'No Country' designs win

Joins 'Blood' in ADG prod'n nods

"No Country for Old Men" continued its winning streak Saturday night at the Art Directors Guild's 12th annual Awards for Excellence in Production Design as its production designer, Jess Gonchor, took home the honors for best contemporary film.

"There Will Be Blood," with production design by Jack Fisk, took the prize for period film, while "The Golden Compass," with production design by Dennis Gassner, scored in the fantasy film category.

Gonchor thanked the guild for acknowledging that "you just don't go into the desert and shoot something. It's so much more involved."

ADG chairman Tom Walsh kicked off the evening with a toast to legendary art director Robert Boyle, whose credits include "North by Northwest" and "The Birds" and who is set to receive an honorary Academy Award at Sunday's Oscars. Walsh also congratulated the evening's nominees, noting that an art director's job is "translating the writer's word and the director's vision." Hosted by Harry Shearer, the awards took place at the Beverly Hilton's International Ballroom.

"I want to thank the Golden Globes people for leaving their set. Eventually it was going to be used, and here we are," quipped Shearer to hearty laughter in reference to the table centerpieces and the design created for the ADG ceremony by John Janavs. "The writers union just scored a major victory against huge multinational corporations," Shearer said, "and the auto workers are using their layoff time to write spec scripts."

Veteran British production designer Stuart Craig, who has worked on all the "Harry Potter" movies, was presented with a lifetime achievement award. "This award is great, not because it flatters the ego but because it's part of a succession process. The old ones acknowledged by the up-and-coming generation … the process of handing down skills, knowledge and experience," Craig said.

Author Ray Bradbury, appearing onstage to a standing ovation, presented an Outstanding Contribution to Cinematic Imagery award to Ray Harryhausen, the pioneering visual effects artist whose work work includes "Jason and the Argonauts," "One Million Years B.C." and "Clash of the Titans."

Longtime friends who bonded over their mutual love of fantasy and creatures, Bradbury said that Harryhausen "loved dinosaurs and 'King Kong' as much as I did. We became best friends."

Harryhausen was escorted to the stage, also to a standing ovation. "I never thought starting in my garage making fairy tales for children would lead to this," Harryhausen said. Making films for "many years before dimensional animation was ever recognized, I'm grateful that our pictures seem to mean more to people today. I get many fan letters saying they prefer our type of animation with three-dimensional characters over the computer (animation)," he said to a wave of cheers. "We did it the hard way."

The ADG's 2008 Hall of Fame inductees included Edward Carfagno, Stephen Grimes, Dale Hennesy, James Trittipo and Lyle Wheeler.

On the TV side, "Mad Men" won for excellence in production design for an episode of a single-camera television series for the episode "Shoot," with production design by Dan Bishop.

The prize for an awards show, variety, music special or nonfiction went to Janavs for an episode of the reality show "Hell's Kitchen."

The TV movie/miniseries winner was "PU 239" and production designer Tom Meyer.

Awards also went to "Mad TV" production designer John Sabato for multicamera TV series and "Budweiser: Space Station" production designer Jeremy Reed in the commercial category.

In addition to the production designers, awards in each category also recognized the art director and assisstant art director for each of the winners.
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