Monday, April 12, 2010

One Category at a Time: Best Art Direction

Unlike the costume branch, the art directors in the Academy are a bit more accepting of genre and contemporary production design. Period still dominates, but not as excessively.

Call this a mad hunch, but I could see Inception surprising here. The nomination for Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight a couple of years ago was a pleasant surprise, given that the film was basically contemporary with minimal fantasy influences. Perhaps a screwy sci-fi can score another victory for contemporary films? Production designer Guy Dyas can only hope.

If not, there will still probably be at least one fantasy in the final five, as there usually is. Wolf Kroeger had the odd task of reinventing a video game universe for the big screen in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. The trailer looks pretty fancy, and the film's design elements may benefit form that token fantasy slot both here and in Costume Design. Or maybe The Last Airbender will be the one?

Back to period sets: Arthur Max has been nominated for two Ridley Scott films (Gladiator and American Gangster) and could make it a third with Robin Hood. Outdoor locations are not as detrimental to one's chances with this branch, and the dark stoniness of the castles look pretty good in the trailer.

The Weinstein Co. has an interesting film coming out this year called Shanghai, which takes place in 1940's... well, Shanghai. Asian period pieces have triumphed here a couple of times in the last decade, and Jim Clay (shoulda been nominated for Children of Men) gets to design the lavish sets.

Finally, what to do about that Tree of Life? 2008 nominee Jack Fisk (There Will Be Blood) takes the reigns, so you know the production design will be top notch, but with so little info about the film, why do I insist on predicting it for so much? Curse my unreliable intuition!

Predicted 5:
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Robin Hood
The Tree of Life

Also consider: Robert Stromberg for Alice in Wonderland, Barry Robison for Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Kalina Ivanov for The Conspirator, Stuart Craig for Harry Potter, Eve Stewart for The King's Speech, Philip Messina for The Last Airbender, Dante Ferretti for Shutter Island, Jess Gonchar for True Grit, John Stoddart for The Way Back, Rick Heinrichs for The Wolfman.

1 comment:

Amir said...

i have that mad hunch about inception and the tree of life as well.
i'm almost 100% sure we'll see them both on nomiation morning.