Casting Directors Honor 'Argo,' 'Homeland' and 'Casting By' at Artios Awards

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The documentary also recaps Dougherty’s struggle to get her first single-card title credit — on Hill’s "Slaughterhouse-Five" (1972).

The Casting Society of America hosted the 29th annual Artios Awards, which recognize the year's top casting directors, at simultaneous dinner ceremonies at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills and at the XL Nightclub, Cabaret & Lounge in New York on Monday night. And while the honorees at the Aisha Tyler-hosted L.A. event included the casting directors of Warner Bros.' film Argo (nine months after the Oscars ceremony at which it was celebrated) and Showtime's television series Homeland (more than a year after the Emmys at which it was celebrated), the biggest applause of the night -- a standing ovation -- was reserved for the makers of the 2013 Oscar-eligible documentary Casting By, which helped to call so much attention to the importance of what casting directors do that the Academy eventually agreed to create a casting directors branch.

The festivities got underway with a song-and-dance number that was largely drowned out by the noisy crowd of casting directors, who were eager to mingle with one another at their big night of the year. Then, CSA president Richard Hicks took the stage and recapped "a great year" for casting directors, including the achievement of "branch status" at the Academy, which he said was "a sign that perceptions are beginning to change -- we thank you, Academy." He then acknowledged Casting By, calling it "a beautiful gift" to the memory of its principal subject, the late Marion Dougherty, and all members of the profession. "If we're lucky," he continued, "it might just get nominated for an Oscar."

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Hicks later returned to the stage to present a special award to the Casting By team, which worked on the film for seven years, calling it "the must-see documentary for anyone interested in the casting process" and adding, "It's a wonderful feeling to know how much care you took to tell our story." Director Tom Donahue was unable to attend, but producers Kate Lacey and Joanna Colbert were on hand to deliver an acceptance speech. "It was an honor," Lacey said. "You needed to have this light shined on you."

Kerry Washington then oversaw the presentation of the Hoyt Bowers Award to casting director Linda Lowy of Linda Lowy Casting. During a pre-introduction video reel, Shonda Rhimes spoke about how invaluable Lowy's input was to casting Grey's Anatomy and Scandal, which feature two of the more diverse casts in television history. Grey's stars Sandra Oh and Chandra Wilson appeared together in one clip, with Oh saying, "Look at our faces: different," adding that Lowy "changed the game." In another, Peter Berg, with whom Lowy worked on the TV series Friday Night Lights and the new film Lone Survivor, said he could never have made either without her. And, in yet another clip, Julia Louis-Dreyfus said that she is "forever indebted" to Lowy for helping to cast her short film Picture Paris.

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Lowy received a standing ovation when she stepped up to the mic. She acknowledged her aforementioned collaborators (receiving laughs when she said of Rhimes, "I honestly don't know where I'd be without Shonda Rhimes; I'd probably be at home, and most likely not the home I currently live in") and her coworkers. She also hailed the makers of Casting By, which she said, as someone who was mentored by someone who was mentored by Dougherty, was "a beautiful doc that sets the record straight." She added that as a result of it, "We are no longer unsung, uncelebrated and unheralded -- in fact, we can cross the word 'un' out!" She also called on the next generation of casting directors to go to the theater, learn about film history and read, because, she said, "I'm seeing these things fade."

Later in the show, Nina Tassler, formerly of Lorimar Productions and Warner Bros. and now the president of CBS Entertainment, was presented with the Career Achievement Award by Marg Helgenberger, who recently left the CBS show CSI after "12 of the happiest years of my life," which she said she owed to Tassler. Tassler, who started as an actress before reading about a casting call and meeting a casting director for the first time, paid particular thanks to CBS president Leslie Moonves, "to whom I basically, essentially owe everything," she said.

Meanwhile, in New York, Michael J. Fox was presented with the CSA's New York Apple Award.

As for the night's competitive awards, presenters included The Way Way Back's Liam James, Fruitvale Station's Michael B. Jordan, House of Cards' Constance Zimmer and Prisoners' Jake Gyllenhaal. Gyllenhaal prefaced his presentation by thanking everyone in the room "on behalf of me, my sister [the actress Maggie Gyllenhaal], my brother-in-law, who's an actor [Peter Sarsgaard], my mother and my father," adding, "We could not have done it without you." Then, less seriously, he added, "It's actually really wonderful to see casting directors get up here and be more nervous than I've ever seen them. Now you know how we feel!"

A full list of Artios winners follows after the jump.Big Budget Feature – Comedy: “Silver Linings Playbook,” Mary Vernieu, Lindsay Graham, Diane Heery (Location Casting), Jason Loftus (Location Casting)

Big Budget Feature – Drama: “Argo,” Lora Kennedy

Feature – Studio or Independent  – Comedy: “Moonrise Kingdom,” Douglas Aibel, Henry Russell Bergstein (Associate)

Feature – Studio or Independent – Drama: “Mud,” Francine Maisler, Diana Guthrie (Location Casting)

Low Budget Feature – Comedy or Drama: “The Sessions,” Ronnie Yeskel

Animation Feature: “Wreck-It Ralph,” Jamie Sparer Roberts

Short Film: “The Learning Curve,” Kendra Patterson 

Television Pilot Comedy: “The Mindy Project,” Felicia Fasano

Television Pilot Drama: “House of Cards,” Laray Mayfield

Television Series Comedy: “Girls,” Jennifer Euston

Television Series Drama: Homeland, Judy Henderson, Lisa Mae Fincannon (Location Casting), Craig Fincannon (Location Casting)

Television Movie or Miniseries: Behind the Candelabra, Carmen Cuba, Wittney Horton (Associate)

Daytime Drama Series: The Young and the Restless, Judy Blye Wilson

Children’s Series: iCarly, Krisha Bullock, Jennifer K.M. Treadwell (Associate)

Television Animation: Family Guy, Linda Lamontagne

New York Broadway Theatre – Comedy: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Daniel Swee

New York Broadway Theatre – Drama: Golden Boy, Daniel Swee

New York Broadway Theatre – Musical: Kinky Boots, Bernard Telsey, Justin Huff

New York Theatre – Comedy or Musical: The Madrid, David Caparelliotis

New York Theatre – Drama: If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet, Jim Carnahan

Regional Theatre East: The Glass Menagerie, Jim Carnahan, Stephen Kopel

Regional Theatre West: Pygmalion, David Caparelliotis

Los Angeles Theatre: Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Joanne DeNaut, Andy Crocker (Associate)

Special Theatrical Performance East: Carousel, Jay Binder, Jack Bowdan

Special Theatrical Performance West: The Book of Mormon, Carrie Gardner

Twitter: @ScottFeinberg