Saturday, February 7, 2015

Awards-Nazi Award Nominations: Best Production Design

I tell ya, it broke my heart to omit just about every title that you'll see in the 'just missed' section of this post, but that's the type of year it's been for production design. Outstanding work in too many films. I ultimately had to choose those whose sets and environments were engrained into the narrative identities of the stories they were telling, but it doesn't make it any easier to snub some other worthy effort.

Anyway, enough mourning the snubbees. Onto the five that did survive this brutally competitive melee for only five slots in Best Production Design.

Foxcatcher (Jess Gonchor, Frederick E. Kowalo, Kathy Lucas)
Gonchor's depiction of the titular estate immeasurably informs the film's unspoken character conflicts – metallic bird sculptures doing inanimate battle with porcelain horse ornaments in every room.

The Grand Budapest Hotel (Adam Stockhausen, Anna Pinnock, Gerald Sullivan)
Stockhausen gets to showcase his artistic and tonal versatility by creating a candy-coloured world in miniature, populated by tiny people, as though we're looking at a scale model in a museum for extinct cultures.

Noah (Mark Friedberg, Debra Schutt, Dan Webster)
Say what you will about the film, Friedberg's realization of the ark is impressive, shot on a mammoth set constructed in New York. The CG-embellished exteriors are also of a piece with Aronofsky's vision.

Snowpiercer (Ondrej Nekvasil, Beatrice Brendtnerovà, Stefan Kovacik)
Nekvasil sensationally conveys the squalor of the tail, the vulgar luxuries of the front cars, the almost spiritual minimalism of the engine, and more, often within rooms no more than 15 feet wide.

Song of the Sea (Adrien Merigeau)
Merigeau makes Song of the Sea possibly the most visually arresting cinema of the year. The hard lines and exquisite colour palette fill every frame with dazzling designs and intricate patterns.

Just missed:
Birdman (Kevin Thompson, George DeTitta Jr.)
The Boxtrolls (Paul Lasaine, Curt Enderle)
Planet of the Apes (James Chinlund, Amanda Serino, Naaman Marshall)
Interstellar (Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis, Dean Wolcott)
Mr. Turner (Suzie Davies, Charlotte Watts, Dan Taylor)


  1. What broke my heart even more was the omission of Pierre-Olivier Vincent's terrific production design for Dragons 2. Sure Song of the Sea's Production Design was great, but I enjoyed Dragons 2's PD even more!

  2. Best production design:

    The Grand Budapest Hotel
    The Immigrant