Oscar’s glow has provided serious redemption for “Memoirs of a Geisha,” with a trio of craft trophies.
“Geisha” took home Oscars in art direction for John Myhre and Gretchen Rau; in costume design for Colleen Atwood; and in cinematography for Dion Beebe.
The adaptation of Arthur Golden’s bestselling novel was also contending for three other awards — score, sound editing and sound mixing.
“Geisha” produced by Doug Wick, Lucy Fisher and Steven Spielberg, was snubbed in the major categories. The $85 million pic — co-financed by Spyglass, Sony and DreamWorks — performed moderately at the domestic box office and slightly better overseas.
“The film serves as a passport to another time and place” Fisher noted. “I think it’s one of the most beautiful films ever made, thanks to old-style Hollywood artistry. It’s great to see that recognized.”
The Oscar wins cement the pic’s legacy of recreating a rich slice of Japanese life and customs in the eras before and after World War II. Director Rob Marshall re-teamed many of those who had worked with him on “Chicago” in meeting the challenge of bringing back an authentic look of a past era.
For both Myhre and Rau, who teamed on the visually arresting art direction and set decoration espectively, the win was their second after “Chicago.” Myhre had previously been nommed for “Elizabeth,” while Rau had shared a nom for “The Last Samurai.”
For Beebe, the Oscar win is also his first following a nom for “Chicago.” It came on the heels of winning the American Society of Cinematographers award.
Atwood won her second Oscar, three years after winning for “Chicago.” The category had been widely viewed as a near-certain win for “Geisha,” thanks to its memorably exotic clothing in multiple settings and time periods.
Atwood, who won top honors from the Costume Designers Guild last month, concluded her acceptance Sunday by thanking “most of all, to the people of Japan, who gave me so much knowledge and grace.”