Oscars 2014: ADG Nominations

The Art Directors Guild announced their nominees today.

Production Design is one of my favorite categories at the Oscars. That and Cinematography are perhaps the two most unheralded categories at the Oscars. (I know, if we’re really getting technical, it’s costumes and makeup, but I’m talking next to the major categories.)

I also love that the guild straight up splits their nominees in three categories. They really get into their craft. They don’t care about making it more like what the Oscar category is going to be.

Anyway, here are the nominees for the 2014 ADG Awards:

Period Film

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game

Inherent Vice

The Theory of Everything


Fantasy Film

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Guardians of the Galaxy


Into the Woods

Contemporary Film

American Sniper



Gone Girl


And then there were TV ones. Which I don’t care about. (Peter Pan Live is nominated though. Which I’m glad about. It’s also up against the Oscars. And the Super Bowl halftime show. Yeah…)

Anyway, let’s look at these nominees…

Fantasy is pretty stacked this year. It just feels really solid. But now that I look, they’re all pretty stacked. It’s a great year for production design.

Very quickly… the ones I’ve been hearing about that weren’t listed: Mr. Turner, Selma… maybe that’s it. Fury wouldn’t be there. A Most Violent Year is being ignored everywhere. Big Eyes. That’s one. The Homesman. They like westerns in this category. Actually, shit… no Big Eyes. Tim Burton is usually a lock in this category every time out. Hell, didn’t Alice in Wonderland WIN this category? And The Hobbit… highly doubt, the showing that movie had. (Yeesh.)

Anywho, they never nominate contemporary (though the Nightcrawler support is telling), so throw all of those out. Birdman is the only one that can possibly sneak on, so I’ll leave that hanging around based on the nature of the film. Since Her broke the streak of a contemporary movie being nominated for the Oscar. (Though I’d consider that more fantasy than contemporary. But on the other hand, Gravity went Fantasy, so I guess it’s a wash. Since both were nominated.)


The only Fantasy nominees that have a shot are Interstellar and Into the Woods. Other three stand no chance.

And all your period pieces are contenders as well.

So that leaves your list of contenders (including some non-nominated ones that I won’t rule out just yet, for argument’s sake):

  • Big Eyes
  • Birdman
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Inherent Vice
  • Interstellar
  • Into the Woods
  • Mr. Turner
  • Selma
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Unbroken

I’m gonna leave out The Homesman, just because it didn’t get on here. I feel like it would have been more of a sneaky contender if they managed to fit it on this list. But otherwise, it’s gonna be tough to overcome those others.

I’m keeping Selma on here, but… call me crazy. I think the Academy feels like they did a good thing by giving it to 12 Years a Slave and can now go back to being old, white and boring. Not that I necessarily think Selma is a must-nominate film. But I think that is slightly in play in a bunch of categories. Plus the screeners came out really late, which doesn’t help. I’m curious to see how much support it actually has. No SAG, and it only has the Globes going for it. I need to see where BAFTA and the DGA go before I can start giving it technical categories. It might just be a Picture/Actor deal, and maybe one or two others.

Big Eyes didn’t get nominated, but due to Burton’s stature in the category, I have to consider him a threat.

Birdman, we talked about. Unlikely, but possible.

Grand Budapest seems like a surefire nominee, but you never know.

Imitation Game — wasn’t blown away by the production design, but of course it feels like a nominee.

Inherent Vice is sneaky. I feel like it might have a shot at it, but I won’t hold my breath. Since The Master got ignored. I think they go for bigger contenders and flashy period pieces over things like this. But hopefully I’m wrong.

Interstellar — they like space. And I’d nominate it. I think it stands a good chance.

Into the Woods — why would they leave it off? That’s the one thing the movie has going for it. Gotta consider that a major contender for now.

Mr. Turner — Mike Leigh’s movies are usually golden in this category. Interesting they left it off. Maybe it won’t be nominated.

The Theory of Everything — feels like a nominee.

Unbroken — classically good production design. Do they nominate it? Don’t know. But we have to consider it a contender until they don’t, because Production Design doesn’t have a whole lot to do with the actual film.

And, at the moment, I couldn’t pick your category out of a hat.

If I had to guess most likely, based on classical notions of the category, I’d say:

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Interstellar
  • Into the Woods
  • The Theory of Everything

But I’m just guessing. I’ll have to meditate a lot on this one over the next ten days before I pick my category.


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