• Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018
Gina Rodriguez to host Costume Designers Guild Awards; recipients of special honors named
Gina Rodriguez
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The Costume Designers Guild announced that Golden Globe award-winning actress Gina Rodriguez will host the 20th CDGA (Costume Designers Guild Awards) taking place February 20, 2018 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The Guild also announced that critically acclaimed costume designer Joanna Johnston will be honored with the Career Achievement Award, renowned film director and producer Guillermo del Toro will receive the Distinguished Collaborator Award, and preeminent jeweler and metalworker Maggie Schpak will receive the Distinguished Service Award at the gala.

Rodriguez shared, “I am thrilled the Costume Designers Guild asked me to host the platinum anniversary of the CDGA ceremony. Working with my Jane the Virgin Costume Designer, the marvelous Rachel Sage Kunin, has been one of the most fulfilling collaborative relationships of my career. I cannot wait to celebrate with Rachel, and her peers, on this milestone evening.”

Salvador Perez, president of the Costume Designers Guild, stated, “Joanna Johnston, Guillermo del Toro, and Maggie Schpak have each made their unique mark in our industry and on the world of storytelling. As we commemorate 20 years of applauding the best in Costume Design, we couldn’t be more excited about honoring their work and thanking them for their contributions.”

The Career Achievement Award, presented to Joanna Johnston this year by THE OUTNET.COM, recognizes leaders who have made a lasting impact on costume design. Past recipients include designers Jeffrey Kurland, Ellen Mirojnick, Julie Weiss, April Ferry, Eduardo Castro, Judianna Makovsky, Colleen Atwood, Sandy Powell and Ann Roth.

The Distinguished Collaborator Award honors individuals who demonstrate unwavering support of costume design and creative partnerships with costume designers. Past recipients include Meryl Streep, Quentin Tarantino, Richard Linklater, Helen Mirren, Judd Apatow, Clint Eastwood, Rob Marshall, Jim Burrows, and Lorne Michaels, among others.

The Distinguished Service Award honors individuals whose specialties and talents contribute to the craft and art of Costume Design. Past recipients include Sharon Day, Lois DeArmond, Edwina Pellikka, and Mary Rose.

Produced by JumpLine, the annual CDGA gala celebrates excellence in film, television, and short form costume design as voted on by the Guild’s membership, which includes more than 1,000 costume designers and illustrators working in motion pictures, television, commercials, music videos, and new media programs throughout the world. 

Career Achievement Award
Johnston is a critically acclaimed costume designer and one of the most talented and sought after in her craft. She has collaborated frequently with Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis, and has also worked with M. Night Shyamalan and Richard Curtis on more than one occasion. Johnston began her career assisting Academy Award-winning costume designer Anthony Powell on such films as Evil Under the Sun, Death on the Nile, and Roman Polanski’s Tess. She served as assistant designer to Milena Canonero on Out of Africa, for which Canonero was nominated for an Oscar. As a costume designer, her collaborations with Spielberg include Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Saving Private Ryan, War of the Worlds, Munich, War Horse, and THE BFG. Her work with Spielberg on Lincoln earned Johnston her first Oscar nomination. Johnston’s collaborations with Robert Zemeckis include Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Back to the Future Part II and Back to the Future Part III, Death Becomes Her, Contact, Cast Away, The Polar Express, and the Academy Award-winning film Forrest Gump. Her work with Zemeckis on Allied earned Johnston her second Oscar nomination in 2017. She most recently collaborated with Zemeckis on The Women of Marwen, set for release in November 2018.

Distinguished Collaborator Award
Filmmaker del Toro is among the most creative and visionary artists of his generation whose distinctive style is showcased through his work as a director, screenwriter, producer, and author. Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, del Toro first gained worldwide recognition for the 1993 Mexican-American co-production Cronos, a supernatural horror film, which he directed from his own screenplay after beginning his career working as a special effects makeup artist. His subsequent films include Mimic, The Devil’s Backbone, Blade 2, Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Pacific Rim, and Crimson Peak. Del Toro earned international acclaim as the director, writer and producer of the 2006 fantasy drama Pan’s Labyrinth. He was honored with an Oscar nomination for his original screenplay for the film, which won Academy Awards for art direction, cinematography, and makeup. In all, the film garnered more than 40 international awards and appeared on more than 35 critics’ lists of the year’s best films. His 2017 film, The Shape of Water, won two Golden Globe Awards, four Critic’s Choice Awards, and the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, and has already received 65 additional awards and 190 nominations since its release, including a CDGA and BAFTA nomination for his frequent colleague, costume designer Luis Sequeira.

Distinguished Service Award
Schpak was born and spent her early years in New York. Her father was film actor, Millard Mitchell. Her Dad sewed, knitted, and taught her to tie good bows. Maggie attended Pasadena Playhouse in the early ‘60s as an acting major, but found she was spending more and more time with the tech students in the costume shop. After college, she acted in a lot of little theatre and often designed and made the costumes. One director pointed out that she could actually earn money with her skills and gave her the name of Al Nickel at Western Costume Company, who gave her a real job. She gravitated to designers who liked to do hand-made items for their films, Dorothy Jeakins’ Little Big Man, Lewis Brown on numerous Music Center Productions, and Robert Fletcher. She was married at the time to Tom Browne, a metal sculptor and artist, who came to work at Western Costume Company in the prop department.  There was a metal shop on the 6th floor owned by Bill Reyhill, and when he retired, Maggie and Tom bought the shop. They were lucky to have great mentors like Bob Fletcher who just assumed they could make anything he could dream up, and Jack Bear and Sal Anthony, who would come in with amazing ideas. Maggie and Tom separated in 1973, but remained creative partners and friends until his retirement in 2008. When Western Costume Company changed hands in 1996, they moved the shop to Glendale, where it is today. As time passed, the projects became bigger and more labor intensive—they were up to 11 employees by the time they were doing The Last Starfighter for Bob Fletcher, and Masters of the Universe for Julie Weiss. Though they would still do the armor for principals on Chronicles of Riddick for Ellen Mirojnick and other projects, jewelry and insignia became their specialty. Crowns and tiaras of all types and periods are great fun and fulfilling. Her greatest source of enjoyment is when she can see and understand what the designer is visualizing, and bring it to life at the Metal Arts Studio.

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