Saturday, February 24, 2018

Oscar Winner Predictions: Best Production Design

The competition: Beauty and the Beast (Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer), Blade Runner 2049 (Dennis Gassner and Alessandra Querzola), Darkest Hour (Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer), Dunkirk (Nathan Crowley and Gary Fettis), The Shape of Water (Paul D. Austerberry, Shane Vieau and Jeff Melvin)

Previous winners: La La Land, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Great Gatsby, Lincoln, Hugo, Alice in Wonderland
My winner: Announcing shortly after the Oscars!

The facts: Greenwood and Spencer have been nominated four times together before, most recently for “Anna Karenina” in 2012. Gassner has five previous nominations and a win for “Bugsy.” Crowley and Fettis have each been nominated three times previously, most recently together in 2014 for “Interstellar.” At the ADG Awards, “The Shape of Water” bested “Darkest Hour” and “Dunkirk” in the period race, while “Blade Runner 2049” beat “Beauty and the Beast” in the fantasy category. Only twice in the past decade did a film that didn’t win any of the three ADG prizes go on to win this award: “Lincoln” in 2012 and “Alice in Wonderland” in 2010 (though both were nominated). This exact list led to “The Shape of Water” winning the BAFTA. Eight times in the past decade, this award went to a Best Picture nominee.

Who should win: These are some good-looking films, and I’d be fine with any of them winning. I think I’d prefer “Dunkirk” over “Darkest Hour” though both are similar in content, with the latter emphasizing government meetings and the former finding the men on the ground in the heat of battle. “Beauty and the Beast” pops with color and does a strong job of bringing an animated story to life. “Blade Runner 2049” has a distinct and emphatic look, but it doesn’t quite compare to the beauty and uniqueness of “The Shape of Water,” which would be my choice.

Who will win: Remembering that another Guillermo Del Toro film, “Pan’s Labyrinth,” won this award eleven years ago, I’m picking The Shape of Water, with the understanding that any of these films aside from “Darkest Hour” could realistically win. I’d bet on “Beauty and the Beast” as the next in line to take it.

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