Former Birmingham student Judy Farr is on her way to next month’s Oscars – thanks to an unusual form of royal appointment.
The 12 Academy Award nominations announced this week for The King’s Speech included one for best achievement in her own speciality, art direction.
Ms Farr, who has a studio in Fenny Compton, Warwickshire, said she never had an inkling while working as a set decorator on the film, where she was responsible for interior design, that it could be nominated for a dozen Oscars.
“You can never tell,” she said. “Maybe all the angst and chaos you can have on a film has something to do with it.”
She spent five months working on The King’s Speech, which was partly shot in Burnley and at football stadiums in Leeds and Bradford.
“I was involved with the curtains, carpets, lights, furniture and action props, and Wyn Jenkins from Birmingham helped with some of the microphones in various props.”
Ms Farr said she will be taking colleague Corina Burrough to the ceremony instead of husband Hilary Birkbeck, a product and furniture designer based at the same company, 61-54 Design.
“I’ve never been to LA. It’s a place I’ve never wanted to go to, but now I’m really looking forward to the Oscars, even though I was supposed be on the set of Downtown Abbey the next day,” she added.
Ms Farr, who spent the early 1980s studying theatre design at the former Birmingham Polytechnic site in Gosta Green, has a catalogue of films under her belt.
“I used to help out at the Rep on Christmas shows and work part time at the Prince of Wales pub in Cambridge Street, where the staff would go after the show,” she said.
Her CV includes Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, Hannibal Rising, Shine, Eastern Promises and the forthcoming remake of Conan The Barbarian with Ron Pearlman.
During her career, she has worked on productions in France, Italy, Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, Ireland, Borneo, Morocco, Iceland, Finland and Sweden.
The other films nominated in the art direction category are Inception, True Grit, Alice in Wonderland and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – the last two star Helena Bonham Carter who has been nominated for best supporting actress for The King’s Speech.
The Awards will be announced on Sunday, February 27.