Make-up artist Quinton adds new award to mantel

Published on March 7, 2013
Colleen Quinton (left) and Kathy Kelso accepted their Award for Best Achievement in Makeup at the inaugural Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto Sunday evening. Co-winners Michelle Côté and Martin Lapointe were not able to attend.
— Photo courtesy

Colleen Quinton had a good feeling when Allan Hawco walked on stage to announce the nominees for Best Achievement in Makeup at the inaugural Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto Sunday evening.

Her optimism never faded even though her name wasn’t among those the “Republic of Doyle” star initially announced to the star-studded audience.

“Something happened to the teleprompter and my nomination wasn’t there. But … he knew something was wrong,” Quinton explained during a recent telephone interview.

She wasn’t shy when Hawco asked if he was forgetting somebody.

“I put up my hand and said, ‘Yes, me!’” Quinton laughs.

Hawco knew the names of the nominees and the films they were being recognized for and had no trouble adding Quinton’s name to the list.

Those watching Sunday evening didn’t see a blunder as the presentation took place just prior to the televised portion of the awards ceremony.

Quinton isn’t sure why she felt she might be going home with a trophy once Hawco made his appearance. Like the majority of the people at the ceremony, he had no idea she was a Newfoundlander nor did the event organizers.

Quinton grew up in Catalina, Trinity Bay but comes from the Quinton family of merchants from Redcliffe, Bonavista Bay. A move to Montreal in 1984 kick-started her career in the film business.

Since that time, she’s worked in 18 different countries while keeping Montreal as her home base.

Quinton has won every Canadian award in television or film for makeup: a Gemini for best achievement in makeup in 2011 (“The Pillars of the Earth”), a Jutra (Quebec Film Awards) for best achievement in makeup in Quebec in 2010 (“Cadavres”) and her most recent award for “Laurence Anyways” — a feature film written and directed by Quebec filmmaker Xavier Dolan.

The film is based on a true story, is set in the 1980s and early 1990s and spans a decade.

“The story is about a guy and a girl who are in love and one day on his 30th birthday the guy decides to tell his girlfriend that he is transgender. But he loves this girl and wants it to work out,” Quinton says.

The story follows the characters transformation from a male to female — and the girlfriend’s decision about whether to stay in the relationship.

It was Quinton’s job to transform the actor who she describes as “a very virile man from Paris” into a woman.

“We had to make the audience understand that he’s going through a 10-year transformation. … It had to be a very delicate transformation that people would believe and they would love.”

The Canadian Screen Awards combine what were formerly known as the Genie and Gemini Awards. Rick Mercer, Gordon Pinsent and Shawn Doyle of this province also won awards.

Quinton was delighted to meet Hawco and other Newfoundlanders in the film business Sunday evening, including Cathy Jones and Shaun Majumder.

Because she’s been living outside the province for so long, she says, people aren’t aware of her rural Newfoundland roots.

Quinton is about to start a pilot project for the television network ABC, and will then be working on what she calls a ”major feature film” with 20th Century Fox.

She’ll also spend time at her home in Redcliffe this summer.

But before that, she’s hoping to add another trophy to her collection when the Jutra’s announce the winner for best achievement in makeup. The ceremony takes place later this month. She is nominated for “Laurence Always.”

Hawco said he had no idea the woman walking on stage was from his home province until Quinton quickly told him, just before he handed her the trophy.

“I was kind of in shock a little bit that I didn’t know. I felt ashamed that I wasn’t aware of it.”

When asked about the blunder, Hawco said his theatrical background has taught him never to rely solely on a teleprompter, although it did kick in with Quinton’s name after the pause.

As someone who has always strived to promote and help Newfoundland artists, Hawco is delighted to add Quinton’s name to that list.

“Every day I discover that there’s a different Newfoundlander working in our industry. It blows my mind to know how much we sometimes take for granted, what a creative group we are and how involved we are in the arts. The presence we have nationally, for such a small population, is staggering.”

Quinton was also a past nominee for an Emmy for her work on “The Pillars of the Earth.”

The trophy that’s touted as the highest award in television alluded her in the past, but she’s holding out that it could come her way this year for her work on “World Without End” — a sequel to “The Pillars of the Earth.”

The film, which aired in 2012, was shot in Budapest, Austria and Slovakia.

“I’m hoping that will go to the Emmys,” she said.