U of G graduate wins Oscar
University of Guelph graduate Gordon Sim won an Oscar for Achievement in Art Direction for the movie Chicago. Sim, who studied drama at Guelph and graduated with a BA in 1974, was the set decorator for the 1920s musical that received a total of 13 nominations and six awards, including Best Picture.
Sim accepted his award with John Myhre, the art director for Chicago, at the March 23 Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles. Other nominees in the art direction category were Frida, Gangs of New York, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and Road to Perdition.
Sim was born and raised in St. Thomas, Ont., and worked with the Elgin Theatre Guild, the Stratford Festival, the Shaw Festival and Ottawa's National Arts Centre before focusing on television commercials and feature films in Toronto. His credits for set decoration include Al Pacino's Sea of Love and Norman Jewison's Hurricane.
As set decorator, Sim is responsible for bringing the production designer's vision to life. Sim had about $1 million to spend on Chicago's set decoration — from dishes, clothes, posters and books to the gold-fringed front curtain used in the movie's musical numbers. He ordered the $100,000 drape from Asia.
In a Canadian Press interview, Sim said his real challenge was to work on the two stylistic aspects of the movie once: "this normal story-movie with tons and tons of sets and then this fantasy stage performance and musical numbers."
Sim's Oscar statuette will make its home in his Toronto loft when he returns from Los Angeles.
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