefully want to be here to tonight to pay tribute to…all of you people who mess with your bodies and force you to stand still for hours, and also to balance my karma with you. I know I’ve been causing you a lot of grief for 65 fucking years,” she said to laughter. She then went on: “I’m here to present the… the…” — at this point pretending to forget — “the Period award! Sorry, its been so long”. Read More »

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OSCARS: Handicapping Best Score

By | Monday February 18, 2013 @ 6:00pm PST

David Mermelstein is an AwardsLine contributor

Leaving artistic issues aside, you could—at first glance—say that the competition for best original score isn’t a fair fight this year. Three of the nominees—Mychael Danna (Life Of Pi), Alexandre Desplat (Argo), and Thomas Newman (Skyfall)—have never won an Oscar, and one of them (Danna) is enjoying his first nomination. Dario Marianelli won once before, but his nom for Anna Karenina is only his third. So who’s the heavyweight in the ring? None other than John Williams (Lincoln), who has won five Oscars for original score, as well as one for adapted score.

Williams is basking in his 39th nomination for original score. His first was for The Reivers (1969), starring Steve McQueen. His closest competitor within this group is Newman, who is savoring his ninth nom since 1994, when he earned two—for Little Women and The Shawshank Redemption. Desplat is suiting up for his fifth round since 2006, when The Queen first brought him close to Oscar gold. Read More »

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OSCARS: ‘Anna Karenina’ Production Design

By | Saturday February 16, 2013 @ 1:58pm PST

Diane Haithman is an AwardsLine contributor

The Anna Karenina design team had to switch gears fast when director Joe Wright decided to set Anna’s oppressive high-society world inside a theater instead of shooting on location in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Money talked; location shooting would have blasted the film’s modest $31 million budget. Production designers had only 12 weeks to create interior and exterior “locations” that could exist within the confines of a theater set. In this stylized approach, the movie audience is aware of the theater, but the movie characters are not. The walls around Anna become literal, not figurative. “A Rubik’s Cube is often how we described this film: You’d twist it and then, suddenly, you’d twist it again, and it would just fall apart in your mind”, says production designer Sarah Greenwood. “You’re not just making pretty pictures here; you are telling a very big story”. Greenwood and set decorator Katie Spencer talk about putting together the puzzle of the living room set for the Moscow home of Oblonsky, Anna’s brother. 1) This scale model of the Oblonsky house stands inside the larger Oblonsky living room set, which in turn stands inside the larger theater set. Designers liken the layers of interiors (and meaning) to Russian nesting dolls. Read More »

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CAA Signs Keira Knightley

By | Thursday February 14, 2013 @ 12:09pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: CAA has just signed Keira Knightley. The actress is coming off the Joe Wright-directed Anna Karenina, and next stars opposite Chris Pine in the franchise reboot Jack Ryan, and in the John Carney-directed Can Read More »

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OSCARS: Cinematographers On Creating The Right Imagery

By | Friday February 8, 2013 @ 8:00pm PST

Thomas J. McLean is an AwardsLine contributor

In a year filled with remarkable imagery, the work of the Oscar-nominated cinematographers stands out as integral to the success of the movies they shot.

The nominees bring broad experience to their films. Seamus … Read More »

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Art Directors Guild Awards: ‘Skyfall’ Best Contemporary Film, Fantasy Film To ‘Life Of Pi’, Period Film ‘Anna Karenina’; Also ‘Game Of Thrones’, ‘American Horror Story: Asylum’, ‘Girls’, 84th Oscars, ‘SNL’

By | Saturday February 2, 2013 @ 7:42pm PST

Art Directors Guild Awards 2013 WinnersSkyfall and James Bond were the big winners tonight as the Art Directors Guild handed out its 17th Annual Excellence in Production Design Awards for 2012. Unlike the Academy, the ADG divides production design for film honors into in three distinct categories — Period Film, Fantasy Film, and Contemporary Film — allowing Oscar rivals Anna Karenina and Life Of Pi to both take home top trophies. Meanwhile, Skyfall and its production designer Dennis Gassner took the Contemporary Film honors during the awards Art Directors Guild Awards 2013ceremony at the Beverly Hilton hosted by Paula Poundstone, who kept the stylish below-the-line crowd rolling with trade-oriented zingers throughout the night. (The ADG loves her — it’s Poundstone’s fourth consecutive year doing her outsider stand-up comic routine as emcee.)

Earlier in the evening, the Bond franchise’s production gurus Gassner, Ken Adam, Peter Lamont, and Allan Cameron were honored with the guild’s Cinematic Imagery Award, recognizing the longest-running franchise in film history for its visionary and innovative design. Gassner called the franchise “the greatest privilege of my life and career”. The only person to take the stage twice tonight, he joined the Bond team as production designer on Quantum Of Solace and Skyfall and is working on the next Daniel Craig-starring sequel, Bond 24. “It’s a joy to be able to work with such good people,” he said from the podium after winning the final award of the night, “because it’s such hard work.”

It won’t be the last we hear from Bond this awards season: the Academy plans its own tribute to the franchise, and Adele is singing the Skyfall theme, during the Oscarcast on February 24.

Art Directors Guild Awards 2013In other top honors tonight, production designer Sarah Greenwood staked her claim as the Oscar frontrunner, winning the Period Film prize for Anna Karenina, and David Gropman won the Fantasy Film award for Life Of Pi. Both brought their considerable crews onstage with them. “No designer acts by himself, so I thank my fantastic crew that helped me on this journey”, Gropman said.

Before the show, four-time Oscar nominee Greenwood spoke with Deadline about her ADG and Academy Award nominations for Anna Karenina (she won her first ADG award for 2010′s Sherlock Holmes): “I get more nervous [with each nominated film]. The first time we came out we had no idea what this was all about. You come in like an ingenue and you’re very naive. Now you come out and it’s quite scary, you’ve really got to keep it up. We always said Anna Karenina was a ‘marmite film’ — you either love it or hate it. And the reactions have been quite profound. People either got it, or they haven’t got it, and that’s fine. Joe had a very strong vision for this and we followed it through.”

Awards in nine categories of production design for film, television, commercials and music videos were announced during the evening, which saw Star Trek production designer and art director Herman Zimmerman receive the guild’s Art Directors Guild Awards 2013Lifetime Achievement Award. Family Guy creator (and Oscars 2013 host) Seth MacFarlane spoke of Zimmerman’s Star Trek legacy in a taped video: “Herman Zimmerman deserves a lot of credit that I don’t think he’s ever received for creating what is the most original production design for a spaceship that we’ve ever seen in the modern era of filmmaking.” The guild also enshrined Preston Ames, Richard MacDonald, and Edward S. Stephenson into the Hall Of Fame.

On the TV side, Saturday Night Live and the Academy Awards were repeat winners, while Girls (Judy Becker), Game Of Thrones (Gemma Jackson) and American Horror Story: Asylum (Mark Worthington) also scored. Following is a complete list of winners:

17th Annual Excellence in Production Design Awards

Contemporary Film
SKYFALL
Production Designer: Dennis Gassner

Gassner previously won the Oscar for his work on Bugsy the same year he earned an Oscar nomination for Barton Fink. He is a man of few words but has the presence of mind to add a last important thank you before he departs the dais: “Thank you to David Gersh, my agent.”

Fantasy Film
LIFE OF PI
Production Designer: David Gropman

Period Film
ANNA KARENINA
Production Designer: Sarah Greenwood Read More »

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OSCARS Q&A: Tom Stoppard

By | Monday December 17, 2012 @ 5:00pm PST
Pete Hammond

At age 75, Tom Stoppard is still at the top of his game, and still seeking new challenges in film, television, and stage. The legendary writer responsible for such original theatrical experiences as Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead, Arcadia, The Invention Of Love, The Real Thing, and Coast Of Utopia has also made his mark with a slew of memorable movies including Brazil, Empire Of The Sun, Billy Bathgate, and his Oscar-winning script for Shakespeare In Love (co-written with Marc Norman). Now he is partnering, so to speak, with Leo Tolstoy on a risky but thrilling new version of the Russian classic AnnaKarenina. Though there are many film and TV versions already in existence, Stoppard was frightened by the prospect of following in their footsteps yet he embraced it.

AwardsLine: Why did you want to take on Anna Karenina? It’s a very ambitious project.
Tom Stoppard: I had no thought about it until I was asked whether I would be interested in doing it with Joe Wright, and I was immediately interested in it. You don’t often get a proposal to do Tolstoy for a really interesting director—that’s easy to say yes to. Read More »

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OSCARS: ‘Anna Karenina’ Score

By | Wednesday December 5, 2012 @ 8:00pm PST

David Mermelstein is an AwardsLine contributor.

For Dario Marianelli, who has scored all but one of Joe Wright’s five films, Anna Karenina presented exciting challenges. Wright’s fragmented telling of Tolstoy’s great novel afforded the composer new opportunities for musical expression—even as the film hewed to the story’s period setting.

“There were huge opportunities by the film not being literal,” says Marianelli, who recently spoke by phone from England. “But because those opportunities were opened up, they had to be taken, and that’s hard work. I can’t remember a film where I worked so hard and so long. For more than a year, on and off.”

Beyond that, Wright’s film was heavily choreographed, so Marianelli’s music had to be ready especially early. “It was a lot of work up front, written before the script was even finished, particularly the two waltzes. I had to write them first, then adjust them when they were shot and then adjust them again during the editing. It was an inordinate amount of work, but all worth it.”

Related: OSCARS: Filmmakers Say ‘Anna Karenina’ Was A Calculated Risk Read More »

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OSCARS Q&A: Keira Knightley

By | Thursday November 22, 2012 @ 9:00pm PST

Diane Haithman is an AwardsLine contributor.

Once director Joe Wright and London-based Working Title Productions selected Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina to complete the literary adaptation trilogy begun with 2005’s Pride & Prejudice and 2007’s Atonement, the next step was … Read More »

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OSCARS: Filmmakers Say ‘Anna Karenina’ Was A Calculated Risk

By | Tuesday November 20, 2012 @ 12:53am PST

Diane Haithman is an AwardsLine contributor.

The British are famous for understatement, and to call early reviews for English director Joe Wright’s new take on Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina “mixed” is indeed an understatement.

The movie, produced by London-based Working Title Productions (Atonement, Pride & Prejudice) and distributed domestically by Focus Features, arrived for its world premiere at September’s Toronto International Film Festival with an impressive awards-season pedigree. Anna Karenina reunites Wright with Keira Knightley, who also starred in Atonement and netted an Oscar nomination for Pride & Prejudice. Jude Law portrays Anna’s cuckolded husband Karenin, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson is Count Vronsky. (Working Title also produced the upcoming Christmas movie musical Les Misérables, for Focus parent company Universal).

Related: ‘Anna Karenina’s Risky New Version

Anna Karenina has the added cachet of a script adapted by venerable British playwright Sir Tom Stoppard (Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, the Oscar-winning screenplay for Shakespeare in Love), who Wright says wrote the Anna script in longhand.

In Toronto, Anna Karenina had Cleveland Plain Dealer film critic Clint O’Connor turning somersaults, calling the film “a stunning production, something akin to a grand dance.” But The New York Times’ Manohla Dargis attacked the film as “a travesty with a miscast Keira Knightley that is tragic only in its conceptions and execution.” The Chicago Tribune’s Michael Phillips split his own review down the middle: “Anna Karenina only half-works; Wright forces the comedy more subtly managed by Stoppard (who is, after all, one of the wittiest men alive). But it’s trying something.”

And “trying something” seems to be the goal, say three key members of the team behind this $31-million effort: Wright, Knightley, and producer Tim Bevan of Working Title.  Read More »

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Specialty Box Office: ‘Silver Linings Playbook’, ‘Anna Karenina’ Shine In Debuts

By | Sunday November 18, 2012 @ 9:35am PST

Brian Brooks is Managing Editor of MovieLine.

The Specialty market received a shot in the arm with the debuts of TWC’s Silver Linings Playbook and Focus Features’ Anna Karenina. Both Oscar contenders bowed at 16 theaters and scored well with audiences. Playbook won the numbers game with a robust $28,652 per theater average. In the overall box office, it came in second only to Breaking Dawn Part 2 in terms of theater average. Anna Karenina had a $19,712 PTA, also a very solid start for the Joe Wright-directed feature that has accumulated nearly $10.6 million in foreign B.O. to date. IFC Films’ Parker Posey starrer Price Check, meanwhile, opened more tepidly with a $2,300 average at IFC Center. The film played a smaller theater at the downtown Manhattan venue although most seats were filled. Filmmaker Michael Walker was on-hand for post-screening Q&As. The filmmakers will continue to tour with Price Check, which is currently available on VOD and iTunes, with stops in San Francisco next weekend and Austin on November 30.
Read More »

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Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Anna Karenina,’ ‘Silver Linings Playbook’, ‘Price Check’, ‘Mea Culpa Maxima’ & More

By | Thursday November 15, 2012 @ 9:28pm PST

Brian Brooks is Managing Editor of MovieLine.

More Oscar contenders are lined up at the specialty gate this weekend, most notably The Weinstein Company’s The Silver Linings Playbook, whose strategy has evolved in the run-up to Friday’s launch. The title will start with a handful of bookings before expanding gradually into wide release. Focus Features’ hopeful Anna Karenina will also hit the same number of cinemas in its initial outing, targeting women and the art-house crowd. Oscar-winning documentarian Alex Gibney’s Mea Culpa Maxima: Silence In The House Of God will open in NYC and LA before HBO takes it to the network. Also opening is IFC Films’ Parker Posey starrer Price Check which IFC picked up last spring, and Rialto is spearheading a relaunch of the digitally restored 1951 classic, The Man In The White Suit.

Anna Karenina
Director: Joe Wright
Writers: Tom Stoppard (screenplay), Leo Tolstoy (novel)
Cast: Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Taylor-Johnson
Distributor: Focus Features

A dozen remakes have tackled Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel of the same title. This one is distinguished with large portions of the action taking place as if on a stage. Director Joe Wright said that he came up with the idea only weeks before the shoot was set to begin. He admitted the decision threw the production into a frenzy but he decided it would be the best course creatively and for the bottom line. “A lot of the budget was being spent on hotels and travel and all this stuff that the audience is never going to get to see … And I thought, if I could set this film in one place, where would it be? I was reminded of Orlando Figes’ book Natasha’s Dance: A Cultural History of Russia, in which he talks about Russian society as if they lived upon a stage.” Read More »

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Focused On ‘Promised Land’: Will 2012′s Last Film Be A Major Contender?

Pete Hammond

Not to be outdone by aggressive campaigning from its rivals, Focus Features this week moved boldly ahead with an Oscar campaign plan on two fronts for Friday’s release of Anna Kareninawhich had its L.A. premiere last night, and its late-breaking December 28th entry, Promised Land, which is launching its awards bid with some private screenings for some very big heavy hitters.

Regarding the latter film, what do you do when you are the very last major movie of the year? Director Gus Van Sant only delivered the final cut of the film in the past two weeks, and knowing they are under the gun in getting this one seen in time for the earlier Academy voting (now taking place ten days earlier than usual with ballots in the mail December 17 and due back January 3rd), Focus is trying to get the word out within the industry. So before even showing it to most of the press they began an early “influencer” campaign that has featured private screenings and receptions at the plush theatre inside L.A.’s Soho House. Tuesday night Cameron Crowe held one with guests including Meryl Streep, Sam Mendes, Colin Firth, Kate Hudson, Ben Affleck (coming over after getting his GQ man of the year award) and other academy voters who were able to mingle with star and co-writer (with John Krasinski) Matt Damon. Earlier in November Aaron Sorkin hosted a similar screening that drew Demi Moore, Jennifer Aniston and SAG President Ken Howard among others. Read More »

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Toronto: ‘Anna Karenina’ Risky New Version Receives Standing Ovation Opening Night

Pete Hammond

Tolstoy as re-imagined by Joe Wright and Tom Stoppard came to the Toronto International Film Festival in a big way Friday night as Focus Features’ adaptation of Anna Karenina made its North American debut. “They gave us a nice little standing ovation,” said a modest Wright who told me at the Soho House after-party this film means so much to him that he doesn’t know how he is going to follow it. He had great success early in his directing career with Oscar nominees like Pride & Prejudice and Atonement (which both featured his Anna Karenina star Keira Knightley) but then detoured to different kinds of films like The Soloist and action flick Hanna. Now that he’s back in this literary space he can appreciate the success more, he says.

Related: Toronto Oscar Talk: Ben Affleck’s ‘Argo’ And Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘The Master’

Wright came up with the concept of staging the story in a theatre and then moving it in and out of that setting. It’s a unique and risky idea but really pays off in the execution. As Focus Features chief James Schamus told me, “This film is ravishing to look at.” A couple of critics have been naysayers but Schamus isn’t concerned about them. He says most will get it. Schamus plans an aggressive platform release strategy after the November 16th opening and should be relatively wide by December. Focus hopes it will draw upscale audiences who flock to this sort of thing but also younger women who may relate to the plight of Anna and the young actors cast here. It premiered in England earlier in the week and opens there this weekend.

Related: ‘Looper’, ‘On The Road’, Marion Cotillard Kick Off Festival Packed With Oscar Hopefuls

This Anna Karenina certainly is a lot different than the version MGM and Greta Garbo served up in the 1930s. Wright’s bold concept of losing some of the naturalism and putting it in a theatrical setting wasn’t in Stoppard’s script – and he had to convince the writer it was the way to go. But in the end it all worked out. He said the premiere at Toronto’s classic Elgin theatre was almost surreal since it looked like the theatre-in-the-film-in-a-theatre. It’s an instant contender for a Best Picture, Director and Screenplay slot. Knightley’s go-for-broke work is likely to land her in the Best Actress race again, and producers also hope Jude Law as her husband gets attention in the supporting category. Pic also can easily expect Oscar nominations in numerous categories including the cinematography of  Seamus McGarvey, production design of Sarah Greenwood, costume design of Jacqueline Durran, and musical score of Dario Marianelli (who is already an Oscar winner for Atonement). Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Anna Karenina’

By | Wednesday June 20, 2012 @ 12:05pm PDT

Keira Knightley and Joe Wright reteam for a third time on Anna Karenina, which Focus Features will release in select cities November 9. It’s got a pretty stellar team: adapted by Tom Stoppard and co-starring Aaron Johnson, Jude Law, Matthew Macfadyen, Kelly Macdonald, Ruth Wilson, Olivia Williams, and … Read More »

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