2018 Academy Awards Predictions – Best Production Design

In 2018, the five nominees for Best Production Design are exceedingly diverse. None of these films have sets that look like the rest. Kinda makes my job a little harder, huh?

Oh well, no one asked me to do this in the first place.


The Nominees:

Will Win: Blade Runner 2049

Could Win: The Shape of Water

Dark Horse: Beauty and the Beast


The jury is still out on how the Academy will reward The Shape of Water. It dominated with number of nominations, and is certainly a current front-runner for Best Picture following the PGAs. If the Academy loves the film enough to give it Best Picture, then it will certainly clean up elsewhere.

That could be the case here, as well. The Shape of Water has entirely serviceable production design. The handful of sets are decorated in a way that paints the piece as a fairy tale with a real-life edge.

That said, Blade Runner 2049 is sleek and has…more than three sets. The production design isn’t its strongest suit, nor its flashiest, but it is good and diverse.

On the flip side, if you’re looking for flashy you need only look as far as Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

This category seems to be a slug-fest between these three films. I don’t fully know what constitutes production design in Dunkirk, as it is almost entirely filmed on location. In terms of set dressing and set design, the film is pretty sparse. And Darkest Hour has fairly boilerplate set design for the period aesthetic.

As it stands, The Shape of Water and Blade Runner 2049 are separated by only a razor-thin margin. Either could take it, with Beauty hanging in the rafters and waiting for a potential upset.


As always, thanks for reading!

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—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)



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