Vintage Glamour Flavors Award Show

Jan 20, 2008  •  Post A Comment

For the SAG Awards show, everything new is old again. The Screen Actors Guild celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, and in the wake of the writers strike, it might offer the only old-fashioned glamour of the awards season.
In keeping with the anniversary celebration, executive producer Jeff Margolis, who celebrates a decade as executive producer and also directs for the third year running, said the show is designed to emulate the ambience of 1930s Hollywood, “the Golden Age of the Hollywood movie palace.”
“The set designers have designed brand-new sets to resemble a room from the 1930s,” Mr. Margolis said, “and we’re having a beautifully appointed dinner with the tablecloths and chairs and even the silver to evoke the ’30s.”
While the actors show might be the most glamorous, it’s also “the shortest awards show on television,” he said, adding that its time restriction “gives it a kind of energy and makes it an exciting evening.”
The show is again being simulcast on TNT and TBS, and Kathy Connell, who has produced the show since its inception 14 years ago, returns as producer for Jeff Margolis Productions. In fact, Mr. Margolis said, most of his team has been with him for years. “When I first took over the show,” he said, “I assembled a group of people I thought would be passionate about the project and the idea behind it. Everybody who works on the show doesn’t call it work.”
Many members of the creative team—which includes Peabody Award-winning writer Stephen Pouliot (SAG requested, and received, a waiver from the Writers Guild in December for Mr. Pouliot’s services)—also work with Mr. Margolis on other projects during the year. Most of them are behind-the-scenes stars in their own right. Production designers John Shaffner (the newly elected chair of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Board of Governors) and Joe Stewart (also on the Board of Governors, representing art directors and set directors) have returned for the fifth time to design the sets; together they have 29 Emmy nominations.
Returning lighting designer Jeffrey Engel is an Emmy winner who has nabbed 21 nominations, two of them for Academy Awards shows directed by Mr. Margolis. And award-winning art director Keaton S. Walker, who has served in that capacity for the Academy Awards show for 25 years, makes his 11th appearance here.
The grand entrance and showroom decor is again designed by Keith Greco, who also designed the Primetime Emmys’ Governors Ball and the Los Angeles premiere for Cirque du Soleil’s “Corteo” at the Forum. The design team has put together a set that includes fluted columns, art deco friezes and chandeliers and Regency wallpaper reminiscent of the 1930s.
The show will include three tribute packages, Mr. Margolis said, including one for Charles Durning, this year’s recipient of the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award; the tribute will be produced by Douglas M. Stewart Jr., a veteran of 12 Emmy shows and 26 Oscar telecasts. Quinn Monahan, who has created film packages for both the Television and Motion Picture academies, will produce the SAG anniversary tribute. The third tribute, “In Memoriam,” will be produced by Paul Fagen, who has created celebrity tributes for the American Film Institute and the Sundance Ray-Ban Visionary Awards.
SAG Awards committee founding members Yale Summers, Daryl Anderson and Paul Napier, along with returning committee members Shelley Fabares and JoBeth Williams, will produce the show for the Screen Actors Guild. Gloria Fujita O’Brien and Mick McCullough return as supervising producers for Jeff Margolis Productions.
SAG Awards events supervisor Andrea Wyn Schall again coordinates the logistics of the evening, which includes dinner for 1,100.
Emmy Award-winning composer and conductor Lenny Stack returns as musical director for the show, as do SAG’s executive in charge of production, Benn Fleishman, and Maggie Barrett Caulfield, executive in charge of talent.
This is the first time the SAG Awards show will be televised in high-definition, Mr. Margolis said. “Technology’s evolving so fast,” he said, “and this year it means a lot of adjusting. Because of hi-def, everything will have a richer look. The women will look prettier and the men will look more handsome. But it means a lot of adjusting to the new technology.”
The show, which takes place in the Shrine Auditorium Expo Room, takes “about three months to mount,” Mr. Margolis said, “but we spend at least 11 months talking about it. Every year there’s something new. Nobody says, ‘This is how we did it last year’; everybody opens their brains to trying it a new way this time around.”


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