Art Directors Guild Announces Nominees
Following quickly on the heels of the Producers Guild, the first of the technical achievement societies was announced late last night. Every year, for 16 years running, the Art Directors Guild honors films that exemplify excellence in art direction and production design. A few years ago, they had bumped their number of nominees up to 15 features to fill three categories: Period Film, Fantasy Film and Contemporary Film.
The nominees were as follows:
EXCELLENCE IN PRODUCTION DESIGN FOR A PERIOD FILM
“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”
EXCELLENCE IN PRODUCTION DESIGN FOR A FANTASY FILM
“The Adventures of Tintin”
“Captain America: The First Avenger”
“Cowboys and Aliens”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part II”
“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”
EXCELLENCE IN PRODUCTION DESIGN FOR A CONTEMPORARY FILM
“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
When looking at the Period nominees, the elephant in the room is undoubtedly the absence of a major Best Picture contender: “War Horse.” The lavish countrysides and muddy trenches were thought to be all but a shoo-in for this nomination. Perhaps the film is not as strong as we all thought. It was replaced by Roland Emmerich’s Shakespeare expose, “Annonymous,” which apparently has chops, I’m just not sure how much anyone actually takes it seriously. The winner here is “Hugo” in a landslide. Even a harsh critic of the film such as myself has to admit that the meticulous detail put into recreating early twentieth century Paris is completely awards-worthy. Nearly every shot contains something impressive to gaze at. The potential spoiler is “The Artist,” which, if it does succeed, will prove how unstoppable it really is.
The Fantasy selection is probably one of the weakest I’ve seen in years. “Harry Potter” will take this one down in a walk. Perhaps the only other film with a fighting chance is “Tintin,” which I’m still not entirely sure what it’s doing here. Is seems weird for an animated film to show up in a nomination pretty much designated for live-action work. To be honest, I don’t think anyone in Hollywood has a clue how to classify this film anymore. Regardless, this is “Potter”‘s award, and will likely be the only thing to give “Hugo” a run for its money at the Oscars.
The choices in Contemporary this year were really quite appalling to me. Some fantastic work went completely unmentioned last night. Most notably is that of Coen Brothers collaborator Jess Gonchor’s work in “Moneyball.” The drab detail at play in the clubhouses, locker rooms and residences is completely mention-worthy. Perhaps the most unforgivable snub, however, is “Hanna.” While, the film could arguably be considered a Fantasy film, the sets largely define an imaginative and whimsical kind of contemporary thriller that should have been better-noticed. Anyway, the winner here is really a toss-up and may depend on which film has the most support in general. I am very happy to see “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” show up, though. The gathering support of the film may lead to a well-deserved, though unexpected, Best Picture nomination.