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Clooney, Benjamin Deliver Goods At 17th Annual ADG Awards

Comic Owen Benjamin entertains the crowd at the 19th Annual Art Directors Guild.

By : Marjorie Galas

Less than 24 hours before the New England Patriots were crowned the 2015 Super Bowl champs, comic Owen Benjamin recognized the big game during the 17th Annual Art Directors Guild Awards. Returning to host the event for a second consecutive year, Benjamin compared art directors to offensive line backers; claiming the artisans do the gritty work that allows a production to pass into the story’s world.

Benjamin kept the show’s pace lively and mood lifted with intermittent riffing on football, inconsiderate drivers and poor spelling on cue cards. In addition to presenting a song that honored the evening’s top honorees for films including “Birdman”, “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “True Detective” Benjamin also ad libbed a piano concerto while waiting on a snafu that occurred during the clip segment of the one hour single-camera series award announcement.

Adding to the evening’s merriment and festivities were the addition of Lifetime Achievement Awards presented to Illustrator Camille Abbott, scenic artist Will Ferrell, set decorator John P. Bruce, and three inductees to the Art Directors Guild Hall of Fame: John Gabriel Beckmean, Charles Lisanby and Walter H. Tyler. Marking the ADG’s dedication to include all facets of the art and production design teams, the evening’s special awards were the first time illustrators, scenic artist, and set decorators had distinct honors bestowed during the ceremony. Family members of those inductees now deceased were in attendance to honor their memory.

George Clooney welcomed Lifetime Achievement Award recipient (and frequent production designer collaborator) Jim Bissell to the stage to receive his award. Clooney recalled his first meeting with the production designer to discuss layout for “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” -“late night at a hotel bar, where Jim sat drawing scenes on cocktail napkins.” Upon receiving his award, Bissell stated “I feel like I’ve jumped queue a bit by getting a lifetime achievement award. I’m only 63. Maybe I’ll get another one in 63 more years!”

The following is a complete list of the evening’s winners:

Period Film

Fantasy Film

Contemporary Film
BIRDMAN – Production Designer: KEVIN THOMPSON

One-Hour Period or Fantasy Single-Camera Television Series
GAME OF THRONES: “The Laws of Gods and Men,” “The Mountain and the Viper” – Production Designer: DEBORAH RILEY

One-Hour Contemporary Single-Camera Television Series
TRUE DETECTIVE: “The Locked Room,” “Form and Void” – Production Designer: ALEX DiGERLANDO

Television Movie or Mini-Series
AMERICAN HORROR STORY: FREAK SHOW: “Massacres and Matinees” – Production Designer: MARK WORTHINGTON

Half Hour Single-Camera Television Series
SILICON VALLEY: “Articles of Incorporation,” “Signaling Risk,” “Optimal Tip-To-Tip Efficiency” – Production Designer: RICHARD TOYON

Multi-Camera Television Series
THE BIG BANG THEORY: “The Locomotive Manipulation,” “The Convention Conundrum,” “The Status Quo Combustion” – Production Designer: JOHN SHAFFNER

Awards or Event Special
86th ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDS – Production Designer: DEREK McLANE

Short Format: WebSeries, Music Video or Commercial
APPLE: “Perspective” – Production Designer: SEAN HARGREAVES

Variety, Competition, Reality, or Game Show Series
PORTLANDIA: “Celery” – Production Designer: TYLER B. ROBINSON