‘The Great Gatsby, ‘Moulin Rouge!’ Oscar Winner Catherine Martin To Be Honored With Australia’s Highest Cinema Award

Oscar and Bafta-winning costume, production and set designer and producer Catherine Martin is to be honored by the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) with the body’s most prestigious award, the Longford Lyell Award.

Martin is the most awarded Australian in Oscar history with four Oscars, five BAFTAs, a Tony Award and five AFI, three AACTAs and the Byron Kennedy Award.

I am humbled and honoured to be this year’s recipient of the Longford Lyle Award,” said Martin.

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“To be recognized by one’s peers in one’s home country is profoundly meaningful. Australia, with its myriad filmmaking opportunities and wonderful talents, has been extraordinarily fertile soil for my body of work, and for this, I am truly grateful.”

First presented in 1968, the Longford Lyell Award honours Australian film pioneer Raymond Longford and his partner in filmmaking and life, Lottie Lyell.

The Award is the highest honour that the Australian Academy can bestow upon an individual and recognizes a person who has made a truly outstanding contribution to the enrichment of Australia’s screen environment and culture while raising global awareness about Australia’s thriving film industry.

“The award also resonates with me personally as its namesakes were, as Baz and I am, both partners in life and art,” said Martin, referring to husband and long-time collaborator Baz Luhrmann, who she met while studying design at Australia’s National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA).

“I often joke that we are just getting started, so I hope this ‘lifetime achievement award’ is not a full stop, but a comma; heralding the beginning of new and exciting creative adventures to be shared with both long-time collaborators and new artists alike, in front of and behind the camera.”

Catherine Martin has worked alongside Oscar-nominated director, producer and writer, Luhrmann, for 30 years.  

Their first collaboration on a feature film was on Strictly Ballroom in 1992, for which she won two Australian Film Institute Awards (AFI) for Best Production Design and Best Costume Design. They then went on to create the first of the Red Curtain Trilogy Romeo + Juliet for which Catherine won an Oscar for Best Production Design. 

In 2001, Catherine designed the sets and co-designed the costumes with Angus Straithie for Moulin Rouge! and took home two Oscars. Catherine won Broadway’s 2003 Tony Award for Best Scenic Design of a Musical for her work on Luhrmann’s Broadway adaptation of La Bohème.

In 2008 Martin reunited with Nicole Kidman on the visually breathtaking Australia, for which she won two shared AFI Awards for Best Production Design and Best Costume Design with ElizaGodman.

Martin oversaw the construction of 42 sets over 14 weeks on The Great Gatsby, earning her two Academy Awards, two BAFTAs and two AACTA Awards for Costume Design and Production Design which she shared with Beverly Dunn.

This year saw the release of  biopic of the King, Elvis Presley, Elvis which is nominated for 15 AACTA Awards including for Best Film, Best Direction, Best Lead Actor and Martin is nominated for Best Costume Design and Best Production Design alongside Karen Murphy and Beverley Dunn.

“For more than three decades, Catherine Martin has been injecting colour and life onto our screens through visionary artistry and experimental designs,” said AACTA CEO, Damian Trewhella.

“Receiving the Byron Kennedy Award from the Australian Film Institute in 1999 and now the Longford Lyell Award, 23 years later, exemplifies the dedication she has for her craft. Catherine is held in the highest regard by her peers and audiences globally and the Australian Academy is proud to honour her relentless work and outstanding contribution to the industry.

The Longford Lyell Award will be presented at the 2022 AACTA Awards on December 7.

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