Over the weekend, veteran Star Trek scenic artists Michael and Denise Okuda were celebrated by their peers for their decades of work on Star Trek and beyond.
On Saturday at the Art Directors Guild Awards, Michael and Denise Okuda were bestowed with Lifetime Achievement Awards. They were introduced at the Los Angles ceremony by their former boss (and fellow ADG Lifetime Achievement Award recipient) production designer Herman Zimmerman. The ceremony also included a video tribute (made by Roger Lay) of the work the Okudas did on Star Trek and on behalf of NASA.
Also on hand was their Star Trek art department collaborator Doug Drexler, who posted the video from the event, which you can see below.
A lifetime of achievement
Mike Okuda began his career as a scenic artist in 1986 on Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, and he worked on pretty much every Star Trek film and television production from that time until Star Trek: Enterprise went off the air in 2005. Over that period he was nominated for an Emmy four times. He returned to the world of Trek to work on the remastering of Star Trek: The Original Series in 2006 and again for the remastering of The Next Generation in 2012.
Denise Okuda’s first connection to Star Trek was as an uncredited extra in 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture (when she was still Denise Tathwell). She and Mike married in 1993, and Denise’s Trek career was soon on a similar trajectory as Mike’s. In addition to their work on Star Trek productions, they have also co-authored a number of Trek reference books, including the Star Trek Encyclopedia, Star Trek Chronology, and Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual.
In the official announcement for the award, the ADG said of the Okudas:
The roots of graphic design for Film and TV can be easily traced back to Michael and Denise Okuda and their work on the Star Trek franchise. Through graphic design, the Okudas added a unique visual language to sets, whether it was through props, signage or their graphical user interface for playback (also known as Okudagrams). Additionally, their work on Star Trek led to “real-world” graphic design opportunities and lending their artistic talents to NASA’s various space programs.
Star Trek: Picard art department joins the Okudas
Mike and Denise returned to the franchise to work on Star Trek: Picard. And many of their colleagues came out to show their support at the ceremony. Here is showrunner Terry Matalas retweeting a selfie from Mike with his Picard colleagues.
Love this group of unbelievably talented artists. #StarTrekPicard #StarTrek https://t.co/eNGrjWc1i3
— Terry Matalas (@TerryMatalas) March 6, 2022
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Congratulations! So well deserved.
Outstanding. Their contributions to the franchise are immeasurable.
Lovely to see this happen!
Mazel Tov! That’s awesome and well deserved!
Absolute Legends!!! Love all of their work. It is THE standard for all Star Trek and Science Fiction
It’s crazy Mike Okuda was there at the beginning of the long resurgence of Star Trek and probably had no idea the career and legacy he would have: 19 years, 7 films and 4 shows, that’s really incredible.
But they both had such a major contribution to the franchise and now back again as to continue that legacy. They deserve the honor and more.
So well deserved! We should all be thankful for the great impact they’ve both had on all of Star Trek.