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And the Oscar goes to . . the study at the top of the house because my wife says that it's much too tacky to keep downstairs.


AS RUSSELL Crowe and Julia Roberts discovered in Los Angeles on Sunday night, it's an unforgettable experience to walk down the red carpet and collect a gleaming Academy Award. JO MERRETT and CLARE GOLDWIN talked to previous British Oscar-winners about their own memorable night - and asked what they did with that prized statuette.

KEVIN MACDONALD: Best Documentary 2000

KEVIN Macdonald, 32, won the Best Documentary Oscar last year for One Day In September. He is married and lives in Tufnell Park, North London.

I'M forced to keep my Oscar in my study at the top of the house because my wife Tatania thinks it's ugly.

I'd like to have it in the lounge, but it's coated in a kind of plastic which makes it look really tacky, so she won't let me put it on display.

Except when we moved house last year - she thought it might persuade people to buy into the lifestyle and make an offer on the flat.

Nobody commented. They probably thought it was a fake and it was really sad of us. You'd think it had magical powers. On Oscar night, everyone wanted to touch it, and my friends always want to see it.

It was the first time I'd mixed with the stars. I was just an ordinary English bloke who made documentaries. At the nominations lunch, I found myself sat between Harvey Keitel and Jack Nicholson. We just chatted - small talk, about my family, LA, the weather.

We went on to the Vanity Fair party, but I was amazed how small the restaurant was. I was shoulder-to-shoulder with Robin Williams, Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise.

Winning is a dream aspiration, but now I've won I am much less interested in work. I feel as if I've done it now.

LINDY HEMMING: Best Costume Design 2000

LINDY Hemming, 51, won the Best Costume Oscar in 2000 for her period designs in Mike Leigh's Topsy-Turvy. Lindy is from West Wales, but divides her time between her London and Italian homes with her partner Bob Starrett.

I OCCASIONALLY keep my Oscar in the living-room, but it's mainly in the office. It's not always plainly in sight, but it's not pushed to one side or stuck behind the door. I sometimes allow myself a peek at it.

I took it to show my friends and family and all my colleagues. I wanted everyone who had helped in the production to be able to see it and hold it.

In LA, gifts kept arriving: flowers, champagne, chocolates. I wore a beautiful long silver embroidered robe, donated to me by two Indian designers, Abu Jani and Sandeep Khoslab.

Bob and I were met by screaming crowds. We huddled under an umbrella and whizzed past them while they were cheering for someone else.

When they read out my name, I was so excited. I didn't want to stand up in case I'd heard it incorrectly. My legs were shaking like jelly.

Faye Dunaway kept standing in front of us so we couldn't see. But Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law and Cate Blanchett came and offered their congratulations. At the Vanity Fair party, Peter Fonda gave us his bottle of champagne in the bar. I was a bit drunk and didn't recognise him.

BOB JONES: Best Sound Recording 1968

BOB Jones, 80, won the Best Sound Recording Oscar in 1968 for the classic musical hit Oliver! while he was working at Shepperton Film Studios in Surrey. He lives in Staines, Middlesex.

I STARTED my career in 1936 and worked at Shepperton until the studio closed in 1974. None of us on the sound team went to the ceremony.

Somebody from the film company collected it for us - I can't remember who - and somebody else brought it back to Shepperton.

It never crossed our minds to go, and I don't regret it. I don't like fuss, and glamour means nothing to me.

We were working on our next film by the time the Oscars came round, and we would have lost too much time if we had flown to America.

When you are recording an orchestra of 100 musicians it is expensive to stop work for a few days, so I don't suppose the studio would have let us go.

The Oscar was the third we had won - one of the others was for Lawrence Of Arabia in 1962. Really, when we won for Oliver! it was getting rather monotonous...

We didn't go to the ceremonies for the other two, either, but I do recall that David Niven carried one back to Britain for us.

We used to display the three Oscars in a glass case in the foyer of Shepperton.

When the studio closed in the Seventies, the other two went to the widow of the head of sound, John Cox.

I kept the one we won for Oliver! and I display it on the sideboard at home. My five grandchildren and great-grandson love it.

COLIN CHILVERS: Best Special Effects 1978

COLIN Chilvers, 56, won Special Effects in 1978 for Superman while at Pinewood Studios. Born in London, he lived in Hollywood in the 1980s before moving to Toronto, where he runs his own special effects company. He is also a member of the Academy and judged this year's films.

TO BE a recipient is incredible. I was given my Oscar by Steve Martin, who presented again this year, and backstage afterwards I met two movie greats - John Wayne, who shook my hand, and Audrey Hepburn.

But I got a bit of shock when I returned to my seat, as there was someone sitting in it. I didn't realise extras were bussed in to make sure there were no empty places for the cameras.

There were six of us on the special- effects team for Superman. I was responsible for the scene where Superman bores his way into the ground. And I got him to fly. You wouldn't believe what I put Christopher Reeve through.

At the Oscars we were treated like stars. They took us to Disneyland, made sure we were wined and dined and arranged for a stretch limo take us to the ceremony. Unusually, we knew we were winners before the ceremony. Superman was judged the only movie whose special effects were of a high enough standard to deserve an award.

I believe that winning an Academy Award made my career, and the statuette has followed me round the world ever since. It has pride of place at my home in an antique cabinet.

I speak to groups of school kids about my work, and they can't believe it when they get to touch the Oscar.

And now my nephew, Neil Corbould, has won the Oscar for visual effects on Gladiator. I'm delighted for him. He's allowed to win it now because he's older than I was when I won mine.

TREFOR PROUD: Best Make-Up 2000

TREFOR Proud won Best Make-Up last year for his artistic skills in Mike Leigh's Topsy-Turvy, sharing the award with partner Christine Blundell. He lives in North London.

THE biggest shock I got was with the reactions of people I barely knew.

People in the shops near my work were really sarcastic about my win and made fun of it to my face. I guess it was just jealousy.

The aftermath of winning was quite funny. I expected to be flooded with offers of work, but there was a lull.

I was like: "Why are people not ringing me to offer me work now I've got an Oscar?" It was a few months before work came rolling in.

I keep it on my mantelpiece. It is insured, but if I go away I always put it in a safe.

It's easy enough to keep clean - I give it a quick rub over when I'm putting the duster round.

When friends come round for the first time or if I have new visitors, they always make a beeline for the statue.

Most people are afraid to touch it, but I tell them: "You can pick it up if you want." I'm not precious about it.

I've worked on good films since I won, including The Cat's Miaow with Hollywood director Peter Bogdanovich.

I'm due to work on another film with Uma Thurman - I saw her on Oscar night. She came up and threw her arms around me, saying: "Hello, Tref, well done."

It's such a glamorous pocket of people all together in the one place. I felt like I'd been elevated to a completely different level.

Russell Crowe, whom I later worked with on Gladiator, introduced himself and said how pleased he was. He introduced me to Warren Beatty, and Cameron Diaz - who is so lovely and beautiful it's sick-making - sought me out and gave me a big hug.

At the end of the awards there's a mad rush. The women head for the toilets to check their make-up and the men make straight for the bar.

It was late - in the early hours of the morning - when the Governor's Ball finished, and we were so tired that we headed back to the hotel.

JENNY BEAVAN: Best Costume Design 1986

JENNY Beavan won Best Costume Design in 1986 for her work on A Room With A View. She was presented with the award with her co-costumier John Bright. She lives in Peckham, South East London, with her husband and her 15-year-old daughter Caitlin.

MY OSCAR means nothing much to me. I'm proud of it in a gentle way, but it really doesn't seem relevant. There are some amazing works that never even get nominated because they have not been pushed by the promoters.

The whole thing is irrelevant in the scheme of things. You can have five Oscars, but if you make a muck-up of one film that's it and it can all be over.

Instead of getting a lot of job offers, people thought that I'd immediately become more expensive and I didn't hear anything for about six months.

Having said that, in America having an Oscar really seems to help. When I'm sending a CV to the States they take notice of it.

I keep the statue on my desk in my private work-room. I couldn't have my Oscar sitting in the living-room. It's on my desk with a BAFTA. I don't use it as a paper-weight or anything, and it doesn't get pushed to one side. Guests and friends always ask to see it. They are amazed how heavy it is. I'm currently working on a film in London called Gosford Park with director Robert Altman. I'm not that in awe about meeting famous people, because I've worked with so many lovely people - Maggie Smith, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, Christopher Reeve, bless him. I went to the Governor's Ball but afterwards went back to the hotel. I've never been into the party scene.

I honestly can't say my Oscar is the thing I'm most proud of. That would have to be my daughter. She's my best production ever.


THE DREAM: Kevin Macdonald on Oscar night 2000 and at home in London; JOY: Lindy clutching the prized statuette last year - and at her home in Italy; CORNERED: The Oscar Bob didn't go to pick up watches over family snaps; GLAD: Colin in his studio in Canada; MR PROUD: Trefor at home (above right) and accepting the Oscar last year; DESK JOB: Jenny Beavan and Oscar
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Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 29, 2001

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