Can ’12 Years a Slave’ pull off upset in Production Design at Oscars?

12 Years a Slave” is only in third place to win Best Production Design. While the period picture was nominated for its production design by BAFTA, the Art Directors Guild and the Critics’ Choice Awards, as well as the regional critics’ groups based in Chicago, Georgia, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, St. Louis and Washington, D.C., it lost all 10 of those races. 

However, it is very possible for the Oscar to be the first and last award that a nominee wins for work on a particular film. Indeed, more often than not, at least one Academy Award goes to a contender who has not taken home any precursor prizes. 

Last year, “Zero Dark Thirty” tied “Skyfall” for Best Sound Editing, despite being shut out of the Motion Picture Sound Editor awards. 

In 2011, “Hugo” reaped Best Cinematography bids from BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, the American Society of Cinematographers, National Society of Film Critics, Online Film Critics Society, Satellite Awards, Southeastern Film Critics Assn., as well as regional critics’ groups based in Boston, Chicago, D.C., Houston, London, Ohio, New York, Phoenix and San Diego.  It lost all 16 of these races, but still won the Oscar. 

In 2010, “Alice in Wonderland” was nominated for Best Production Design by BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, the Art Directors Guild and Satellite Awards, as well as regional critics’ groups based in D.C. and San Diego.  It lost each of those six bids, but won the Oscar.

There are not many precursor awards for Makeup, but the two that existed in 2009 went to films other than eventual Oscar champ “Star Trek.”  “District 9” won at the Critics’ Choice while “The Young Victoria” took the BAFTA. 

And, in 2006, “King Kong” won both Oscars for sound — Sound Editing and Sound Mixing — despite losses at BAFTA and with both of the guilds: the Cinema Audio Society and Motion Picture Sound Editors.

What do you think is going to win Best Production Design? Vote below using our easy drag-and-drop menu. Come back and change your predictions as often as you like till Oscar night, March 2. 

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