2012 Oscar Predictions: Art Directors Guild Offer Nominations as a Guide for Best Art Direction


2012 Oscar Predictions Best Art Direction
Asa Butterfield in Hugo
Photo: Paramount Pictures

Last night the Art Directors Guild (ADG) announced their nominees for Excellence in Production Design and I felt it’s high time I open up my Best Art Direction predictions for the 2012 Oscars. What better time than now considering we have a guide to help us along our way?

To begin, the only film not nominated by the ADG that I would say of the films not nominated by the ADG that may have a shot at an Oscar nomination in this category would be Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Albert Nobbs, Jane Eyre, A Dangerous Method, War Horse and potentially Madonna’s W.E.. Thing is, the ADG breaks their noms out by genre and you can only fit so many into that Period Film category, but this is also just one of the indicators that just because a film was nominated for the Guild Awards means others won’t be considered for the Oscar.

I looked back over the last six years of ADG nominations compared to Oscar’s Art Direction nominations and last year and 2005 were the only years where all five films nominated for an Oscar were also nominated by the ADG. Twice three of the noms made it to the Oscars and in 2009 only two.

However, in all six years the winner was one of the nominees, but the ADG winner was not always the Oscar winner. Last year Alice in Wonderland won while Black Swan, Inception and The King’s Speech won with the ADG and again in 2008 Sweeney Todd won at the Oscars while There Will be Blood, The Golden Compass and No Country for Old Men won with the ADG.

So what films stand out when it comes to the ADG’s noms? Let’s take a look at the ADG nominees right now:

Period Film:

  • The Artist (Laurence Bennett)
  • Hugo (Dante Ferretti)
  • The Help (Mark Ricker)
  • Anonymous (Sebastian Krawinkel)
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Maria Djurkovic)

Fantasy Film:

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Stuart Craig)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (Rick Heinrichs)
  • The Adventures of Tintin (TBD)
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (John Myhre)
  • Cowboys & Aliens (Scott Chambliss)

Contemporary Film:

  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Donald Graham Burt)
  • The Descendants (Jane Anne Stewart)
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (K.K. Barrett)
  • Drive (Beth Mickle)
  • Bridesmaids (Jefferson Sage)

Well, from what I’m seeing I think we just might end up with all five matching up. My first round of predictions for Best Art Direction look like this:

  1. Hugo (Dante Ferretti)
  2. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (Maria Djurkovic)
  3. The Artist (Laurence Bennett)
  4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Stuart Craig)
  5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Donald Graham Burt)

I wish I could say I had some sort of miraculous insight into my predictions, but in large part it comes just based on the attention to detail I noticed in each of these movies, the fact Hugo was already recognized by the Los Angeles (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was runner-up) and Washington D.C. Film Critics and was also among the nominees at the Critics Choice Awards along with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and The Artist. Also nominated by the Broadcast Film Critics Association were War Horse and The Tree of Life.

I included Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 because the franchise has been nominated three times before including last year for Part 1 and I simply find the attention to detail in almost every David Fincher film so exacting I think he opens the door for an Art Direction nod every time he turns on a camera and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, especially with its large number of sets.

You can browse my entire list of contenders for Best Art Direction right here.