2019 Precursor Predictions: Art Directors Guild

The Art Directors Guild are a solid predictor of the Production Design category. The big question is always whether it’s the Period or the Fantasy winner that will go onto Oscar with a very rare instance of the Contemporary winner doing it.


Best Period Art Direction

1917 (Wesley, Peter, RU:Thomas)
Ford v Ferrari
The Irishman (RU:Tripp)
Jojo Rabbit (RU:Peter)
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (Tripp, Thomas, RU:Wesley)

Wesley Lovell: Four of the five Oscar nominees are on this list of six, which probably means that Ford v Ferrari and Joker will be also-rans. Ultimately, I feel this could be a three-way race between 1917 and its vast array of battlefield locales, Jojo Rabbit having to create a semi-fantastical version of Nazi Germany, and Once Upon a Time taking the audience back to 1960s Hollywood. The timeframes here, 1910s, 1940s, and 1960s are all distinctive in their atmospheres, but ultimately the chatter I’ve heard about 1917 suggests it’s the most likely winner with Once Upon a Time a good second place bet. Don’t count out Jojo, though.
Peter J. Patrick: The period detail of both 1917 and Jojo Rabbit is extraordinary. It’s a tough call, but I suspect 1917 has the edge.
Tripp Burton: This is a battle with a lot of Oscar nominees and no real clear front-runner. My guess is that they lean heavily toward the Hollywood recreations of Tarantino’s Los Angeles.
Thomas LaTourette: The re-creation of 1960s Hollywood will likely prevail over the other choices.

Best Fantasy Art Direction

Ad Astra (Peter, Tripp)
Aladdin (Wesley, Thomas, RU:Peter)
Avengers: Endgame
Dumbo (RU:Wesley, RU:Thomas)
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (RU:Tripp)
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Wesley Lovell: The almost Disney-only fantasy slate is filled with nominees that didn’t make the Oscar nomination list. As such, there’s no easy way to determine which will be the big winner. Having said that, science fiction doesn’t seem like it does terribly well with this group and the Disney re-adaptations are all so beautifully designed that I wouldn’t imagine anything other than those winning. Ultimately, I landed on Aladdin for creating the most unique locales of any of the nominees. My runner-up is the production design team that Tim Burton has rode to success numerous times and their work on Dumbo certainly looks vastly creative.
Peter J. Patrick: The originality displayed in Ad Astra seems hard to beat, but the colorful Aladdin is a treat for the eyes so either is possible.
Tripp Burton: Not sure how this will go, but space movies can be popular here.
Thomas LaTourette: With the creation of Agrabah, Aladdin may have a chance to win.

Best Contemporary Art Direction

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
Knives Out (RU:Wesley, RU:Peter, RU:Tripp, RU:Thomas)
Parasite (Wesley, Peter, Tripp, Thomas)

Wesley Lovell: In an exceptionally rare occurrence, the fifth Oscar nominee lands on the contemporary list and the likelihood of it winning is very high. That said, don’t count out Knives Out, which is the only other contemporary design that really made an impact with critics.
Peter J. Patrick: Parasite‘s intricate design seems unbeatable, but the multi-faceted design of the house in Knives Out could give it a run for its money.
Tripp Burton: Parasite is the only Oscar nominee here, so that would be a safe bet. That house in Knives Out is pretty incredible, though.
Thomas LaTourette: The Oscar nominee Parasite should have the upper hand here.

Best Animation Art Direction

Abominable (Peter)
Frozen II (Wesley, RU:Peter)
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (RU:Wesley)
The Lion King (Tripp, RU:Thomas)
Toy Story 4 (Thomas, RU:Tripp)

Wesley Lovell: There are positives to be said about all five of these nominees, but ultimately inventiveness is more likely to win out. That’s why I give the edge to Frozen II, which had a lot of gorgeous and creative vistas and locales, far more than Toy Story 4 had, even though it had a lot of bright and colorful places alongside the dark and creepy ones. How to Train Your Dragon also had a lot of beautiful designs and I definitely think it’s a contender, but honestly I couldn’t count any of these out and wouldn’t be surprised by any winner.
Peter J. Patrick: Animation awards have been all over the place this year so let’s throw a bone to Abominable for this one with Frozen II not far behind.
Tripp Burton: Toy Story 4 seems to be losing steam, so The Lion King may sneak in here for another win.
Thomas LaTourette: I am not certain what they will be going for here, but will guess Toy Story.

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