They may be below the line in showbiz slang, but the work these artisans do is essential
to the above the line names that audiences pay to see. Variety’s Elite list includes DPs who
are artists as well as master technicians, while the costume designers, production designers and hair and makeup professionals distill history and contemporary influences to tell a story sometimes in one outfit or shot of a room. The composers expertly convey a character’s internal makeup in aural form. And bigger films and TV require more spectacular stunts. The elite in this report create onscreen magic via practical math plus good old risk-taking.
Paul Cameron (Cinematography)
“Westworld,” “Fahrenheit 451”
Cameron’s work made waves everywhere this year: on the big screen in “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” and in the pilot for HBO’s “Westworld,” which brought him one of the series’ dozen Emmy nominations. On the latter, the cinematographer brought a classic theatricality to Western exteriors and an unnerving sleekness to the sterile underground facility where robots are made. “We shot train sequences on a trailer rig in Utah, using natural interactive light and red-rock backgrounds instead of blue screen, which was fabulous,” says Cameron, who lensed on 35mm film. He recently completed “The Commuter,” directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, and is shooting HBO’s “Fahrenheit 451.”
Larry Fong (Cinematographer)
“Kong: Skull Island,” “The Predator”
Fong’s work on “Kong: Skull Island” recalled such ‘70s-era classics as “Apocalypse Now,” and his epic imagery for “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” was a big part of that film’s appeal. Each project has passed a half-billion dollars and still counting at the box office.
As a boy, Fong often screened the original 1933 “King Kong” for his friends, and he was an extra in the 1976 Dino De Laurentiis edition. Regarding “Skull Island,” Fong says, “It’s a blockbuster, popcorn kind of movie, and a pop culture mash-up to some degree. We tried to take an artistic approach while making it accessible to audiences all over the world.” Fong recently wrapped “The Predator” with director Shane Black.
Greig Fraser (Cinematographer)
“Rogue One,” “Lion”
Fraser’s versatility is evident in his credits, which include the sparkling world of “Snow White and the Huntsman,” the intense naturalism of “Zero Dark Thirty” and the gripping dread of “Foxcatcher.” In 2016, his chameleon-like run continued with the sure-handed “Star Wars” spinoff adventure tale “Rogue One,” and the lyrical “Lion,” which was set in India and Australia. “Lion” earned six Oscar nominations, including noms for Fraser and for best picture. “Doing different types of projects exercises different muscles,” says the Aussie. “I hope there’s a thread of strong drama running through my work, and on any project, I try to be very supportive of great actors doing their thing.” Fraser recently finished “Mary Magdalene,” from “Lion” helmer Garth Davis, on large-format digital, and is prepping a feature in L.A.
Dana Gonzales (Cinematographer)
For each season of FX’s “Fargo,” Gonzales has designed a specific look tailored to the period and setting, bringing feature-film techniques to the endeavor, while earning three Emmy nominations and a win last year. This year, he and “Fargo” creator Noah Hawley added Marvel’s “Legion,” also airing on FX, to their oeuvre, lending Kubrickian surrealism to the superhero proceedings. “There are plenty of people who want to keep things cheap and not take risks,” says Gonzales. “They’re not the ones getting noticed. We’re making some radical choices, and the success we’ve had gives us more credibility.” Ric Roman Waugh’s “Shot Caller,” a feature lensed by Gonzales, premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival this summer, and the cinematographer is planning to direct an upcoming episode of “Legion.”
James Laxton (Cinematographer)
“Moonlight,” “Here, Now”
Laxton’s luminous, often handheld work on Oscar best picture winner “Moonlight” brought him an Academy Award nomination as well as Variety’s Artisans Award, among many other accolades — including what seems like every critics’ group across the country — for the Barry Jenkins-directed drama. “We were hoping to create an immersive experience, a first-person perspective where an audience feels that they belong inside the film,” says Laxton, who often operated the camera himself. Counter to current trends, he imbued the images with strong contrast, and used a lower-resolution format in order to extend takes. Laxton shot the Amazon pilot “The Legend of Master Legend” for James Ponsoldt, and recently wrapped on the Alan Ball HBO pilot “Here, Now,” which stars Holly Hunter and Tim Robbins.
Linus Sandgren (Cinematographer)
“La La Land,” “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms”
Sandgren’s intuitive camera has been trained on a string of intriguing projects, including “American Hustle” for David O. Russell, “The Hundred-Foot Journey” for Lasse Halström and “Promised Land” for Gus Van Sant. But his exuberant work on Damien Chazelle’s musical “La La Land” took him to another level, and brought him an Oscar, one of six for the film. “It’s a contemporary drama, but since the characters are dreamers, it was important to bring them to a magical moment, to travel between reality and dream,” says Sandgren. “It’s a blend of old and new — inspired by golden-era musicals, but transformed by up-to-date sensibilities and techniques.” Sandgren’s reteaming with Halström, a fellow Swede, on “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” a dramatization of the ballet.
Aline Bonetto (Production Design)
Bonetto certainly appreciates unusual, magical women — though of different stripes: She earned the first of her two Oscar nominations for 2002’s “Amelie,” while this year the French designer brought her super powers to “Wonder Woman,” which took in more than $100 million in its opening weekend and is closing in on a worldwide $1 billion gross. “Woman” gave Bonetto her first shot at working with a female director (Patty Jenkins), but it changed little about her process. “It’s important to have intuition with people,” she says. “It’s different every time you work with someone, but it’s not that different to work with a woman versus a man. It’s always an adventure.” Coming up: another adventure with Jenkins.
Stuart Craig (Production Design)
For nearly 20 years, Craig has been immersed in the “Harry Potter” universe, working on every film of the global blockbuster series and joining the spinoff franchise, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” which became a box office hit in 2016. With early credits on “Gandhi” and “The Elephant Man,” Craig has had an impressive features career, working on both big and small productions. He returned to the world of Hogwarts and muggles by taking a chief creative role in the design of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood.
Nathan Crowley (Production Design)
Three-time Oscar nominee Crowley (“Interstellar,” “The Dark Knight,” “The Prestige”) reteamed with regular collaborators, the Nolan brothers, on the feature “Dunkirk” (Christopher) and HBO’s series “Westworld” (Jonathan), creating period looks equally authentic and edgy for each. (Bonus: “Dunkirk” featured World War II- era vintage ships and planes.) He also designed the Costume Institute’s Spring Gala at the Met in New York this year. When working with directors, he notes that “it’s important to be as open as possible so we discover of the look of the film together.” Crowley’s next projects to be on screens: Michael Gracey’s “The Greatest Showman” and Damien Chazelle’s “First Man.”
Dante Ferretti (Production Design)
Triple Oscar-winner Ferretti (“The Aviator,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Hugo”) had worked with Martin Scorsese on eight movies before they tackled “Silence,” the director’s passion project about Jesuit missionaries in feudal Japan. Ferretti had to prep five times before cameras started rolling because the financing kept falling out. After he scouted in New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Northern California and Canada, the production ended up using locations in Taiwan and a Taipei studio, where Ferretti masterfully rebuilt part of ancient Nagasaki, even though the budget was a fraction of what he’s used to. “It was affordable, and luckily the surrounding area looked like Japan,” says Ferretti, who also handled costume design on “Silence.”
Oliver Scholl (Production Design)
“Spider-Man: Homecoming,” “The Dark Tower”
Scholl, who contributed concept art to “Spider-Man 3,” got tangled again in Peter Parker’s web again on “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” a fascinating experience, he says. The German designer is keen on research and “sketches and scribbles” to prepare for a project. “Sometimes the fastest way to communicate with the artists I work with is with drawings or illustrations,” he says, while also insisting on in-person or Skype-based discussions. “Just because someone looks at a photo doesn’t necessarily mean they understand.” He also worked on Nikolaj Arcel’s “The Dark Tower” and Ruben Fleischer’s “Venom.”
David Wasco (Production Design)
“La La Land,” “Molly’s Game”
After winning an Art Directors Guild Award and an Academy Award for “La La Land,” Wasco, who works on nearly every project with wife Sandy as set decorator, started work on Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut, “Molly’s Game.” “I try to land projects where the director and the writer are the same person,” he says. “When the guy who is the boss is the person who wrote the story, they know what they’re trying to do.”
Wasco likes to dig into production design early in a project, sometimes even before actors are hired. “Having that jumpstart can translate into something pretty special,” he says.
Hala Bahmet (Costume Designer)
Although the contemporary costume Emmy nomination for her “This Is Us” work was rescinded this year because the TV Academy decided that the program did not meet its period criteria, Bahmet can still be proud of her work on the show, which required creating outfits for characters over multiple decades, as well as her 2016 Emmy nom for “American Crime Story.” She also designed costumes for pilots for the CW’s “Riverdale” and CBS’ “Young Sheldon.” Bahmet stresses her collaboration with directors, whom she calls “the captains of the ship. … It’s my job to take my director’s vision and run with it.” Next up: season two of “This Is Us.”
Ruth E. Carter (Costume Designer)
A longtime Spike Lee and John Singleton collaborator and a nominee for two Oscars and an Emmy, Carter is already making waves for her striking, powerful costumes for Ryan Coogler’s upcoming “Black Panther” Marvel Universe feature. Citing being a good listener as key for any artisan who wants his or her looks to reach an audience, Carter says, “You have to meet people where their particular aesthetic starts. It’s a collaborative medium, and you are not the only artist in the room.” Her work will also be seen in Taylor Sheridan’s “Yellowstone” series for the Paramount Network.
Martin Childs (Production Designer), Michele Clapton (Costume Designer), and Ivana Primorac (Hair and Makeup Designer)
Netflix’s “The Crown” is a visual feast, with Childs, Clapton and Primorac putting on a royal show for the audience. Primorac says: “[director] Stephen Daldry knew from the very beginning that he needed to pull a strong team together. He understood that we were all about to create a world that we think we know, but haven’t experienced first-hand, and bringing to life characters we are all familiar with, yet have never seen in some of their private and intimate moments, which we were about to portray as filmmakers.” Primorac also did hair and makeup on Danny Boyle’s “T2 Trainspotting.” Clapton, who shares her credit on “The Crown” with Timothy Everest, was also on “Game of Thrones.” Childs was previously on John Madden’s “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”
Ane Crabtree (Costume Designer)
Crabtree has fashioned wide-ranging looks for real-world shows such as “The Sopranos” and “Masters of Sex,” but the designer more recently earned nominations for dystopic futures: “Westworld” (Costume Designers Guild) and “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Emmy). Noms aside, witnessing her “Handmaid’s” fashions shift into real-world political protests was a key development for Crabtree: “That is the most important thing that has ever happened to me,” she says. She’s now working on Fox’s “The Passage” and season two of “Tale.”
Sharen Davis (Costume Designer)
Davis created costumes for the stylized Western “The Magnificent Seven” and for the Oscar-nominated period film “Fences,” on which she worked with frequent collaborator Denzel Washington. The two-time Oscar nominee (“Ray” and “Dreamgirls”) recently returned to television with “Westworld.” “The best possible situation for me is when the director, production designer and I are able to establish the look of the film through the director’s eyes,” she says. Davis will be on the second season of “Westworld” and on Albert Hughes’ “Alpha.”
Paco Delgado (Costume Designer)
Delgado’s Oscar-nominated outfits for “The Danish Girl” and “Les Miserables” seemed designed with their own magical realism, but his latest project — Ava DuVernay’s “A Wrinkle in Time” — provided the opportunity for him to play with actual fantasy as part of the classic novel’s adaptation. “I believe the director is your first and most important friend on a movie,” writes the Spanish designer in an email. “You have to be on their side.” To Delgado, no costume is complete until it is worn, and becomes a “3D sculpture-in-movement.” His next project: M. Night Shyamalan’s “Glass.”
Lou Eyrich (Costume Designer)
Eyrich and Ryan Murphy clearly have a certain simpatico going: She won three Emmys designing outfits for his “American Horror Story” series, and more recently created classic Hollywood designs for “Feud.” The duo have paired as far back as “Nip/Tuck” and “Glee.” Eyrich also knows there’s going to be a fair amount of prosthetic work in any given Murphy production and plans her costumes accordingly. “I find him a visionary,” she says. “He can put things on the air that have never been before, and I never get bored.” Eyrich will be on the sophomore seasons of “Feud” and “American Crime Story,” and on Murphy’s new 1980s drama “Pose.”
Alix Friedberg (Costume Designer), Michelle Ceglia (Hairstyle Department Head), and Steve Artmont (Head Makeup Designer)
The women of HBO’s “Big Little Lies” had a talented team looking after their stylings. “It was a gift to have five distinctive women to work with,” says Friedberg. Adds Ceglia, “realism was important, even though the characters are extremely wealthy. ‘Trivia Night’ was a big challenge and huge accomplishment, as there were 30 cast members, 200 extras, and tons of wigs.” After head makeup designer Steve Artmont’s death toward the end of the season, his daughter and collaborator, Nicole Artmont, finished the job. “That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” she says. “It was emotionally challenging but rewarding in a way I couldn’t have expected.”
Sonu Mishra (Costume Designer)
Telling 70 years of history through costumes in “Genius” was an appealing challenge for Rome-based Mishra. Thanks to archival material, Mishra was able to draw from real-life outfits in the era of “Genius” subject Albert Einstein, evolving multiple characters’ costumes as they aged through the decades. “Teamwork is what I believe in,” she writes in an email. “The more we collaborate … the better it is for the film and our own work.” Mishra is working on season two of the NatGeo series.
Donald Mowat (Makeup Artist)
Whether tackling the sequel of a classic (“Blade Runner 2049”) or working on a real-world scale (Boston Marathon bombing film “Stronger”), Mowat dives in on projects that combine the challenging with the familiar. After earning a Makeup and Hairstylist Guild award for “Nocturnal Animals,” he re-teamed with star Jake Gyllenhaal for “Stronger,” which required specialized makeup for amputation illusions. “I take the emotional temperature of what’s happening on a set,” he says. “I have to be a diplomat to everyone’s needs.” His next project: Jennifer Yuh Nelson’s “The Darkest Minds.”
Mary Zophres (Costume Designer)
No, Zophres did not experience whiplash swapping the primary colors of “La La Land” (which earned her a second Oscar nomination) for her latest collaboration with the Coen brothers, an anthology of six westerns for Netflix called “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” but one could understand it if she had. She also recently completed work on the retro “Battle of the Sexes.” “I love my ideas, but I’m not attached to them. My job is to make the directors happy, and it’s best when there’s a real collaboration.” She is collaborating again with “La La Land” director Damien Chazelle on “First Man.”
Michael Beugg (Producer)
Beugg scratched one item off his bucket list — make a musical — when he executive-produced “La La Land,” and earned a DGA Award in the process. He began his producing career in 1993 when he left the White House budget office to work on the short “Some Folks Call It a Sling Blade,” directed by high school friend George Hickenlooper. Upcoming releases include Stephen Chbosky’s “Wonder,” starring Julia Roberts, and frequent collaborator Jason Reitman’s political drama “The Front Runner.” “Jason always jokes that if I can figure out the federal budget, I ought to be able to figure out the budget of a film,” he says.
Joe Caracciolo Jr. (Producer)
Caracciolo has covered a lot of ground as a producer in the past few years, literally. He went from “The Wolverine” in Australia to “Dracula Untold” in Northern Ireland, back to Australia for “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” then to various U.S. locales for “Logan.” This summer, Caracciolo, who early in his career made several films with gritty realist director Sidney Lumet, transitioned from human-centric blockbusters to a CGI/live-action-hybrid, scouting London locations for the Pokemon movie “Detective Pikachu.” “It’s exciting to tackle a slightly new avenue and work with creatures that don’t exist in the real world,” he says.
Michael Fottrell (Producer)
Diplomacy is always a vital tool in a producer’s arsenal, but Fottrell took it to another level on “The Fate of the Furious,” securing permissions to shoot elaborate car stunts on locations from Iceland to Cuba. The latter entailed a meeting with the Cuban ambassador to the U.S., José Ramón Cabañas. “We went to see him hat in hand and got his blessing, and that trickled up to [Cuban President] Raul Castro, and the government and the police were all very cooperative,” says Fottrell, whose other credits range from 1983’s “Scarface” to 2016’s “Central Intelligence” and the previous five “Fast” films.
Andy Gill, Jack Gill, J.J. Perry, and Troy Robinson (Stunt Coordinators)
The stunt team topped itself again on “The Fate of the Furious,” the eighth installment in Universal’s high-octane action franchise. The Gill brothers leapfrogged each other across the globe with second-unit teams, racing through the streets of Havana and across a frozen lake in Iceland. Dropping seven cars out of a parking garage in Cleveland, Perry and Robinson worked with the first unit, staging everything from a mid-flight airplane fight to a prison break riot. With so much screen time devoted to action, there was ample opportunity to contribute creatively. “[The producers] are looking for what can you do to really wow and audience and, if you come up with an idea, they’re willing to listen, and a lot of [the action] is generated that way,” says Andy Gill.
Tommy Gormley (First AD)
The Scottish native has worked on some of the most notable VFX spectaculars of recent years, including “Wonder Woman,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” two “Star Trek” movies directed by J.J. Abrams and four “Mission: Impossible” films including next year’s “M:I 6 — Mission Impossible.” “Although I work on these crazy Hollywood blockbusters, I have a great dislike of waste in filmmaking,” says Gormley, who got his big break as a third AD on Ken Loach’s kitchen sink drama “Riff-Raff” (1991). “I get buzzed when we do something as simple as make the extras leave through one door and come back in another.”
Eric Hooge and Matt Prisk (Location Managers)
Hooge and Prisk went where no big Hollywood production had gone before to make the spectacular Havana street-racing scene happen for “The Fate of the Furious.” After a thorough recon of Cuba, which was just beginning to normalize relations with the U.S., it was determined they had to bring in everything needed — from cars and camera equipment to toilet paper and printer ink — via cargo ship. On top of that, there were no established systems for location permitting or banking with U.S. companies. “Everything we were doing was inventing the wheel” says Hooge, now head of production at newly opened Blackhall Studios in Atlanta.
Tom Karnowski (Producer)
Producing the highly anticipated sequel “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” may be Karnowski’s biggest sci-fi/fantasy credit, but it’s far from his first. Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, he worked on string of low-budget genre films with director Albert Pyun, including “The Sword and the Sorcerer,” “Cyborg” and “Omega Doom.” Karnowski was looking forward to taking some time off after the long “Star Wars” prep and shoot when he got a call to work with Steven Spielberg on “Nor’easter,” and the vacation was cancelled. “It was something that I never imagined I would have the chance to do,” he says.
Joel Kramer (Second Unit Director/Stunt Coordinator)
As the stunt double for Arnold Schwarzenegger on more than a dozen films, including “Terminator 2” and “True Lies,” Kramer performed in some of the biggest feature film action scenes of the ’80s and ’90s. Today, he’s making those kinds of sequences even more thrilling and authentic from behind the camera on such films as “Furious 7,” “Terminator Genisys” and “Blade Runner 2049.” “I love visual effects, but it doesn’t look real,” says Kramer, who fell in love with stunts as a kid when he visited the set of “Batman,” starring Adam West. “On ‘Blade Runner,’ we did as many physical stunts as we could.”
Paul Loy (Staging Supervisor) and Noah Mitz (Lighting Director)
On NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” Mitz comes up with new lightning designs for an ever-changing lineup of acts, while Loy sets the stage, employing a crew of more than 100 people to execute lightning-fast changeovers in the live show’s 3½-minute commercial breaks. “Each week, we tear it all down and then start from scratch the next week with 12 new acts,” says Loy. “It’s like doing a big awards show every week.”
Spiro Razatos (2nd Unit Director/Stunt Coordinator)
Razatos has been traveling the globe shooting blockbuster action sequences, from Hawaii (“Kong: Skull Island”) to Iceland (“The Fate of the Furious”). It’s a decades-long journey spurred by a childhood obsession with the original 1971 “Shaft” that has taken him from stunt player on 1985’s “Back to the Future” to 2nd unit director on “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Nonetheless, “it always feels like my first day of school,” says Razatos. “I think that’s what keeps me able to be creative and do things that are different and fresh.”
Kim Todd (Producer)
Todd has produced projects for ABC, BBC, CBS, Lifetime, PBS, Showtime and other major networks, but none has had the impact of FX’s “Fargo,” which in its first two seasons earned her an Emmy, a Golden Globe, two Producers Guild of America Awards, a Peabody and two Critics’ Choice Awards. The third season of the show wrapped in May, but there is no timetable for its return. “It depends on Noah [Hawley, the series creator] having an idea for the next season pop into his head,” says Todd, who also produced Netflix’s “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.”
Ludwig Goransson (Composer)
Göransson recently scored MGM’s “Everything, Everything,” MGM’s upcoming “Death Wish” and is scoring Marvel’s “Black Panther.” “I spent a month in Senegal and South Africa recording griots [traditional African musicians] from different tribes,” he says. “It’s been an incredible experience so far, but also a challenge to blend the music with modern production and orchestra.” Göransson, whose film and TV credits include “Creed,” “Fruitvale Station,” TBS’ “Angie Tribeca,” Starz’s “Survivor’s Remorse,” ABC’s “Happy Endings,” NBC’s “Community” and Fox’s “New Girl,” has also produced chart-topping albums and hits for Childish Gambino (“Atlanta” star Donald Glover’s stage name), Chance the Rapper, ZZ Ward and Haim (“Days Are Gone”).
Rupert Gregson-Williams (Composer)
All the British composer’s impressive versatility has been on display over the past year. He just received an Emmy nomination for Netflix period drama “The Crown,” and before that scored Mel Gibson’s harrowing war drama “Hacksaw Ridge.” In between those projects, he scored global blockbuster “Wonder Woman.” Upcoming film and TV projects include “Terminal,” starring Margot Robbie, TNT’s “The Alienist” and the next season of “The Crown.” “It’s been very exciting to cover the next decade of the royals’ journey,” he says of the latter show, “and a great opportunity to work with a director like Stephen Daldry.”
Justin Hurwitz (Composer)
Hurwitz had a huge year, winning two Oscars (original score, original song) for “La La Land,” and conducted the film’s first touring version at the Hollywood Bowl. “Another truly surreal experience,” he says. Hurwitz is scoring Chazelle’s next movie, “First Man,” a drama about Neil Armstrong and the years leading up to the moon landing. “The movie doesn’t shoot until October, and I won’t see any picture until the spring, but we’ve started figuring out what the music will be,” he says. “It’s going to sound very different than anything I’ve done, and I’m glad to have this time to hone the sound.”
Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan (Sound Editors)
Making cinematic history, Lee and Morgan were the first women sound duo to be nominated for an Oscar in sound editing for “La La Land.” Lee was also part of the Oscar-nominated sound mixing team and the first Asian woman to be nominated in sound editing. Next for Morgan are “The Mountain Between Us” and “Battle of the Sexes.” “We had fun creating a period-correct sound palette with a modern immersive feel,” they say.
Kevin O’Connell (Re-Recording Mixer)
O’Connell won (along with Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie and Peter Grace) the Oscar for his sound mixing work on “Hacksaw Ridge,” an especially sweet win for the veteran who’d been nominated a record 20 times without a single win, and who finally won on his 21st nomination. “I’m currently working on ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,’ ” says O’Connell, whose credits include “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” “Spider-Man” (1, 2 & 3), “Top Gun,” “Transformers” and “Armageddon.” “The work is becoming ever more complicated and expectations remain sky high,” he says.
Brian Tyler (Composer and Conductor)
The prolific composer (more than 70 films, including “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Furious 7,” “Iron Man 3”) has had another record year. He scored “Fate of the Furious,” which had the biggest global opening of all time ($532 million), “xXx: The Return of Xander Cage,” “Power Rangers” and “The Mummy.” TV credits include “Hawaii Five-O,” “Sleepy Hollow” and “Scorpion.” “It has been gratifying working with great filmmakers on both continuing franchises and new storylines, which allowed me to compose scores ranging from purely sym-
phonic to modern and gritty.”
Rob Legato (VFX Supervisor)
Known for groundbreaking work that has set the standard in visual effects for the past two decades, Legato took home the Academy Award for his work on “Jungle Book.” That statue joins those Legato won for “Hugo” and “Titanic.” He’s also won Emmys for his work on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” “It’s an exciting time for visual effects because of what’s possible,” he says. “But all creativity is analogue and our work has to feel right to the audience.” Legato is on “The Lion King.”
Natasha Leonnet (Digital Intermediate Colorist)
Leonnet was an unheralded artistic force on two of the year’s most acclaimed films. For “La La Land,” she took director Damien Chazelle’s broad-but-specific visual mandate — combine midcentury musicals, early Technicolor features, Disney animation and the color saturation of ‘90s L.A. movies including “Pulp Fiction” — and helped craft a look that is both nostalgic and contemporary. On “Hidden Figures,” she emulated the aesthetics of Kodachrome reversal film to evoke the film’s early ‘60s setting. “We can use our tools to fix things, but I’ve been incredibly lucky to work with some really skilled cinematographers, so I’ve been able to focus on the artistic side,” she says.
Joe Letteri (Senior VFX Supervisor), Dan Lemmon (VFX Supervisor), and Dan Barrett (Animation Supervisor)
“War for the Planet of the Apes” was the latest high note hit by the New Zealand-based Weta Digital team made up of Letteri, Lemmon and Barrett. They’ve spent years thundering past technological and artistic limitations to create the most believable version of Caesar, the leader of the apes, and many other characters in the ongoing franchise. Pioneering methods of combining the performances of actors, animation and visual effects, the team is now at work on three “Avatar” sequels. “Were always looking for a way to make it better with each film,” Letteri says. “Caesar’s story is a human coming-of-age story.”
Skip Macdonald (Editor)
As editor on AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” Macdonald shaped the iconic Walter White story. He’s gone on to AMC’s “Better Call Saul,” FX’s “Fargo” and Netflix’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” Nominated for the Emmy four times for “Breaking Bad,” he won in 2014. “I love going to work on a great project, knowing that the film I get is going to be fantastic and when the show is cut together it’s going to be a piece of work I can be proud of,” say Macdonald. Next up is Alan Ball’s “Here, Now” for HBO.
Joi McMillon and Nat Sanders (Editors)
“Moonlight” editors McMillon and Sanders received Oscar nominations for their work on a story that takes place in three separate time periods, with three different actors playing the same lead character. “The filmmakers did an amazing job casting very distinctive actors for the same role, and as [director] Barry Jenkins said, it’s all in the eyes of the performers,” Sanders says. McMillon says: “Our approach was to tell an honest, organic story that felt true to the childhood experiences which informed the narrative. We wanted to achieve a universal quality so that anybody could relate to the themes.”
Andrew Seklir (Editor)
Seklir has worked on some of the most lauded TV series in recent years, including “Fargo” (FX) and “Westworld” (HBO), which also includes the 90-minute season finale of the sci-if show. The editor has been Emmy-nommed for his work on another sci-fi series, “Battlestar Galactica.” From the time he was a kid, he was moved by fantasy classics such as “Fantastic Voyage” and “2001: A Space Odyssey.” “I still love telling stories and I still feel incredibly lucky to be able to get up every morning and walk into a room, or on a set, and start creating,” Seklir says.
Joe Walker (Editor)
The editor was Oscar-nommed for Denis Villeneuve’s “Arrival” and Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave,” and he won the ACE Eddie for “Arrival.” Walker is now re-united with Villeneuve on the highly anticipated sequel to “Blade Runner.” “My parents had a Eumig 8mm projector and I’d spend my paper round earnings on black and white 8mm prints,” he says. “My Eureka moment was projecting a Keystone Cops movie, ‘Stepping on the Gas,’ in slow-mo, while accompanying it with my Dad’s Wagner LPs, played at half speed.”
Jay Worth (VFX Supervisor)
HBO’s hit sci-fi series “Westworld” combines thought-provoking thematic ideas with bold, surreal imagery. Worth says that “[writer-producer-
director] Jonathan Nolan and [writer-producer] Lisa Joy are incredible creative partners, along with every department.” He adds: “There’s always a challenge on such an ambitious project to realize the vision, but across the board we were all on the same page. There was always cooperation and collaboration to see what method would be best, and there were no egos, just a unified vision to make sure the best idea always won.”
Up Next: Allie Ames (Colorist)
Ames joined the Technicolor-PostWorks New York team in 2012 and has provided final color grading, editorial finishing and visual effects on a wide variety of projects, including 2016 official Cannes selection “Risk,” HBO documentary “The Diplomat” and Netflix docu-series “Cooked.” Ames also frequently collaborates with director Cathryne Czubek on Conde Nast digital content.
Up Next: Lauren Bott (Costume Designer)
Starting her career in the costume department of “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” Bott worked as assistant costume designer on HBO’s “True Detective.” This led to her breakout collaboration with Ryan Murphy as costume designer for seasons one and two of Fox’s “Scream Queens.” She is now designing the new Marvel/Freeform series “Cloak & Dagger.”
Up Next: Lauren Connelly (Editor)
In the past year the versatile Connelly cut Isaac Rentz’s musical comedy “Opening Night,” thriller “The Trust,” which premiered at SXSW and was directed by Benjamin and Alex Brewer, and moved into high-end cable television by cutting episodes of Showtime series “Masters of Sex” and FX’s “The Strain.”
Up Next: Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein (Composers)
The Grammy-nominated duo, half of the hip Austin electronic band Survive, exploded onto the pop-culture scene when they created the distinct, eerie, synth-heavy score for Netflix hit “Stranger Things,” the first TV series to receive two soundtrack score Grammy nominations in the same year. They’re scoring season two.
Up Next: Simon England (First Assistant Camera)
First AC and aspiring DP who quickly moved up the ranks working with some of today’s leading cinematographers. One of the camera assistants consulting on development of Panavision’s DXL camera system. Founded English Stix, the leader in custom camera slates that brought enhanced artwork and new sizing to productions across the globe.
Up Next: J.R. Hawbaker (Costume Designer)
Hawbaker earned a CDG Award nomination for her work on Amazon’s “Man in the High Castle,” served as assistant costume designer on “Live by Night” for Ben Affleck, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” for Zack Snyder, and “Song to Song” for Terrence Malick. Up next: Robin Bissell’s “The Best of Enemies.”
Up Next: Nick Houy (Editor)
Houy received an Emmy nomination for “The Night Of,” directed by Steven Zaillian and James Marsh. He recently finished working on Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut, “Lady Bird,” and is cutting Jonah Hill’s directorial debut “Mid-’90s,” both produced by Scott Rudin Prods. for A24.
Up Next: Chayse Irvin (DP)
A frequent collaborator with prolific music-video director Kahlil Joseph, the DP has lensed such high-profile projects with Joseph as Beyonce’s “Lemonade,” the Kendrick Lamar-commissioned short “m.A.A.d” (screened at MOCA in the “Kahlil Joseph: Double Conscience” presentation) and Sampha’s short “Sampha: Process.” He just wrapped “Hannah” with director and frequent collaborator Andrea Pallaoro.
Up Next: Zach Kuperstein (DP)
Kuperstein’s use of black-and-white cinematography on director Nicolas Pesce’s horror film “The Eyes of My Mother” earned him nominations at the 2017 Independent Spirit Awards and cinematography debut at Camerimage 2016. He recently wrapped sci-fi drama “Jonathan” for director Bill Oliver.
Up Next: Jennifer Lame (Editor)
A frequent collaborator with Noah Baumbach (“Frances Ha,” “The Meyerowitz Stories”), Lame’s work on Kenneth Lonergan’s “Manchester by the Sea” won her a BAFTA nomination and acclaim for her assured touch with the intense family drama and use of crucial flashbacks as mini-movies in themselves, rather than memories.
Up Next: Mara LePere-Schloop (Production Designer)
LaPere-Schloop has collaborated with filmmaker Cary Fukunaga on several projects, including HBO’s “True Detective,” and TNT’s new period drama “The Alienist,” based on Caleb Carr’s best seller. She was part of the Emmy-nominated team on season one of “True Detective,” which also won an ADG award.
Up Next: Edd Lukas (DP)
The prolific Lukas — 50 projects so far, including Damien Chazelle’s prize-winning short “Whiplash,” commercials (Miller, Chevrolet, Budweiser) and indies (horror-thriller “The Gallows”) — may be the hardest-working man in showbiz. He’s shooting “Cold Brook” for director William Fichtner, and has five upcoming releases, including “The Party’s Just Beginning.”
Up Next: Eponine Momenceau (DP)
Momenceau shot Jacques Audiard’s crime drama “Dheepan,” which won the Palme d’Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and earned multiple nominations, including foreign film at BAFTA 2017 and cinematography at the 2016 Cesar Awards. Known for her work in experimental cinema, she has also directed two shorts, “Song” and “Jungle.”
Up Next: Andrew Droz Palermo (DP)
A frequent collaborator of director Hannah Fidell, Palermo shot her 2013 romantic drama “A Teacher,” winning a nom for cinematography debut at Camerimage. He co-directed Sundance docu “Rich Hill,” directed “One & Two,” and shot current A24 release “A Ghost Story,” directed by David Lowery and starring Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara.
Up Next: Kate Presutti (Comedy Segment Producer), Lauren Willems (Field Producer), and Dave Piendak (Comedy Segment Producer)
The trio have helped make CBS’ “The Late Late Show With James Corden” must-watch TV thanks to their producing skills in handling its many recurring segments. Piendak, previously on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” has produced “Drop the Mic,” “Toddlerography” and the “100m Race: Usain Bolt vs. James Corden & Owen Wilson” segments, which have amassed more than a million YouTube views. Presutti’s segments include “Role Call” (with such stars as Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Matt Damon and Arnold Schwarzenegger), “Soundtrack to a Rom Com,” “Diva Riff Off” and “Crosswalk the Musical.” Willems has produced all of the “Carpool Karaoke” segments, which have more than 1 billion views.
Up Next: Marcell Rev (DP)
The Hungarian’s career has taken off since he shot 2014 drama and Cannes Un Certain Regard winner “White God.” Awarded the Hungarian Film Critics award for best cinematographer of the year in 2015, he’s shooting Barry Levinson’s HBO film “Happy Valley,” starring Al Pacino, and just wrapped thriller “Assassination Nation.”
Up Next: Jeriana San Juan (Costume Designer)
San Juan brought her fashion flair to Baz Luhrmann’s Netflix series “The Get Down” and FX’s “Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll.” She recently collaborated with “Sopranos” director-producer Allen Coulter on the pilot for TNT’s since-canceled “Civil” series and brought Grant Morrison’s graphic novel “Happy!” to life for Syfy. She is designing USA Network’s 1930’s period drama “Damnation.”
Up Next: Maya Sigel (Production Designer)
Sigel designed anorexia drama-comedy “To the Bone,” a Netflix original movie and Sundance 2017 hit from writer-director Marti Noxon, starring Lily Collins and Keanu Reeves. She just wrapped season two of Starz’s series “The Girlfriend Experience” with writer-director Amy Seimetz, and drama “Mercy” from director Tali Shalom Ezer, starring Ellen Page and Kate Mara.
Up Next: Michal Sobocinski (DP)
The Polish DP has cinematography in his DNA (his grandfather Witold Sobocinski shot “Frantic,” starring Harrison Ford, and his father, Piotr, shot “Ransom” for Ron Howard) and just lensed two of the biggest features in Poland last year: thriller “Konwoj” and “The Art of Loving,” a true story about Poland’s most famous sexologist.
Up Next: Mitchell Travers (Costume Designer)
Travers honed his skills as an assistant costume designer on such movies as “The Bourne Legacy,” “Joy” and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” as well as TV shows (“30 Rock,” “SNL”) before making the jump to associate costume designer on the all-female reboot “Ocean’s Eight,” Bo Burnham’s “Coolest Girl in the World” and Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories.”