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Art Directors Give Life Achievement Award to Patricia Norris

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood November 22, 2010 at 10:30AM

One of the bonuses of award season is the guild award shows that honor the greats of the past along with the present.
Thompson on Hollywood
Thompson on Hollywood

One of the bonuses of award season is the guild award shows that honor the greats of the past along with the present.

The Art Directors Guild, for example, will give its lifetime achievement award on February 11 at the Beverly Hilton to Oscar-winning nominated production and costume designer Patricia Norris, who designed costumes for Blake Edwards' Victor, Victoria (pictured) and Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven as well as many David Lynch films, including Elephant Man.

She's the second woman to win the honor; other winners include production designers Ken Adam, Robert Boyle, Henry Bumstead, Stuart Craig, Terence Marsh, Harold Michelson, Paul Sylbert and Dean Tavoularis.


Norris began her career in the film industry as a stock girl in the wardrobe department at MGM Studios and worked her way up to become one of the industry’s most respected craft persons. In announcing this honor, ADG President Walsh said, “Patricia is one of only a very few American designers who have been able to successfully combine the dual practices of production and costume design for film and television.” She holds dual production and costume design credits for works such as Amos & Andrew (1993), The Journey of August King (1995), The Hi-Lo Country (1998), Delivering Milo (2001), The Assassination of Jesse James (2007) and The Singing Detective (2003).

With more than two decades of collaboration with director David Lynch, Norris has worked on such Lynch classics as Wild at Heart (1990), Lost Highway (1997) and the pilot for Twin Peaks (1990) that won her an Emmy® for Outstanding Art Direction. Nominated five times for an Academy Award® for her costume design in films that include Sunset (1988), The Elephant Man (1980) and Days of Heaven (1978), Norris will be the second woman to be awarded ADG’s Lifetime Achievement Award (Jan Scott was the first in 2001). Walsh further noted, “By celebrating Patricia’s life and career the Guild reaffirms the hopes of every young designer regardless of their background or gender, encouraging them to pursue their dreams and overcome the status quo in the pursuit of their creative aspirations.”

The ADG Award nominatons will be announced on January 5, 2011. The ADG will present the award winners in nine competitive categories for theatrical films, television productions and commercials, as well as the Guild’s award for Outstanding Contribution to Cinematic Imagery and three Hall of Fame inductees, Alexander Golitizen, Albert Heschong and Eugène Lourié.

This article is related to: Awards

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.