Oscar Artists: Stern, Tom (Changeling and Other Eastwood Films)

TOM STERN, Director of Photography of Sully, earned both Oscar and BAFTA Award nominations for Best Cinematography for his work on Clint Eastwood’s drama Changeling.

Stern, who has enjoyed a long association with Eastwood, more recently lensed Eastwood’s Oscar nominated film “American Sniper” and his big-screen version of the musical “Jersey Boys.”  He also served as the cinematographer on Eastwood’s “J. Edgar”; “Hereafter”; “Invictus”; “Gran Torino”; the World War II dramas “Flags of Our Fathers” and “Letters from Iwo Jima”; the Oscar-winning dramas “Million Dollar Baby” and “Mystic River.”

Eastwood’s “Blood Work” marked Tom Stern’s first film as a director of photography.

His collaborations with other directors include “Ceasefire,” for director Emmanuel Courcol; “Broken Horses,” for director Vidhu Vinod Chopra; “Sleepless Night,” from Frédéric Jardin; and the worldwide blockbuster “The Hunger Games.”  He also shot Rob Lorenz’s “Trouble with the Curve,” Pavel Lungin’s “Tsar,” Susanne Bier’s “Things We Lost in the Fire,” Christophe Barratier’s “Paris 36,” Alison Eastwood’s “Rails & Ties,” Tony Goldwyn’s “The Last Kiss,” John Turturro’s “Romance & Cigarettes,” Scott Derrickson’s “The Exorcism of Emily Rose,” and Rowdy Herrington’s “Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius.”

A 40-year industry veteran, Stern has worked with Eastwood for more than three decades, going back to when Stern was a gaffer on such films as “Honkytonk Man,” “Sudden Impact,” “Tightrope,” “Pale Rider” and “Heartbreak Ridge.”

As the chief lighting technician at Malpaso Productions, he worked on a wide range of films, including Eastwood’s “The Rookie,” “Unforgiven,” “A Perfect World,” “True Crime” and “Space Cowboys.”  As a chief lighting technician, he also teamed with such directors as Michael Apted on “Class Action,” and Sam Mendes on “Road to Perdition” and the Oscar-winning “American Beauty,” among others.

JAMES J. MURAKAMI (Production Designer) was honored in 2008 with Oscar and BAFTA Award nominations for his work as the production designer on Clint Eastwood’s period drama “Changeling,” set in 1928.

His production designs on that film, as well as Eastwood’s “Gran Torino,” were nominated for Art Director’s Guild Awards in the period and contemporary categories, respectively.  He more recently worked with the director on “American Sniper,” for which he also received an Art Director’s Guild Award nomination.  He also served as the production designer on the big-screen version of the musical “Jersey Boys,” and the dramas “Hereafter,” “Invictus” and “J. Edgar.”

Murakami’s first film with Eastwood as a production designer was the acclaimed World War II drama “Letters from Iwo Jima.”  He had previously collaborated with Eastwood’s longtime production designer Henry Bumstead, first as a set designer on “Unforgiven” and later as an art director on “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.”

Murakami was the production designer on Rob Lorenz’s “Trouble with the Curve,” starring Eastwood, and Alison Eastwood’s directorial debut feature, “Rails & Ties.”

In 2005, Murakami won an Emmy Award for his work as an art director on the acclaimed HBO series “Deadwood.”  He had earned his first Emmy Award nomination for his art direction on the series Western the year prior.

His many feature film credits as an art director include the Tony Scott films “Enemy of the State,” “Crimson Tide,” “True Romance” and “Beverly Hills Cop II”; David Fincher’s “The Game”; Peter Hyams’ “The Relic”; Martin Brest’s “Midnight Run” and “Beverly Hills Cop”; Barry Levinson’s “The Natural,” for which he received an Oscar nomination; and John Badham’s “WarGames.”  He also served as a set designer on such films as “The Scorpion King,” “The Princess Diaries,” “The Postman,” “Head Above Water,” “I Love Trouble” and “Sneakers.”

BLU MURRAY (Editor) began his career as a production assistant for the sound department on Clint Eastwood’s 2002 crime thriller “Bloodwork,” followed by his 2003 Oscar nominated “Mystic River.”  In 2004, Murray was hired as an assistant sound editor on the director’s Oscar-winning “Million Dollar Baby.”

In 2005, he joined Eastwood’s editing crew on “Flags of our Fathers,” becoming first assistant editor on the Oscar-nominated “Letters from Iwo Jima.”

Murray was also first assistant editor on Eastwood’s “Changeling,” “Gran Torino,”  “Invictus,” “Hereafter,” “J. Edgar,” “Jersey Boys” and, most recently, the Oscar-nominated “American Sniper.”

Murray was also an assistant editor on John Bonito’s “The Marine” and Pitof’s “Catwoman,” and a first assistant editor on Alison Eastwood’s “Rails & Ties” and Rob Lorenz’s “Trouble with the Curve,” starring Eastwood and Amy Adams.

Murray’s other credits include associate editor on the TV movie “Dave Brubeck: In His Own Sweet Way” and the TV series “American Masters.”

DEBORAH HOPPER (Costume Designer) has worked with filmmaker Clint Eastwood for over 30 years.  Recently, Hopper and Eastwood were honored with The Most Distinguished Collaborators Award by the Costume Designers Guild.  Hopper previously earned a Costume Designers Guild Award nomination, as well as a BAFTA Award nomination, for her period costumes for Eastwood’s true-life drama “Changeling,” starring Angelina Jolie.  In addition, Hopper was named Costume Designer of the Year at the 2008 Hollywood Film Festival.

Hopper also recently designed the costumes for Eastwood’s “American Sniper,” starring Bradley Cooper; “Jersey Boys”; “J. Edgar,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role; the contemporary drama “Gran Torino,” which Eastwood starred in and directed; and “Invictus,” starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon.  Hopper also designed the costumes for the Eastwood-directed films “Hereafter,” “Letters from Iwo Jima,” “Flags of Our Fathers,” “Million Dollar Baby,” “Mystic River,” “Blood Work” and “Space Cowboys.”

She began her association with Eastwood as the woman’s costume supervisor on the 1984 film “Tightrope,” which Eastwood produced and starred in.  She held the same post on the films “The Rookie,” “Pink Cadillac,” “The Dead Pool,” “Bird,” “Heartbreak Ridge” and “Pale Rider,” before overseeing all costumes on Eastwood’s “True Crime,” “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” and “Absolute Power.”

Earlier in her career, she won an Emmy for her work on “Shakedown on the Sunset Strip,” a telefilm set in the 1950s.

CHRISTIAN JACOB and THE TIERNEY SUTTON BAND (Composers) showcase the breathtaking range of tonal colors and emotional nuances that Tierney Sutton can produce with her voice.  A seven-time Grammy nominee, Sutton has received nominations for every project she has released in the last decade.  Her new album, The Sting Variations, is an adventurous and innovative take on the songbook of one of pop music’s most celebrated tunesmiths, Gordon Sumner, a.k.a. Sting.  Recorded with her longtime ensemble, the Tierney Sutton Band, the album amply demonstrates not only Sutton’s mastery of the jazz vocal idiom, but also her ability to push the boundaries of jazz repertoire.

Growing up in Milwaukee, Sutton fell in love with music at an early age and went on to study jazz at both Wesleyan and the Berklee College of Music.  She put together the Tierney Sutton Band in 1993, shortly after moving to Los Angeles.  It was a true meeting of kindred spirits.

Coming from a background that combines studies in classical music and jazz, French-born pianist Christian Jacob has worked with jazz legends such as Maynard Ferguson, Flora Purim, Airto Moreira, Randy Brecker, Miroslav Vitous and Bill Holman, among others, before joining forces with Tierney.  He has amassed an impressive catalog of recordings as band leader as well.  Also a Maynard Ferguson alumnus, drummer Ray Brinker’s resume boasts an eclectic cross-section of jazz, rock and pop work with artists including Joe Cocker, Pat Benatar, David Lee Roth, Woody Herman, Ray Charles, Norah Jones, Dianna Krall, Natalie Cole and many others.  Brinker is no stranger to film and TV work either, having contributed to the music for features such as “Shrek,” “Ray,” “Chicken Run,” “Dear God” and “Assault on Precinct 13.”