Best Art Direction Predictions

Current Predictions (10-07-11):
Dante Ferretti, Hugo
Rick Carter, War Horse
Jack Fisk, Tree of Life
Stuart Craig, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2
Laurence Bennett, The Artist

Best Art Direction Notes (10-07-11): Some, if not most, categories at the Oscars are easy to predict only because they have the quality of being “obvious.” In fact, a friend of mine once said they should replace “Best” with “Most Obvious” in front of each category. When it comes to Art Direction all nuance goes out the window and the winners are generally those that fill the mis-en-scene from top to bottom with as many frills as possible. This year there’s no shortage of very “present” design so this should be one of the easier categories to predict.

Dante Ferretti’s always a viable candidate (and two-time winner). Hugo looks like it will have hordes of technical achievements. If the film surprises and gathers critical acclaim then there is no reason to believe Ferretti won’t take home his third trophy. War Horse has the next best chance to run away with this award. In fact, the play was pretty much all production design all the time. If this one completely checks its story at the door and spends two hours forcing beautiful set pieces in the viewer’s direction then look for it to be lauded primarily for its visuals. If War Horse gains the critical and commercial momentum many expect it to then this will surely swing its way.

Somewhat of a dark horse here is The Artist. Again, I have a feeling this will be a pastiche without a substantive base. Another formula for success in the design categories is a film that’s story takes a backseat to the visuals without abandoning story altogether. The Artist looks to be all visuals all the time, thus, if the film’s successful,  it will easily nab a design nod. The one to look out for is Harry Potter. Being the last in the series and with enormously good reviews under its belt, the Academy will not be able to pass up such a beautiful looking film. Some people think the movie may have the chops to compete for Best Picture even. While I wouldn’t go that far, I do think the Academy will want to honor it in some way. Don’t be surprised if Potter wins here.

Finally, Jack Fisk’s texture work in Tree of Life deserves a nomination. It’s a travesty that Fisk has only been nominated once before and never won. I don’t expect the academy will choose lush period subtlety over large, sweeping, CGI-infested blockbusters but a nomination would be enough to at least recognize Fisk’s continued contribution to challenging, progressive movie.

Good Bets:
Dante Ferretti, Hugo
Rick Carter, War Horse

Strong Chances:
Jack Fisk, Tree of Life
Stuart Craig, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2
Laurence Bennett, The Artist
Maria Djurkovic, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Wil Hughes-Jones, Jane Eyre
Mark Ricker, The Help

Possibly But Not Probable :
Martin Whist, Super 8
James Murakami, J. Edgar
Sarah Greenwood, Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows
Bo Welch, Thor
James McAteer + Gernot Thöndel, A Dangerous Method
Albert Nobbs, Patrizia von Brandenstein + Jenny Oman
Martin Childs, Celia Bobak, Cherish Magennis + Michel Rollant, W.E.

Bad Bets:
Anne Seibel, Midnight in Paris
Sebastian T. Krawinkel + Simon-Julien Boucherie, Anonymous
Donald Graham Burt, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Rick Heinrichs + John Bush, Captain America: The First Avenger
Jane Ann Stewart + Matt Callahan, The Descendants

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1 Response to Best Art Direction Predictions

  1. I think Midnight in Paris could possibly be nominated for this category.

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