Costume Designer and Art Director Take Awards

Costume Designer and Art Director Take Awards
The winners of the 80th Academy Awards have been announced. Much attention has been given to the actors and actresses, but without the costume designer and art director, the show would not go on.

If you have ever seen the opening scene from "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (1961) you will undoubtedly remember Audrey Hepburn stepping out of a taxi on Fifth Avenue, holding a Shrafft's bakery bag and coffee, while window shopping at the New York jeweler. But what is so memorable is the black Givenchy gown, white wrap, pearls, and long black gloves worn by Miss Hepburn. Voila! Now you see the importance of the costume designer.

The winner for "Achievement in Costume Design"..."May I have the envelope please"...is Alexandra Byrne for "Elizabeth: The Golden Age."

Ms. Byrne is a theatrical designer who worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company in the UK. She also worked with Kenneth Branagh on his theatrical directing debut in "Life of Napoleon." Undoubtedly her experience with period costumes won her this year's Oscar.

Another category that I found to be almost as interesting as "Best Picture" or "Best Actor" was "Achievement in Art Direction." This year the award went to the husband and wife team of Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo for "Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street."

This was the ninth nomination for the Italian born Ferretti, the last being "The Aviator" (2004). His other Oscar nominations have been for Martin Scorsese's "The Age of Innocence" (1993) and "Casino" (1995) as well as Neil Jordan's "Interview With the Vampire" (1994).

Other motion pictures credited to Ferretti as art director are: "The Black Dahlia" (2006), "Cold Mountain" (2003), and "Gangs of New York" (2002). He has worn many hats as production designer, art director, and stage designer.

The artistic expression of both the costume designer and art director begins with a sketch as the concept, which is then executed as the costumes and stage sets with the use of cloth and props respectively. I think both professions are admirable and should be recognized accordingly.

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