Yeah, that’s what they’re calling it now; no more ‘Art Direction’ For some reason, this category always seems to have some sort of link to Costume Design. There have been many years where both awards have gone to the same film. We could see a case of that this year, but it’s difficult to say.
Our first nominee is Anna Karenina, production design by Sarah Greenwood. Greenwood receives her fourth nomination here, the other three for Pride & Prejudice, Atonement, and Sherlock Holmes. I think that her work on this period piece may bring Greenwood her first win, cashing in on the idea that the entire movie is filmed on one stage, that is altered to look like different locations. It may not make much sense, but for the Academy, it’s just what they’re looking for in production design, putting Anna Karenina in the best position to win.
The next nominee is The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, production design by Dan Hennah, who previously won this award for Return Of The King. Even though the art direction is AWESOME, the Academy most likely feels that they’ve already awarded the franchise enough, and that The Hobbit just contains that same old, same old.
A film with a better chance is Les Misérables, production design by Eve Stewart. Stewart already has two nominations under her belt for Topsy Turvy and The King’s Speech. I personally believe that the film has the best production design of the year, creating many different atmospheres for the characters to chew. Being a Best Picture nominee, the Academy could consider it, but they might also plan to award this movie somewhere else.
Also nominated is Life Of Pi, production design by David Gropman, who scores his second nomination here. (the first for Cider House Rules) Even though I love this movie, I find it surprising that it’s doing so well in this category. When you think about this film’s production design, all you see is a boy in the middle of the ocean. Now, obviously, there’s a lot more to it than that, but it’s all that a lot of Academy voters will remember. A win here would be surprising, but not unwelcome.
Our last nominee is Lincoln, production design by Rick Carter. Carter already won this award for.. Avatar, really? What a difference a director makes. Although I wouldn’t say the production design is fantastic, it does manage to accurately recreate the time gone by. And since the film is a big Best Picture frontrunner, I’d say that it has a chance. A small chance.
Will Win: Anna Karenina
Runner’s Up: Les Misérables
Should Win: Les Misérables