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As producer (partnered with Working Title Films) of Shekhar Kapur’s Elizabeth, Alison Owen was nominated for an Academy Award when the film became a Best Picture finalist. The film was nominated for 6 additional Oscars, winning in the Best Makeup category. Elizabeth was also nominated for 12 BAFTA Awards, and won 5. As producer, Alison was honored with the BAFTA win of the Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film.
Alison was educated at University College, London, and worked in various capacities in production, distribution, and development before becoming a producer. She first produced pop music promos/videos and commercials. She next worked on documentaries and in television before beginning film projects. Her television successes included the U.K. series Diary of a Teenage Health Freak, which won the RTS Award for Best Youth Programme, and End of an Era which won the Silver Rose at the Montreux Festival and was nominated for a BAFTA Award.
She produced her first feature, Hear My Song, in 1991. Directed by Peter Chelsom, and starring Ned Beatty, Adrian Dunbar, and Tara Fitzgerald, it was nominated for Golden Globe and BAFTA Awards and won Best Comedy Film at the British Comedy Awards. Alison was nominated as Most Promising New Producer by the Producers Guild of America.
After heading a low-budget film division at Working Title, Alison returned to producing with The Young Americans, starring Harvey Keitel and directed by Danny Cannon. She next produced David Anspaugh’s Moonlight and Valentino, which marked her first collaboration with Gwyneth Paltrow; Roseanna’s Grave, directed by Paul Weiland and starring Jean Reno and Mercedes Ruehl; and the globally successful Elizabeth, which was the breakthrough film for its star, Cate Blanchett.
Partnering with Neris Thomas, she inaugurated the production company Ruby Films in January 1999. Ruby has thus far made Steve Barron’s Rat (starring Pete Postlethwaite); Menhaj Huda’s Is Harry on the Boat? (starring Danny Dyer); Philippa Collie-Cousins’ Happy Now? (for BBC Films, starring Paddy Considine); and Christine Jeffs’ Sylvia. That Focus Features release starred Gwyneth Paltrow, with whom Alison plans to produce several films.
Alison’s latest production is Proof, the film version of David Auburn’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, starring Gwyneth Paltrow for director John Madden. Ruby’s new slate includes Dominic Savage’s Love & Hate, which is in post-production; Rachel’s Holiday, with BBC Films; Tulip Fever, to be directed by John Madden from a Tom Stoppard screenplay adapted from Deborah Moggach’s novel; Brick Lane, being adapted by Laura Jones from Monica Ali’s award-winning novel; and Death of Sweet Mister, to be executive-produced by Martin Scorsese, with John Brownlow directing and adapting Daniel Woodrell’s novel.