The Art Direction category is particularly hard to predict because their guild makes it so darn confusing by dividing its awards into Contemporary Film, Fantasy Film, and Period Film. Almost inevitably the winner of one of these three awards will go on to win the Oscar, but the trick is deciding which of the three it is going to be. Typically the winner of the Period or Fantasy Film Award in the Art Directors Guild Award goes on to win the Oscar, with no Contemporary films having ever won the Award since the guild started splitting categories a decade ago. Determining which Period or Fantasy film wins depends largely on the scope of the film and the Oscar probability it has in other categories. For instance, period film The Aviator won in 2004 and it also lead the year in total nominations with 11. Fantasy film Avatar won last year as it also lead the year in nominations and almost swept the technical awards.
The Art Directors Guild announced their 2011 award winners about two weeks ago and two of the five Oscar nominees received awards. Black Swan took home the ADG award for Best Contemporary Feature Film, but it, along with all five other nominees in the category missed out on Oscar nominations. Guy Hendrix Dyas took home the award for Best Fantasy Feature Film for his work on Christopher Nolan’s Inception. Eve Stewart won on her first nomination for Best Period Feature Film for Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech. The two films are likely to face off for the award at next weekend’s Oscar ceremony.
The King’s Speech earned the most overall Oscar nominations this year with an impressive thirteen. It’s the favorite for many of the major awards including Best Picture and Best Actor and it is likely to carry some technical awards along with it. The trailers and FYC ads have done a nice job of emphasizing the majestic royal settings of the film and the massive set design and decoration that was involved. Period films surrounding British royalty have fared well in this category in the past with movies like Shakespeare in Love and The Madness of King George winning in their respective years. With the massive wave of support headed in this film’s direction it is likely to topple Inception if it comes down to a bake-off.
However, it won’t be an easy victory. Christopher Nolan’s Inception has been nominated in almost every technical category including Cinematography, Sound Effects Editing, and Visual Effects. Many have called it this year’s Avatar and it is expected to dominate in many categories. With its victory at the Art Directors Guild Awards it could be this year’s spoiler, knocking The King’s Speech out of the top spot.
Alice in Wonderland has also fared well in the technical categories, although it is not likely to succeed against such steep competition. True Grit has beautiful Art Direction, but with its stark setting there are a limited number of set pieces and that will likely hold it back. The Harry Potter team has earned their third Oscar nomination, but it’s not their year to win. Perhaps if 2011 is a weak year for Art Direction the final Potter film could sneak out a win, but as it is not likely ton contend for Best Picture, that prospect seems unlikely.
Predicted to Win: The King’s Speech
Potential Spoiler: Inception
Deserves to Win: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I
Should Have Been Nominated: Black Swan
[Source: Awards Daily]