Colleen Quinton of Catalina, Trinity Bay, has been nominated for an Emmy — a trophy touted as the highest award in television.
Quinton is nominated in the category of outstanding makeup for a mini-series or movie for her work on “The Pillars of the Earth.”
The eight-part mini-series aired on the Movie Network and Movie Central and is currently being repeated Tuesday nights on CBC.
Quinton describes “The Pillars of the Earth” as “the dark horse” in the nominations, having received seven nods including best mini-series.
The Canadian-German co-production (Muse Entertainment, Tandem Communications and Scott Free Films) was mainly filmed in Budapest, Hungary where Quinton is currently living while working on a sequel to “The Pillars of the Earth” called “World Without End.”
Both movies are based on novels by bestselling author Ken Follett.
During a telephone interview from Hungary, Quinton said she thought twice about taking the role, as “The Pillars of the Earth” lead makeup artist as it meant leaving Canada for six months to work in Hungary.
However, it was a story line and challenge she couldn’t refuse.
Set against the backdrop of war in the 12th century, the epic tale is about the religious strife and power struggles that unfold during the construction of a cathedral.
The international cast includes Canadian actors Donald Sutherland, Alison Pill and Newfoundland’s own Gordon Pinsent who plays the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Set in medieval times, actors age over a 50-year time span.
There were numerous crowd scenes, Quinton said, with as many as 150 extras who needed to go through makeup and hair for every shoot.
“We were in constant discussion about the creation of the characters and decided together what the look of a particular character would be. If the hair doesn’t work, then the makeup doesn’t work and vice versa,” she said.
Quinton credits the show’s directors, producers as well as her team of German makeup artists for her nomination.
“I could never do a show like that alone. I’m only as good as my team behind me.”
Quinton moved to Montreal at age 24 which kick-started her career in the film business. Over the last two decades she’s worked in 14 different countries while keeping Montreal as her home base.
Before moving to Hungary to work on “The Pillars of the Earth” she was in Brussels, Belgium, working on the feature film “The Expatriate,” starring Aaron Eckhart.
Quinton grew up in Catalina but comes from the Quinton family of merchants from Red Cliff, Bonavista Bay. She owns a home in Red Cliff.
Her mother and two brothers still live in this province.
“Newfoundland will always be home to me and maybe in the next five years I’ll end up living back down there,” she said.
In addition to the Emmy nomination, Quinton has also been nominated for a Gemini Award in the Best Achievement in Makeup Category for “The Pillars of the Earth.”
The mini-series received a total of 10 Gemini nominations.
The Gemini’s will be held in Toronto over three nights with the industry awards handed out on Aug. 30 and 31, followed by the red carpet gala on Sept. 7. The gala will be broadcast live on CBC.
The Primetime Creative Arts Emmys, which includes the award Quinton is up for, takes place Sept. 10 in Los Angeles.
“The Pillars of the Earth” isn’t the only mini-series with Canadian connections up for Emmy and Gemini Awards.
History Television’s “The Kennedys,” filmed in Toronto, has been nominated for 10 Emmy and 10 Gemini Awards.
When contacted via email about Quinton’s nominations, Pinsent said actors who arrive on a shoot the first day don’t expect to see people they know.
But when they see “the likes of Colleen” they can relax, he said.
“She has ‘done’ me since the ’80s; and without fail, my face is all the better for it.”
Pinsent said Quinton has learned her craft better than most makeup artists. Her professionalism is known and respected by all, he said.
“This Emmy nomination could not have happened to a better person. Congratulations Colleen,” he said.