The Academy Award nominations for Art Direction have been announced! Stuart Craig was once again nominated for his very thorough work on Harry Potter. Laurence Bennett and Anne Seibel are both coming into the race with impressive past work. Dante Feretti has already won two Oscars for Art Direction on The Aviator (2004) and Sweeney Todd (2007). If we’re to judge the future on the past, Rick Carter is probably the favorite – and I especially like the use of horse race metaphors for the art director of a movie about a horse – but with his winning the Oscar last year for Avatar and his track record (oops, I did it again) of nominations and amazing sets for movies like Forrest Gump, it wouldn’t be a shock if he won. Although, if I’m going to make my pick, I choose Anne Seibel for Midnight in Paris. I’m a sucker for period set designs and the richness of her design transported Owen Wilson and the audience directly into the Golden Age of 1920s Paris.
Laurence Bennett (Production Design); Robert Gould (Set Decoration)
Jean Dujardin as George Valentin in The Artist
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Stuart Craig (Production Design); Stephenie McMillan (Set Decoration)
Matthew Lewis as Neville Longbottom in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Dante Ferretti (Production Design); Francesca Lo Schiavo (Set Decoration)
Asa Butterfield as Hugo Cabret in Hugo
Midnight in Paris
Anne Seibel (Production Design); Hélène Dubreuil (Set Decoration)
Marion Cotillard and Owen Wilson as Adriana and Gil in Midnight in Paris
Rick Carter (Production Design); Lee Sandales (Set Decoration)
Celine Buckens as Emilie in War Horse
In one week, The Academy Awards will be airing on ABC. Over the course of the evening, fashions will be discussed and awards for acting will be handed out, but my favorite part will be finding out who will win for Art Direction. The following are the 2011 nominees for that Oscar.
Alice in Wonderland
My first thought is that this is an odd choice, as I would have thought most of the sets were added in digitally. But, that poses an interesting question, because whether the set is real or digital, someone still has to decide how it looks. If a Queen Anne chair or Regency bench is chosen from an antique store or recreated in a virtual world, the designer still has to recognize the necessity of it and know where to place it.
Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland as created by Robert Stromberg, Production Design and Karen O'Hara, Set Decoration
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I
I’m not even sure I can choose one image to represent the Harry Potter series’ interiors. I don’t know what I love more, Dumbledore’s office, the Griffindor Common Room, or the Weasley’s house, The Burrow. What I do know is that there should be a religion named after Stuart Craig. He has been nominated for his work in Harry Potter since the first movie.
...well, have you guessed my favorite? David Yates' (and J.K. Rowling's) The Burrow, as created by Stuart Craig, Production Designer and Stephenie McMillan, Set Decorator
If you happen to have read my post called, The Architects of Simplicity
, then you’ll know who I want to win in this category. Magnificent sets. Both real and virtual.
Christopher Nolan's dream world of Inception as created by Guy Hendrix Dyas, Production Design and Set Decoration by Larry Dias and Doug Mowat (Photo by Melissa Moseley)
The King’s Speech
This is a movie I will look at more closely in a forthcoming post. The royal palaces had to be historically accurate and the background often blended out of focus as the attention was placed, rightly so, on Colin Firth as King George VI and Geoffrey Rush as Lionel Logue. All this was done with impressive ease.
Tom Hooper's The King's Speech, as created by Eve Stewart, Production Design and Judy Farr, Set Decoration
I must confess, this is the final box to tick on my “Oscar movies to see list” and I’ll be seeing it this week! But, while a lot of this movie appears to take place outside, if Joel and Ethan Coen’s past movies are any indication, their sets always have as much personality as their characters. I will hopefully have more details to report soon, full of great Western Frontier interiors!
The Coen brothers' True Grit as imagined by Jess Gonchor, Production Design and Nancy Haigh, Set Decoration
I’ll be watching (and tweeting the results!) next Sunday, February 27.