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Special Awards Steal Show At 18th Annual CDG Awards

Cate Blanchett receiving Spotlight Award at the 18th Annual Costume Designers Guild Awards

By: Marjorie Galas

Actress Betsy Brandt kicked off the 18th Annual Costume Designers Guild Awards by paying tribute to every member of the costume department, from dyers to seamstresses, from cutters to embroiderers.  Noting the CDGs were more than an organization of costume designers, the star known for her work on “Life in Pieces” and “Breaking Bad” emphasized the actors would be nothing without the teams that make decisions about their wardrobes.

“They are the people that know what my character would wear after she finds out her husband’s been shot in the middle of the desert by some thugs Bryan Craston’s been hanging around with,” joked Brandt.  Before leaving the stage, she somberly added, “We wear our hearts on your sleaves, so think you for all that you do.”

Hearts went out in full to Edwina Pellikka, a master dyer who received the CDG’s Distinguished Service Award.  Salvador Perez, president of the guild, recalled his first experience with Pellikka – he was tasked in capturing the exact same shade of champagne beige featured in a period phone.

“I was extremely embarrassed, knowing the request was ridiculous,” said Perez.  “Edwina looked at me and said, ‘Come back in three days.’  She perfectly matched it, and it was the start of a very long friendship.”

A painter who received her training with the Royal London Theater, Pellikka first worked with Western Costume when she relocated to Los Angeles.  Before long, she moved into a small shop in Burbank and successfully ran her business for thirty years.  Upon receiving the award, Pellikka graciously thanked the guild members.

“I am humbled and honored to receive this award,” said Pellikka. “I’m fortunate to have had a challenging, wonderful and exciting career.”

Quentin Tarantino was on hand to receive the Distinguished Collaborator Honoree.   After presenters Kurt Russell and Jennifer Jason Leigh – who placed a hand-cuff around each hand symbolic of their characters in Tarantino’s latest feature “The Hateful Eight” – read off a list of compliments from former costume designers who’ve have all played a part in “Camp Tarantino,” the director bounded to the stage, stating “Can I tell you, I just love this award?”  After sharing some stories about his collaborative process over the years, Tarantino made a point of highlighting the fact that  none of his costume designers have earned neither an Oscar nor a CDG Award (he mentioned Golden Globes but there is no category for costumes at the Golden Globes.)

“We don’t have any of these, but we have Halloween,” said Tarantino.  “Seeing all the characters from my movies brought to life by fans, that is the greatest award.  The costumes pierced the consciousness of audiences everywhere.”

Prior to brining LaCoste Spotlight Award Nominee Cate Blanchett to the stage, costume designer Sandy Powell stated that Blanchett was so perfect she made her want to “give up at the end of the day and come back in a new life.”  Powell has worked on several Blanchett films including “Carol” (for which both actress and costume designer have received Oscar nominations for) and credits the actress as being not only professional but a sheer joy to work with.  Upon receiving the award, Blanchett shared a story about playing theater with her sister, a budding costume designer at the time.  After defining their failed attempts at stating “Piggy Tracker” (“you don’t want to know”quipped Blanchett), she stated those early experiences gave her insight to the important connection between actor and costume designer.  She then noted the stage where she was standing also serves as the stage for the Golden Globes.

“Many people get up on this stage and say thank you’s, but I truly mean it,” said Blanchett.

Having already won the Outstanding Award for Achievement in Period TV Costume for her work on “The Knick,” Ellen Mirojnick found herself called back to the stage for the final award of the night – the Career Achievement Award.  After a touching video introduction featuring talent including Sharon Stone and Michael Douglas, Mirojnick’s daughter called the costume designer up to the stage.

Shaken from the excitement, Mirojnick said “this is the most amazing evening in my life.  I hope I make it through.  It’s like a wedding.  You know it isn’t got to happen again.”

After thanking her teams over the years and her rekindled creativity found in her partnership with director Steven Soderbergh, Mirojnick asked everyone to raise a glass and join her in a toast.

“Always remember to compliment and be nice to each other.  Here’s a toast for everyone to be able to recognize their gifts and values in this life,” said Mirojnick.





Excellence in Contemporary Film
Beasts of No Nation – Jenny Eagan

Excellence in Period Film
The Danish Girl – Paco Delgado

Excellence in Fantasy Film
Mad Max: Fury Road – Jenny Beavan

Outstanding Contemporary Television Series
American Horror Story: Hotel – Lou Eyrich

Outstanding Period Television Series
The Knick – Ellen Mirojnick

Outstanding Fantasy Television Series
Game of Thrones – Michele Clapton

Excellence in Short Form Design
Most Interesting Man in the World Wins on Land, Sea & Air, Dos Equis Commercial – Julie Vogel