NIDA acknowledges the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the lands on which we learn and tell stories, the Bidjigal, Gadigal, Dharawal and Dharug peoples, and we pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past and present.

dollar-line light

Catherine Martin wins Best Costume and Best Production Design in Film

IMAGE: Catherine Martin, courtesy of FOXTEL and AACTA.

At the 2022 AACTA Awards ceremony, NIDA alumna Catherine Martin won Best Costume and Best Production Design in Film for her incredible work on the worldwide hit Elvis and received the prestigious Longford Lyell Award, a lifetime achievement award for her outstanding contribution to the industry.

Read the incredibly inspiring acceptance speech below.

Wow. A lifetime achievement award! And to be reminded of all those wonderful, talented people I’ve had the extraordinary pleasure to work with. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

I would like to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of this land, and pay my respect to their Elders past, present and emerging. I would also like to acknowledge any First Nations people here with us tonight.

Thank you to the Australian Academy; this wonderful community of peers.

It’s a great honour to receive this award and be recognised for a body of work to which I have devoted my adult life. There is a personal dimension to the honour as well, in receiving an award named for Raymond Longford and Lottie Lyell, who were partners in work, art and in life. My own work is indivisible from my creative partnership with Baz Luhrmann, who has also been my husband of 25 years.

Creativity can be lonely, terrifying and overwhelming at times, and to have someone by your side to share the treacherous territory and unexpected twists and turns is an extraordinary gift. When Baz and I met in 1987 we started a creative conversation that continues ‘til this day, and that I hope will go on for a very long time to come.

I am so grateful for the extraordinary adventures we have shared in love and life and look forward to many, many, many more….

As the female half of my creative partnership, it was heartening to learn that Lottie Lyell was finally added to the name of this award a few years ago.

My own career has spanned a period of great progress for women in the arts and entertainment. I was particularly moved by Mandy Walker’s historic win on Monday, as the first woman to ever win the AACTA for cinematography. That glass ceiling still remains glaringly intact in the UK at the BAFTAs and in the US at the Oscars.

For my part, I am privileged to have risen alongside many, many talented and dedicated women, whose contributions are the backbone of Baz’s and my work:

Karen Murphy, Bev Dunn, Catherine Knapman, Bridget Brosch, Kym Barrett, Kerry Thompson, Julie Barton, Silvana Azzi, Nikki Di Falco, Siân Appelt, Rachael Fung, Lesley Vanderwalt, Popsy Albert, Carmen Pavlovic, Gail Berman… And this list is just the tip of the iceberg.

As a working mother, I also owe a great debt of gratitude to the incredible women who have been in my corner further away from the set, helping us to run our household, our company and raise our children:

Mary Jane Coy, Emma Johnson, Mandy Luhrmann, Natalie Ducki, Jackie Wilson, and so many others.

Many women are not as fortunate as I am, and this is why improving access to, and affordability of childcare is so important to help women throughout society fulfil their dreams and their potential inside and outside the home.

Without a doubt, Baz and I would agree that our greatest productions are the two exceptional young people sitting at my table tonight, Lilly and Egg. I love you and I am so proud of you both.

Family has always been central to both my personal and professional life. A loving and supportive brother, sisters-in-law, niece and nephew and, of course my parents, who are all here tonight. They have always been there for the good and the bad bits, so it’s very gratifying to have them here celebrating with me.

I feel the same about my Bazmark family. We all joke about how many “Bazmark babies” have been born on productions. Baz Luhrmann’s creative adventures tend to go on a bit, so in the course of just one movie, Elvis, our editor Jono and his wife Brydie, had not one but two children. Our newest addition, Gabriel Weiss, was born only a few weeks ago, joining his sister Stella in the family of our producing partner, Schuyler. We have always considered Bazmark to be a family business, and, as we’ve raised our children over the years, it’s been a pleasure to see our colleagues and dear friends raise their own families alongside us.

As well as the amazing women I mentioned earlier, I have had the stalwart support of some wonderful men: Bill Marron, Angus Strathie, Noel Staunton, John O’Connell, Anton Monsted, Schuyler Weiss, Chris Tangney, Craig Pearce, Paul Watters, Ian Gracie, Don McAlpine, Patrick McCormick, Frank McCabe, Angus Wilkinson, Fletcher Donohue, and the late David Crooks, just to name a few.

IMAGE: Catherine Martin, courtesy of FOXTEL and AACTA.

The past recipients of this award now span almost five decades of Australian cultural icons, and it is an honour to have my work considered part of this continuum of the Arts in this country. Government funded institutions like NIDA (where Baz and I both studied) and Federal and State funding for the arts are the foundations on which today’s vibrant arts and entertainment industries are built. To us, institutions like Screen Australia are more than just funding. They carry the torch for bringing our stories to the world and we consider people like Graeme Mason to be among our greatest supporters and true friends.

Honoured as I am, there’s just something odd about receiving a “lifetime achievement” award. Especially when you feel as I do, that you’re really just getting started.

However, I’m very excited to take my place in the future of this industry in Australia. It’s a vibrant future. A diverse future. A technicolor rainbow of a future. A future that I fundamentally believe is changing for the better. But as we celebrate the progress for which we’ve fought, we must also remain vigilant. Our advances are fragile, and we must never stop advocating for funding, advocating for diversity and equality and advocating, above all, for art.

Related News