Dublin-based graphic designer slept through winning Oscar

Annie Atkins was part of team which won Oscar for ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’

Annie Atkins has said she slept through the news of her team's prestigious award. The Dublin-based graphic designer was part of the team that won an academy award for Best Production Design for their work on The Grand Budapest Hotel.

She opted to watch the Academy Awards at her parents' house in Wales on Sunday night. "The graphic designers never go to the Oscars," she said.

Ms Atkins told Today FM's Anton Savage that her father had cooked steak for dinner and they had champagne to mark the occasion. "Then we tried to stay up to watch most of it but we fell asleep," she said. "It was really late you know."

That was 2.30 am but her father had better stamina. “The next thing I knew, my dad was knocking on the door and it felt like the middle of the night and he said ‘I’m just warning you, it’s very early – it’s six o’ clock in the morning – but you’ve won the Oscar’ . I was so confused.”


Asked if she ran around the house screaming, she said: “Kind of, and the dog was running around...he was totally aware.”

Speaking later to The Irish Times, she said her mobile phone had not stopped ringing since the news broke.

She said it was a wonderful experience to work on the movie with Wes Anderson and the cast and crew. The film was shot over one snowy winter on the German-Polish border . "I knew it would be a really special film because Wes Anderson is such a special director and he makes such beautiful things but I don't think I realised exactly how beautiful it was going to be and what an experience it was going to be," she said.

“We were all snowed in there together for the winter, all the cast and crew. It was really magical.”

Working with Wes Anderson and production designer Adam Stockhausen, she created all the graphic props and set-pieces for the State of Zubrowka – the fictitious European country in the movie. Her work included printed materials such as telegrams, newspaper headlines, menus and the cake boxes from the bakery.

She also hand-lettered the signage for the Grand Budapest Hotel and created the book that opens the movie. After the shooting ended, she worked remotely with the film director on the poster and the titles.

Wes Anderson’s movie also won awards for best costume design, best make-up and hair and best original score. “It’s so exciting. It really is,” she said.

Ms Atkins said she had just finished working on Stephen Spielberg's new Cold War spy thriller. Part of her work for that movie involved making neon shopfront signs and fake passports . Her other film and television work includes The Boxtrolls and Penny Dreadful and she's working on a new PlayStation 4 game.

Adam Stockhausen and set decorator Anna Pinnock were awarded the Oscar but she said she had heard she might get a certificate as part of the team. "I'm still not entirely how it works but the award is shared," she said.

Alison Healy

Alison Healy

Alison Healy is a contributor to The Irish Times