31st Annual Artios Awards Honor Casting’s Best

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Winners of the Casting Society of America’s top honors were announced Jan. 21 in both New York City and Los Angeles. The 31st annual Artios Awards recognized the best casting directors in the biz, spanning film, television, Web series, and theater.

On hand to present the awards were America Ferrera, Finn Wittrock, William H. Macy, Jay Duplass, Neil Brown Jr., and host Greg Grunberg on the west coast, and Jeff Daniels, Christian Slater, Annaleigh Ashford, Jake Lacy, David Hyde Pierce, Kal Penn, Rachel Dratch, and host Tituss Burgess on the east coast.

Straight Outta Compton” took home the Feature Film Big Budget Drama award for CDs Cindy Tolan and Victoria Thomas, location CDs Meagan Lewis, Beth Sepko, Carolyn Pickman, Lucinda Syson, Pat Moran, and associate Judith Sunga. It was a good night for Tolan, who also won New York Broadway Theatre award for the drama “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” Lewis and Pickman were also part of the teams who won for Feature Film Big Budget Comedy winner “The Big Short” and Television Movie or Mini Series winner “Olive Kitteridge,” respectively.

Angela Demo took home statues for both Feature Film Low Budget Drama “The Stanford Prison Experiment” and Feature Film Studio or Independent Comedy “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.” Also among the film honorees were Kevin Reher and Natalie Lyon for “Inside Out,” Kim Coleman for “Dope,” and Fiona Weir, Robin D. Cook, Kathleen Chopin, and Jonathan Oliveira for “Room.”

On the TV side, Leah Daniels-Butler earned the Television Pilot Drama award along with Claire Simon and Shelby Cherniet for “Empire,” and Eyde Belasco was recognized twice for casting comedy series “Transparent,” the cast of which celebrated at the west coast ceremony. Among the theater honorees were Jim Carnahan and Jillian Cimini for Broadway’s comedy “You Can’t Take it With You” and the touring production of “Matilda the Musical.” Tara Rubin was honored for both New York’s “Clinton The Musical” and the west coast production of “Othello” at San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre.

“It’s one of the great, still unacknowledged elements in making a film,” said Career Achievement Award recipient Danny Boyle on the red carpet in L.A. “Almost your most important relationship is with the casting director because that’s where you begin.... Ninety percent of the work of a film is decided by casting; I really believe that.” Boyle was later presented with the award by his “Steve Jobs” collaborator Aaron Sorkin.

Michelle and Robert King, the creative minds behind CBS’ “The Good Wife,” were given the New York City Apple Award to recognize their contribution to the NYC entertainment industry. In a surprise appearance on the east coast, Julianna Margulies introduced the writers by joking to the crowd of CDs, “They think I’m here for them. But I’m unemployed come April and I think you haven’t seen me in a while, at least not in person.

“Every day I am aware of how lucky we are to do this show in New York,” she continued. “Thanks to Robert and Michelle there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t literally fall all over myself as I walk into the hair and makeup room and see who I get to act with.... Great actors are attracted to great writing.”

Receiving the evening’s top honor was casting veteran Bernard Telsey, who accepted the award on the west coast from one of his many muses, Sarah Paulson. Telsey took home the Hoyt Bowers Award, which honors “esteemed casting professionals who have elevated the casting profession by embodying the unique spirit” of the award’s renowned namesake.

See the full list of Artios winners below.

Feature Film Big Budget Comedy
“The Big Short,” Francine Maisler, Meagan Lewis (Location Casting)

Feature Film Big Budget Drama
“Straight Outta Compton,” Cindy Tolan, Victoria Thomas, Meagan Lewis (Location Casting), Beth Sepko (Location Casting), Carolyn Pickman (Location Casting), Lucinda Syson (Location Casting), Pat Moran (Location Casting), Judith Sunga (Associate)

Feature Film Studio or Independent Comedy
“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” Angela Demo, Nancy Mosser (Location Casting), Katie Shenot (Location Casting)

Feature Film Studio or Independent Drama
“Room,” Fiona Weir, Robin D. Cook, Kathleen Chopin (Location Casting), Jonathan Oliveira (Associate)

Feature Film Low Budget Comedy
“Dope,” Kim Coleman

Feature Film Low Budget Drama
“The Stanford Prison Experiment,” Angela Demo Feature

Film Animation
“Inside Out,” Kevin Reher, Natalie Lyon

Television Pilot Comedy
“Transparent,” Eyde Belasco

Television Pilot Drama
“Empire,” Leah Daniels-Butler, Claire Simon (Location Casting), Shelby Cherniet (Associate)

Television Series Comedy
“Transparent,” Eyde Belasco

Television Series Drama
“Game of Thrones,” Nina Gold

Television Movie or Mini Series
“Olive Kitteridge,” Laura Rosenthal, Carolyn Pickman (Location Casting), Maribeth Fox (Associate), Jodi Angstreich (Associate)

Children’s Pilot and Series (Live Action)
“Girl Meets World,” Sally Stiner, Barbie Block, Brett Greenstein, Collin Daniel, Howard Meltzer, Sherie Hernandez (Associate)

Television Animation (Adult)
“Bob’s Burgers,” Julie Ashton-Barson

Television Animation (Children)
“Bubble Guppies,” Michelle Levitt, Gene Vassilaros, Shiondre Austin (Associate), Danielle Pretsfelder (Associate)

Web Series
“Deadbeat,” Jessica Daniels

Short Film
“Muted,” Robin Lippin

New York Broadway Theatre – Comedy
“You Can’t Take it With You,” Jim Carnahan, Jillian Cimini (Associate)

New York Broadway Theatre – Drama
“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” Daniel Swee, Cindy Tolan, Adam Caldwell (Associate)

New York Broadway Theatre – Musical
“The King and I,” Abbie Brady-Dalton

New York Theatre – Comedy
“A Month in the Country,” James Calleri, Paul Davis

New York Theatre – Drama
“Between Riverside and Crazy,” William Cantler, Karyn Casl (Associate)

New York Theatre – Musical
“Clinton The Musical,” Tara Rubin, Kaitlin Shaw

Regional Theatre East
“Carousel,” Jay Binder, Claire Simon (Location Casting), Becca McCracken (Associate)

Regional Theatre West
“Othello,” Tara Rubin

Los Angeles Theatre
“Spring Awakening,” Beth Lipari, Bruce H. Newberg

Special Theatrical Performance East
“Parade,” Craig Burns

Special Theatrical Performance West
“Unscreened Summer Series,” Meg Morman, Sunday Boling

Theatre Tours
“Matilda the Musical,” Jim Carnahan, Nora Brennan, Jillian Cimini

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Jack Smart
Jack Smart is the awards editor at Backstage, where he covers all things Emmy, SAG, Oscar, and Tony Awards. He also produces and hosts Backstage’s awards podcast “In the Envelope” and has interviewed some of the biggest stars of stage and screen.
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