Oscar Predictions: Best Art Direction

Hugo” bested one of its Oscar rivals for Best Art Direction, “The Artist,” when it won the Period Film prize at the 16th annual Art Directors Guild Awards. Another Oscar nominee, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” claimed the Fantasy Film award. The other two Oscar nominees — “Midnight in Paris” and “War Horse” — failed to contend at these kudos which signals almost certain disappointment for them at the Academy Awards. In the first 15 years of these kudos, the eventual Oscar champ has always been found among the nominees in the various categories. 

Dante Ferretti is nominated for the ninth time in this category for his work on “Hugo.” All but one of those bids was shared with his wife set decorator Francesca Lo Schiavo. They won for “The Aviator” (2004) and “Sweeney Todd” (2007). Their expert recreations of both early French cinema and 1930s Paris make them the frontrunners. 

This the fourth nomination for Stuart Craig as the production designer for the “Harry Potter” films. He was previously nominated for “Sorcerer’s Stone,” “Goblet of Fire,” and “Deathly Hallows, Part 1.” He won three of his other six bids: “Gandhi” (1982); “Dangerous Liaisons” (1988); and “The English Patient” (1996). He shared that last win with set decorator Stephenie McMillan who has worked with him on all the “Potter” pictures. 

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Doing the art direction for “The Artist” brought Laurence Bennett his first Oscar nomination and a second for set decorator Robert Gould. Their recreation of 1920s Hollywood had to be shot in black-and-white, adding to their achievement. With a Best Picture win looking likely, could they be part of a sweep?

Midnight in Paris” marks the first Oscar recognition for production designer Anne Seibel and set decorator Helene Dubreuil. They captured the eye of their colleagues with their renditions of contemporary Paris, the Jazz Age and the Belle Epoque.

After working with Steven Spielberg for almost a quarter of a century, Rick Carter reaped his first Oscar bid for one of their collaborations. “War Horse” shifts from the idyllic English countryside to war-torn France. Carter worked with his set decorator, first-time nominee Lee Sandales, to evoke the atmosphere of the WWI trenches. Carter was previously nominated for “Forrest Gump” (1994) and won for “Avatar” (2009).

Click on the pundits below to see a breakdown of their rankings in this race.

Click on each of the categories below for the overview of that race.

Picture Director Actor Actress S. Actor S. Actress
Adapted Scr.   Original Scr. Art Direction Cinematography Costumes Editing
Makeup Score Song Sound Editing Sound Mixing Visual Effects
Animated Feat. Foreign Lang.  Doc. Feature Doc Short Live Action Sh. Animated Sh.


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