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Out lesbian set decorator takes home Oscar for ‘Mank’

Set decorator Jan Pascale thanked her wife in her acceptance speech at the 93rd Academy Awards.

Production designer Donald Graham Burt and set decorator Jan Pascale took home Oscars for Production Design on Mank, on Sunday. The film also took out the award for Best Cinematography.

This win is Burt’s second, after The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. For Jan Pascale, who was the set decorator for Sicario, Argo, and the upcoming Top Gun: Maverick, it was her first Oscar win. She was previously nominated in 2006, for George Clooney’s Good Night, and Good Luck.

Pascale delivered a heartfelt speech on behalf of herself and Burt, who she thanked “for trusting me with this amazing project” — she also thanked director David Fincher, producer Ceán Chaffin, her perfectionist crew, and those who had supported her throughout her career, which began in TV in the 1980s. But the capstone of her speech was her gratitude to her wife, who was in the audience.

“When I was young, I never realized that this was a career that was even a possibility. There were so many people who helped me along the way, and guided me, and I’m so grateful to all of them, and especially to my wife, Louise, who inspires me every day.”

Pascale and Burt have done very well this awards season, winning awards at the the Art Directors Guild Award for Excellence in Production Design, the inaugural Set Decorators Society of America Awards, a prestigious BAFTA Award and a Critics’ Choice Award. At the Oscars, Burt and Pascale beat out a tough field including Christopher Nolan’s Tenet .

Donald Graham and Jan Pascale pose backstage with the Oscar® for Production Design during the live ABC Telecast of The 93rd Oscars® at Union Station in Los Angeles, CA on Sunday, April 25, 2021. | Matt Petit / A.M.P.A.S.

Mank , which is currently streaming on Netflix, was nominated for a total of 10 Oscars, including Best Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actress, Cinematography, Costume Design, Makeup and Hairstyling, Sound and Original Score. The black and white film takes place in 1930s Old Hollywood and focuses on the career of screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman), who is battling with alcoholism as he struggles to finish writing one of the greatest films of all time, Citizen Kane.

In her post-acceptance interview, Pascale revealed it had been “daunting” trying to recreate the magnificence of newspaper titan William Randolph Heart’s estate San Simeon, but that she loved working on period films. “That’s my favorite,” she said.

Queer Forty Staff

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