Art Directors Guild Nominees

We finally finished off the first week of guilds yesterday as the Art Directors Guild announced their nominees for the Best Production Design of the year. And how did the people responsible for building and creating the fantastic worlds our characters inhabit vote? Ehh, kind of boring, but in an unexpected way, if that makes any sense.

Let’s start with the best Period Films, for which a tie in voting resulted in six nominees. The field gave us likely Oscar contenders in Jackie and Fences, and reignited passion for Hail, Caesar! (God, I hope that film gets some Oscar love), but otherwise bucked tradition. Not here were expected nominees Live By Night, Love and Friendship, Rules Don’t Apply, Silence, or The Handmaiden. Instead we see Hidden Figures, which features pleasant but not otherwise outstanding scenic design, Hacksaw Ridge, which drowns out its production design with drab greys and orange-ish hues, and Café Society, which really should not be in this conversation because it is such a drab, boring film.

Fantasy Film is also a frequent go-to for Oscar contention, because these films require the production designers to create an entire world. This is a much more refreshing field, as the fantastical sets of Arrival, Doctor Strange, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story are rewarded for their fabulous designs. For my money, Arrival and Rogue One are two of the best pieces of production design all year, and while Doctor Strange is a bit more focused on effects than its set, it still was an impressive accomplishment. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them also received some love, and while I wasn’t as astounded as many others were, it still combined a 1920s New York with a magical underground, so I can understand the wonder. And then there’s Passengers, which I still have to see, but definitely think looks cool from all the trailers released. I would expect anywhere from two to four of these films to end up in the Academy’s Top Five.

And finally, there’s Contemporary Film, which rewards the best scenic designs for films taking place in the modern era. Or, as we should be referring to this category, “La La Land and everything else.” I don’t see anything standing in the scrappy little musical’s path as it heads towards Oscar glory, but other nominees include the gorgeous Hell or High Water, the world-building Lion and Manchester by the Sea, and the impressive-if-boring Nocturnal Animals. If I had my way, I would have traded Manchester or Nocturnal Animals for the lyrical sets of Moonlight, but that’s just me.

Television played out as expected, with Game of Thrones conquering the period/fantasy side and The Big Bang Theory conquering the sitcom side. It was nice to see some love for the scenic design of Sherlock: The Abominable Bride, however. And I don’t think I need to explain why Beyoncé absolutely dominated the music video scene for Lemonade.

The Art Directors Guild will give out their awards on February 11.

Best Production Design on a Period Film (*TIE*)

  • Café Society-Santo Loquasto
  • Fences-David Gropman
  • Hacksaw Ridge-Barry Robison
  • Hail, Caesar!-Jess Gonchor
  • Hidden Figures-Wynn Thomas
  • Jackie-Jean Rabasse

Best Production Design on a Fantasy Film

  • Arrival-Patrice Vermette
  • Doctor Strange-Charles Wood
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them-Stuart Craig
  • Passengers-Guy Hendrix Dyas
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story-Doug Chiang, Neil Lamont

Best Production Design on a Contemporary Film

  • Hell or High Water-Tom Duffield
  • La La Land-David Wasco
  • Lion-Chris Kennedy
  • Manchester by the Sea-Ruth De Jong
  • Nocturnal Animals-Shane Valentino

Best Production Design on a One-Hour Period or Fantasy Single-Camera Series

  • Game of Thrones: “Blood of My Blood,” “The Broken Man,” “No One”-Deborah Riley
  • Stranger Things: “The Vanishing of Will Byers,” “Holly, Jolly,” “The Upside Down”-Chris Trujillo
  • The Crown: “Wolferton Splash,” “Hyde Park Corner,” “Smoke and Mirrors”-Martin Childs
  • The Man in the High Castle: “The Tigers Cave,” “Land O Smiles,” “Fallout”-Drew Boughton
  • Westworld: “Pilot”-Nathan Crowley

Best Production Design on a One-Hour Contemporary Single-Camera Series

  • Better Call Saul: “Inflatable,” “Fifi,” “Klick”-Tony Fanning
  • Bloodline: “Part 16,” “Part 21”-Tim Galvin
  • House of Cards: “Chapter 41,” “Chapter 47,” “Chapter 48”-Steve Arnold
  • Robot: “,” “Eps2.4_m4ster-slave.aes,” “Eps2.9_pyth0n-pt1.p7z-Anastasia White
  • PREACHER: “See,” “South Will Rise Again,” “Finish The Song”-David Blass

Best Production Design on a Television Movie or Limited Series

  • American Horror Story: Roanoke: “Chapter 4”-Andrew Murdock
  • Black Mirror: “Nosedive,” “Playtest,” “San Junipero”-Joel Collins, James Foster, Nicholas Palmer
  • Sherlock: The Abominable Bride-Arwel W. Jones
  • The Night Of: “The Beach”-Patrizia Von Brandenstein
  • The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story: “100% Not Guilty,” “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia,” “Manna From Heaven-Jeffrey Mossa

Best Production Design on a Half Hour Single-Camera Series

  • Mozart in the Jungle: “Now I Will Sing”-Tommaso Ortino
  • Silicon Valley: “Two In The Box,” “Vachmanity Insanity,” “Daily Active Users”-Richard Toyon
  • Transparent: “If I Were A Bell”-Cat Smith
  • The Last Man On Earth: “Pitch Black,” “The Power of Power,” “Mama’s Hideaway”-Bruce Robert Hill
  • Veep: “Kissing Your Sister”-Jim Gloster

Best Production Design on a Multi-Camera Series

  • 2 Broke: “And The 80’s Movie,” “And The Godmama Drama,” “And The Two Openings: Part Two”-Glenda Rovello
  • Baby Daddy: “Love & Carriage,” “Room-Mating,” “Stupid Cupid”-Greg Grande
  • The Big Bang Theory: “The Positive Negative Reaction,” “The Big Bear Precipitation,” “The Fermentation Bifurcation”-John Shaffner
  • The Great Indoors: “Pilot”-Glenda Rovello
  • The Ranch: “Leavin’s Been Comin’ (For A Long, Long Time)”-John Shaffner

Best Production Design of an Awards or Event Special

  • Beyoncé: Lemonade-Hannah Beachler
  • Grease Live!-David Korins
  • Hairspray Live!-Derek McLane
  • The 68th Primetime Emmy Awards-Tamlyn Wright, Baz Halpin
  • The Oscars-Derek McLane

Best Production Design of a Short Format Web Series, Music Video or Commercial

  • Adidas: Basketball Needs Creators-Ruth De Jong
  • Beyoncé: Lemonade: “6 Inch”-JC Molina
  • Beyoncé: Lemonade: “Denial”-Jason Hougaard
  • Beyoncé: Lemonade: “Hold Up”-Jason Hougaard
  • iPhone 7: Balloons-James Chinlund

Best Production Design for a Variety, Reality or Competition Series (*TIE*)

  • American Grit: “Ruck Up”-Mercedes Younger
  • Portlandia: “Weirdo Beach”-Schuyler Telleen
  • Saturday Night Live: “Larry David/The 1975,” “Peter Dinklage/Gwen Stefani,” “Tom Hanks/Lady Gaga”-Keith Ian Raywood, Eugene Lee, Akira Yoshimura, N. Joseph DeTullio
  • The Ellen Degeneres Show: “Ellen’s Halloween Show”-Karen Weber
  • The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: “Ep. 0417, Ep. 0461, Ep. 0493-Eugene Lee, Peter Baran
  • The Voice: “The Blind Auditions, Part 3,” “The Battles Premiere, Part 2”-Anton Goss, James Pearse Connelly

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