The 17th Costume Designers Guild Awards Are Awards Season’s Coolest
February 19, 2015
By Valli Herman
Finally, it was their night to come into the spotlight, the night when Costume Designers can emerge from the wardrobe trailer to be showered with gratitude, glamour and recognition for their artistry. At the 17th Costume Designers Guild Awards with Presenting Sponsor LACOSTE at the Beverly Hilton (Tuesday, Feb. 17), film clips, public speeches and private conversations reflected on the resourceful, determined creative abilities of Costume Designers to turn actors into storytelling characters.
Actress Emmy Rossum, who currently stars in Showtime’s dark comedy series “Shameless,” hosted the gala. Presenters included Jon Voight, Mindy Kaling, Ike Barinholtz, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jonathan Groff, Kiernan Shipka, Betsy Brandt, Tony Hale, Michelle Monaghan and Beau Bridges.
Lauren Dern presented Naomi Watts with the LACOSTE Spotlight Award and explained that her friend and co-star is beloved by Costume Designers, and not just because her mother is one.
As the Guild presented awards for Costume Design Excellence in seven categories for film, television and commercial work, a common theme ran through acceptance speeches and introductions: the importance of costume design to the look, feel and ultimate success of a film, television show or commercial.
As he accepted his Distinguished Collaborator Award from presenter Patricia Arquette, writer, director and producer Richard Linklater acknowledged the unique contributions of Costume Designers such as nominee Kari Perkins, who through the 12-year production of “Boyhood” consistently and accurately costumed the film’s ever-changing cast.
“I don’t know one director who thinks he could be a Costume Designer,” said Linklater. “In other words, we are completely dependent and in awe of your talents.”
In presenting Costume Designer Aggie Guerard Rodgers with the 2015 Career Achievement Award for her outstanding work in film, frequent collaborator Harrison Ford detailed the “stunning, stunning list” of films that Rodgers designed, such as “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Cocoon,” “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure,” “The Witches of Eastwick,” and her Oscar-nominated “The Color Purple.” There are also those that featured Ford: “American Graffiti,” “The Conversation,” “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi,” “More American Graffiti” and “The Fugitive.”
Ford also recalled an anecdote about how in 1974 Rodgers dressed him in a costly, billiard-table-green Brioni suit that got the notice of director Francis Ford Coppola, who had given the young actor only a handful of scenes.
When the director saw him so vividly dressed, “I got four more scenes,” Ford said. “That’s what you people do. A picture is worth a thousand words. A costume is everything,” he said.
From the podium came more such truth-telling. As she accepted the Edith Head Award for the Advancement and Education of the Art of Costume Design, Dr. Deborah Nadoolman Landis commanded the audience to continue Head’s trademark crusade to improve the profile of Costume Designers. During contract negotiations, she urged her colleagues to think, “What would Edith Do?” Landis, who wrote the first doctoral dissertation in the field of cinema costume design, is a historian, two-time Guild president, author and curator of the Victoria & Albert Museum exhibition, “Hollywood Costume.” Her husband, the film director, actor, screenwriter and producer John Landis, presented the award.
The evening was full of trademark good humor, as well. When Ferguson, of “Modern Family,” announced that Costume Designer Jenny Eagan’s work on “True Detective” had won for Outstanding Contemporary Television Series, she was nowhere to be found. Ferguson improvised a soulful tune, “Long Walk to the Stage,” as Eagan, elegantly dressed in a vintage raspberry Madame Gres gown, accepted her trophy.
“That was absolutely horrifying,” Eagan confessed. “I’m so embarrassed. I mean, it’s my first time here and it’s amazing to be in this room with so many people I’ve admired my whole life.”
The expertly dressed crowd glittered nearly as much as the tablecloths, covered in tiny black sequins and accessorized with black satin napkins that had attendees reflexively draping and refashioning them as lapels, mini shawls and ties. As he left the stage, Linklater reaffirmed the widely held belief that the CDG Awards are “the awards’ season’s coolest.”
“I just have one question,” he said. “Can I keep the tablecloth?”
The 17th Costume Designers Guild Awards were presented in the following categories to seven individuals, below:
OUTSTANDING MADE FOR TELEVISION MOVIE OR MINI SERIES
American Horror Story: Freak Show – Lou Eyrich
OUTSTANDING PERIOD/FANTASY TELEVISION SERIES
Game of Thrones – Michele Clapton
OUTSTANDING CONTEMPORARY TELEVISION SERIES
True Detective – Jenny Eagan
EXCELLENCE IN COMMERCIAL COSTUME DESIGN
Army ‘Defy Expectations, Villagers’ – Christopher Lawrence
EXCELLENCE IN FANTASY FILM
Into the Woods – Colleen Atwood
EXCELLENCE IN PERIOD FILM
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Milena Canonero
EXCELLENCE IN CONTEMPORARY FILM
Birdman – Albert Wolsky
*See the Costume Designers Guild Facebook page for a full 17th CDGA photo gallery.