Art Directors Guild nominees

Posted by · 10:32 am · January 8th, 2010

Johnny Depp in Public EnemiesI’ve had my eye on these because I’ve always felt that, if “Avatar” could slide in here, it might be able to get over any weird bias against the way it was designed (largely in computer, etc.). But after sitting down with Robert Stromberg yesterday, and with these nominations in mind, I feel better about its prospects for Oscar in the category now.

I’m happy to see “The Lovely Bones” recognized, though I’m consistently baffled as to where the distinction is between “contemporary” and “period” with this film.  And can I also say, looking out over the slate of nominees, this is a damn fine year for art direction?  The 10 in period and fantasy could easily find their way to nominations.

The obvious snub here is kind of a big one, I’d say: “Nine.” Despite the quality of the film, the below-the-line elements were exemplary.  I guess it wasn’t enough to overcome the film’s overall critical reception.  Oh, and big ups to Jess Gonchor, who I’ve said since day one was a threat for his and set decorator Nancy Haigh’s meticulous work on “A Serious Man.” Stay tuned next week for a Tech Support interview with the principals from that film

Nominees after the jump.

Period film
“A Serious Man,” Jess Gonchor
“Inglourious Basterds,” David Wasco
“Julie & Julia,” Mark Ricker (Editor’s Note: ?)
“Public Enemies,” Nathan Crowley
“Sherlock Holmes,” Sarah Greenwood

Fantasy film
“Avatar,” Rick Carter, Robert Stromberg
“District 9,” Philip Ivey
“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” Stuart Craig
“Star Trek,” Scott Chambliss
“Where the Wild Things Are,” K.K. Barrett

Contemporary film

“Angels & Demons,” Allan Cameron
“The Hangover,” Bill Brzeski
“The Hurt Locker,” Karl Juliusson
“The Lovely Bones,” Naomi Shohan
“Up in the Air,” Steve Saklad

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39 responses so far

  • 1 1-08-2010 at 10:35 am

    Adam said...

    The Lovely Bones’ nomination makes me want to build an underground playhouse in a corn field, take the movie down there and put it out of its misery.

  • 2 1-08-2010 at 10:36 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...


  • 3 1-08-2010 at 10:38 am

    Jilda said...

    Wouldn’t The Lovely Bones have fit one of the other two categories more? That’s kind of……stupid….

  • 4 1-08-2010 at 10:41 am

    Christian said...

    LOvely Bones in Contemporary is indeed odd. Last year, Frost/Nixon, Milk, and Doubt all competed as Period.

  • 5 1-08-2010 at 10:43 am

    Benito Delicias said...

    What’s so “?” about Julie&Julia? I assume it’s the french part…Of course being that it’s half the movie it should have gone to Victoria, Bright Star or An Education (or do they not qualify because they’re foreign?)

  • 6 1-08-2010 at 10:44 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I was kind of hoping Parnassus would show up here. Same old song and dance for Gilliam, I’m afraid.

  • 7 1-08-2010 at 10:52 am

    AmericanRequiem said...

    ouch Nine, that really hurts, now go and die a slow death alone please

  • 8 1-08-2010 at 10:53 am

    Andrew F said...

    I’m actually pretty shocked at the omissions for “Nine” and “Parnassus”. Considering people have been calling for a *win* for “Nine”, too? Ouch.

  • 9 1-08-2010 at 10:56 am

    aspect ratio said...

    The Nine snub is pretty shocking. Even if the film is dying a horrible death, it still seemed like it’d be a shoe-in for a few categories, like this one.

    As for Avatar, I think it should be noted that the ADG have nominated Pixar films in the past (Wall-E, Ratatouille and The Incredibles) so I’m still not 100% sold on Avatar at the Oscars since the ADG have proven themselves to be more open to digital art direction than the Academy. Another part of the problem is that the Academy nominates the art director and set decorator, and while Avatar had a set decorator, the few sets there were are hardly Oscar-worthy.

  • 10 1-08-2010 at 10:57 am

    Adam Smith said...

    Big ups to Philip Ivey and the District 9 team for
    this well-deserved nomination. Next stop: ACE (bet on it).

    Also, I’m on my phone, not the computer right now, but do you have D9 in either of your sound predix? After watching the DVD featurettes, if you don’t already, you should–Avatar may have created a complete language, but that was a language spoken by humans. D9’s Prawn language is almost wholly made of found sounds.

  • 11 1-08-2010 at 10:59 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    It’ll be there Monday. In both categories.

  • 12 1-08-2010 at 11:01 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Weird that “A Serious Man” and “The Lovely Bones” are set a mere six years apart, and yet one is period while the other is contemporary.

    But LOVE the noms for “Where the Wild Things Are” and “Public Enemies.”

  • 13 1-08-2010 at 11:01 am

    Bryan said...

    Pretty good list but it’s missing the best of the year…Fantastic Mr. Fox

  • 14 1-08-2010 at 11:15 am

    Brian said...

    I hate that they way they categorize. I’m thrilled Lovely Bones made it, but nothing about it is contemporary.

    Kris, just curious-did you think Avatar would miss here?

  • 15 1-08-2010 at 11:16 am

    JJ said...

    I actually think that if NINE were to miss out on any of the technical guilds it was going to be this one. I think that it’s Cin & Costumes had more interest.

    Loving the LOVELY BONES inclusion; I don’t car where it’s placed. Wonderful sets.

  • 16 1-08-2010 at 11:22 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Brian: I thought it had a shot but I just wasn’t sure which way the wind would blow on it, honestly.

  • 17 1-08-2010 at 11:26 am

    JJ said...

    Just realized. No LAST STATION either. Didn’t the art director win an Oscar for Amadeus?

  • 18 1-08-2010 at 11:32 am

    JR said...

    Forget Nine, if any film was snubbed, it’s the long-forgotten Cherie. I’d have thought it would have easily earned the period nod. There was far more to admire than the brilliance (in ever way) of Michelle Pfeiffer.

  • 19 1-08-2010 at 11:37 am

    red_wine said...

    Nine will go down as this decade’s Heaven’s Gate. Jeez what a debacle for all concerned. I bet they aren’t drooling over themselves about the movie now. There is so much dislike for the movie that even a shut-out wouldn’t surprise me.

    Oh Avatar will 100% be nominated for Production Design at the Oscars. What a pity Avatar becomes the first animated film to be nominated when Pixar have done year-topping year thrice – Incredibles, Ratatouille & Wall-E(the design of Axiom was a marvel to say the least). A juggernaut can break down all kinds of barriers, but it sure as hell hasn’t turned the bias towards animated films. They will continue to miss in these categories in the future even though Avatar has made it.

  • 20 1-08-2010 at 11:40 am

    red_wine said...

    And Where The Wild Things are deserves an Oscar nomination in Production Design even though I didn’t care for the movie.

  • 21 1-08-2010 at 11:50 am

    Anonymous said...

    Glad to see “Hurt Locker” racked up another nod. Agree that the best thing about “Lovely Bones” was the production design and Susan Sarandon. The rest, not so much. Would have liked to see “An Education” get something here. Good sets and costumes there too.

  • 22 1-08-2010 at 1:15 pm

    Scott C said...

    Happy to see Wild Things and Harry Potter here.

  • 23 1-08-2010 at 1:20 pm

    Bill said...

    District 9 and The Lovely Bones should switch categories.

  • 24 1-08-2010 at 1:23 pm

    JP said...

    Where the heck is Single Man? That is a snub is a travesty.

  • 25 1-08-2010 at 1:32 pm

    Matt King said...

    Love the Wild Things and A Serious Man nominations, but wish Bright Star made it into the Period section.

  • 26 1-08-2010 at 1:57 pm

    Anna said...

    I can’t imagine A Single Man not getting in. The art directon almost plays like another character in the film–integral. What are the Weinsteins doing or not doing for this film?

  • 27 1-08-2010 at 1:59 pm

    JJ said...

    As much as I lament not seeing A Single Man here.

    I actually attribute it’s beauty much more to the acting, writing, cinematography, costumes, & score.

  • 28 1-08-2010 at 2:24 pm

    Andrew2 said...

    Another Bright Star snub. I can accept this film not getting major category recognition, but how can you say Julie & Julia had better art direction than Bright Star, or something like The Young Victoria??

  • 29 1-08-2010 at 2:51 pm

    John said...

    Watchmen seems like the big snub here. Not that I’d want to sit thru the movie again… but the sets were great!

  • 30 1-08-2010 at 3:14 pm

    Paul Outlaw said...

    “I’m happy to see ‘The Lovely Bones’ recognized, though I’m consistently baffled as to where the distinction is between ‘contemporary’ and ‘period’ with this film.”

    And fantasy, as others have also noted.

  • 31 1-08-2010 at 3:33 pm

    JJ said...

    well, there ya go, they liked The Lovely Bones enough, and it encompasses all 3 genres really, so they went with the one it’s in.

  • 32 1-08-2010 at 4:38 pm

    Erik 815 said...

    Not getting the Julie and Julia hate. The Paris segments looked great, but had the added difficulty of being essentially 9/10 scale from top to bottom to make Meryl look tall, without the whole thing looking weird. I think they pulled it off brilliantly.

  • 33 1-08-2010 at 5:47 pm

    aspect ratio said...

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Julie & Julia getting nominated either. It might not really be a top five film here, but it’s certainly not undeserving either. I probably would’ve put it in the contemporary category though, seeing as the 60s is certainly more contemporary than the 00s is period.

  • 34 1-08-2010 at 6:05 pm

    Glenn said...

    I’d also insert that the “Julie” segments of “Julie & Julia” are set in 2001. It’s tough to make a set look like its from only 8yrs ago. I’m actually not ENTIRELY joking, too.

    I actually thought “Precious” did a great job of recreating Harlem in the 1980s, but perhaps its not obvious enough.

  • 35 1-08-2010 at 7:24 pm

    Mike said...

    The Hangover. WHAT? In that case, It’s Complicated should have been nominated.

  • 36 1-09-2010 at 1:19 am

    Maxim said...

    Great to see Rick Carter recognized.

  • 37 1-09-2010 at 3:54 am

    rizza said...

    It’s time ADG recognizes Stuart Craig as a winner for a Harry Potter film. Stuart Craig for the win!

    Contemporary: The Lovely Bones

    Fantasy: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

    Period: Inglourious Basterds

  • 38 1-11-2010 at 7:24 pm

    Me. said...

    WTF NO BRIGHT STAR?? But they do nominate Julie & Julia… Bright Star’s art direction is superior than that of A Serious Man and Public Enemies and pretty much everything anyways.
    FUCK … why do they hate BRIGHT STAR so much? Why why why why why why why????

    I love the nomination for Where the Wild Things Are though. Great film yay.