Oscar-pool betters looking for tips in the Best Production Design race shouldn’t be too reliant on the Art Directors Guild Awards: in their 17 years of existence, the Academy has agreed with one of their selections on 10 occasions. Last year, they did not — while the ADG plumped for “Anna Karenina,” “Life of Pi” and “Skyfall,” the Academy surprised most pundits by picking “Lincoln” instead.
All of which is to say that there’s hope yet for Oscar nominees “12 Years a Slave” and “American Hustle,” though they were left out of the winners’ circle at the ADG Awards tonight. Both films lost the Period production design category to Catherine Martin for her extravagantly stylized Jazz Age design of Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby.”
Martin — who is also Luhrmann’s wife — won both the Guild award and the Oscar in this category 12 years ago for “Moulin Rouge!” and could well be on course for another repeat. The Academy typically responds to excess in this category, and hers is easily the flashiest work here — though “Lincoln” was an uncharacteristically restrained choice, perhaps buoyed by its heft as a Best Picture nominee. “Gatsby” is the only film in the field not also up for Best Picture, which could count against it if voters are playing favorites; Martin, of course, has a second shot on goal in the Best Costume Design category.
It’s lovely to see K.K. Barrett take the Contemporary category for his sleek, elegantly futuristic world-building in Spike Jonze’s “Her.” Some might quibble, however, that he should have competed in the Fantasy category — which went to Andy Nicholson for his remarkable space-station recreations of “Gravity,” a contemporary-set film that isn’t strictly fantastical.
Either way, both men are deserving of the recognition: I’m still pleasantly surprised that Barrett scored the Oscar nod for such coolly inventive, low-key work. This was Barrett’s fourth ADG nod, having previously competed for “Lost in Translation,” “Where the Wild Things Are” and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” For Nicholson, this marks his third ADG win, having previously won as part of the team on “Sleepy Hollow” and “The Golden Compass,” though this is his first as head designer.
Full list of winners below:
Excellence in Production Design – Period Film
“The Great Gatsby” (Catherine Martin)
Excellence in Production Design – Contemporary Film
“Her” (K.K. Barrett)
Excellence in Production Design – Fantasy Film
“Gravity” (Andy Nicholson)
Excellence in Production Design – TV Movie or Miniseries
“Behind the Candelabra” (Howard Cummings)
Excellence in Production Design – One-Hour Single-Camera Series
“Game of Thrones” (Gemma Jackson)
Excellence in Production Design – Half-Hour Single-Camera Series
“Veep” (Jim Gloster)
Excellence in Production Design – Multi-Camera, Variety or Unscripted Series
“Portlandia” (Tyler Robinson)
Excellence in Production Design – Awards, Music or Game Shows
“67th Annual Tony Awards” (Steve Bass)
Excellence in Production Design – Short Format Live-Action Series
“Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome” (Bryan Kane)
Excellence in Production Design – Commercials, PSAs, Promos or Music Videos
“Call of Duty: Ghosts” – “Epic Night Out” (Todd Cherniawsky)
Cinematic Imagery Award
Lifetime Achievement Award
Hall of Fame Inductees
Robert Clatworthy, Harper Goff, J. Michael Riva