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Is Oscar calling?

ASHEBORO — Paul Tazewell, an accomplished costume designer for stage and screen, has been nominated for the 2022 Oscar for Costume Design. Tazewell’s mother, Barbara Tazewell, has lived in Asheboro for 30 years and he comes to see her on holidays.

Winner of a number of awards for costume design over the years, Tazewell received the 2016 Tony for his work on the Broadway production of “Hamilton.” Also in 2016, he and his design team were awarded an Emmy for their work on The Wiz Live!.

His Oscar nomination is for his work on the Steven Spielberg remake of “West Side Story.” He’ll be up against four other designers

In a telephone interview, Tazewell was asked how he found out that he was nominated. “I was watching Good Morning America on ABC (when the nominations were listed),” he said. “It was a little nerve-wracking but I was beside myself. To be in that company, it’s a big honor. All the films are so amazing.

The Oscar winners will be announced from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on March 27 beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern Time on ABC. His mother and a host of Asheboro fans will be watching on TV.

“I plan on being there in the (Dolby Theatre) audience,” Tazewell said. “It’s great to be recognized by the people in Asheboro. I’m usually at my mother’s home for Christmas.”

Filming for “West Side Story” took place in New York City two years ago. Tazewell was asked what it was like collaborating with an icon such as Spielberg: “Spielberg is an amazing, generous, brilliant director and collaborator. He was involved in scheduling the designs and made my work easier. 

“He communicated so openly. It was all I hoped it would be and more. I hope I was able to deliver what his expectations were. I was glad to be a part of the team. Receiving the nomination is just the cherry on top.”

As costume designer, Tazewell spent time with all the actors, including Rita Moreno, who had played Anita in the 1961 original film version, only to return 60 years later to portray Valentina.

“She’s a wonderful, talented woman,” he said, adding that it was special to “dress someone with her acclaim.

“The whole cast was quite amazing,” said Tazewell, including Ariana Debose, who grew up in Raleigh. 

Debose’s portrayal of Anita earned her an Oscar nomination for Actress in a Supporting Role.

Tazewell said there were other people from the Broadway community working on the film. “Our intent was to make a film as beautiful and compelling as possible.

“It’s just a huge honor all around.”

Tazewell's award-winning career

Paul Tazewell was born and raised in Akron, Ohio, but earned a degree in Design and Production in the UNC School of the Arts and also graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

His mother, Barbara Tazewell, has lived in Asheboro for the past 30 years.

In his career, Paul Tazewell has received:
— 6 Tony Award nominations for costume design.
— 4 Helen Hayes Awards for Outstanding Costume Design.
— 2 Lucille Lortel Awards (for “On the Town” and “Hamilton”).
— The Henry Hewes Award.
— The Theater Development Fund’s Irene Sharaff Award in 1997.
— The Princess Grace Statue Award bestowed by the Princess Grace Foundation to artists of excellence in various disciplines.