“La La Land,” which is far out in front to win the Oscar for Best Production Design according to our experts, won the contemporary category at the 21st annual Art Directors Guild Awards on Saturday. One of its Oscar rivals, “Passengers” took the fantasy film prize over, among others, the Oscar-nominated “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” and “Arrival.” The fifth Oscar nominee, “Hail, Caesar!,” lost the period film race to “ .”
These kudos have a stellar record at previewing the Academy Awards. Over the first two decades of these prizes, the eventual Oscar winner has always numbered among the ADG nominees in the various categories.
Last year’s Oscar champ for Best Production Design — “Mad Max: Fury Road” — first won Best Fantasy Design at the ADG Awards. Of the other four Oscar nominees, “The Revenant” won Best Period Design over two of its Oscar rivals — “Bridge of Spies” and “The Danish Girl.” And the fifth Oscar nominee, “The Martian,” pulled off an upset in Best Contemporary Design over “Ex Machina.”
In 2014, four out of five Oscar nominees first contended at the ADG Awards. Eventual Oscar champ “The Grand Budapest Hotel” won Best Period Film with the ADG over Oscar rival “The Imitation Game.” Best Fantasy Film nominees “Interstellar” and “Into the Woods” also contended at the Oscars. The only Oscar nominee that didn’t make the cut with the ADG last year was another period film, “Mr. Turner.”
In 2013, all five Oscar nominees first contended at the ADG Awards. Eventual Oscar champ “The Great Gatsby” won Best Period Film with the ADG over, among others, Oscar rivals “12 Years a Slave” and “American Hustle.” “Gravity” won Best Fantasy Film and “Her” won Best Contemporary Film.
Likewise, in 2012, all five Oscar nominees were cited first by the ADG. “Anna Karenina” won Best Period Film over “Les Miserables” and “Lincoln,” but it was “Lincoln” that won the Oscar. “Life of Pi” won Best Fantasy Film against the fifth Oscar nominee, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”
In 2011, three of the five Oscar nominees first contended at the ADG Awards. “Hugo” won Best Period Film over, among others, “The Artist,” before taking home the Oscar while “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” won Best Fantasy Film. The other Oscar nominees were “Midnight in Paris” and “War Horse.”
In 2010, all five Oscar nominees were cited by the ADG Awards: “The King’s Speech” took Best Period Film while “Inception” edged out eventual Oscar champ “Alice in Wonderland” as Best Fantasy Film. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I” contended in fantasy while “True Grit” was nominated in period. The Contemporary winner was “Black Swan.”
In 2009, one of the ADG fantasy film nominees — “Avatar” — won the Oscar while just one of the ADG period picture picks — “Sherlock Holmes” — also contended at the Academy Awards. Three films snubbed by the ADG — “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,” “Nine” and “The Young Victoria” — filled out the Oscar roster.
The 2008 Oscar nominees included only two of the five ADG choices for period production design — “Changeling” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” — and just one of the five fantasy nominees — “The Dark Knight.” “Benjamin Button” won with both groups.
In 2007, the Oscar slate included four of the ADG period nominees and one from the fantasy front. “Sweeney Todd” won the Oscar while “There Will Be Blood” took the ADG period prize.
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