Oscars 2020: ADG Nominations

The Art Directors Guild announced nominations today. If it feels like we’ve barely gotten any guild precursors to this point, it’s because we haven’t. But starting next week, they’re gonna start coming fast and furious. Next week I think is like three out of five days and then after that it’s almost a full week straight of something new every day.

But, at the moment, we have this. This is gonna help us out in Production Design, and I’m keen to see what they’ve nominated, given the fact that this feels like a pretty ho-hum kinda year with only about six or seven major contenders out there. So I’m curious to see what they give us and if there are some films that I’m not expecting that can make this a race.

As a reminder, the BFCA list for Production Design was Emma, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Mank, News of the World, The Personal History of David Copperfield and Tenet, and your BAFTA longlist includes Ammonite, The Dig, Emma, The Father, Ma Rainey, Mank, Midnight Sky, News of the World, Promising Young Woman, Radioactive, Rebecca, Secret Garden, Tenet, Trial of the Chicago 7 and Wonder Woman 1984.

And here’s what the Art Directors Guild has for us:

Period Film


Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom


News of the World

The Trial of the Chicago 7

No Emma, which is not wholly surprising, I guess, but also something that stands out to me. Though with BFCA already and a likely BAFTA nomination, I still expect it to contend. If BAFTA doesn’t nominate it, then you lose faith. For now, nothing wholly surprising. There’s only a certain number of choices they can nominate here and usually one of the major contenders misses the guild.

Mank, Ma Rainey and News of the World all BFCA nominated and BAFTA longlisted. Chicago 7 I’d have expected to see here. I wanna see if BAFTA nominates it too.

Copperfield I wasn’t expecting to see on BAFTA, so I’m not really that surprised to not see it here. Mulan makes total sense. That feels like something they’d usually have had on Fantasy, even though it probably belongs here.

BAFTA shortlisted choices that failed to make it on here or BFCA: Ammonite, The Dig, Radioactive, Rebecca and The Secret Garden. I’d be surprised if most, if not all of those made it onto BAFTA’s list. Unless they decide they really liked The Dig or Ammonite, I don’t expect any of those to be major contenders and all feel like they’re on because they’re all quintessentially British productions with obvious ‘production design’ elements. So yeah, I think we’re all within the realm of what I’d expect.


Fantasy Film

Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

The Midnight Sky



Wonder Woman 1984

Tenet was the other BFCA film we’ve yet to discuss, and with a BAFTA shortlist and Nolan’s history in the category, that has to be considered a major contender.

Wonder Woman and Midnight Sky are also both BAFTA shortlisted. I’ll need to see them get nominated before I really start to believe in them, but I’m not fully ruling out either at the moment.


Contemporary Film

Da 5 Bloods

I’m Thinking of Ending Things

Palm Springs

Promising Young Woman

The Prom

Contemporary films practically never get nominated, but for what it’s worth, Promising Young Woman is BAFTA longlisted, so I guess we’ll see where that ends up. But it’s hard to consider almost any of these

And the only other BAFTA longlisted film we have to mention is The Father, which I am slightly surprised to not see here given how they utilize production design in that movie. Not that there’s a bad choice on this list (I actually think I’m Thinking of Ending Things had some of the best production design of the year), but it’s hard to imagine them going there based on the history of this category.

Also, I will admit, just to get it out there — I did do a brief double take when I saw Da 5 Bloods here, because my brain wanted to go, “But it’s Vietnam! Are the 70s contemporary now?” But then immediately my brain actually turned on and said, “Oh, right, the majority of the film takes place today.” Just figured I’d say that aloud for the people who did the exact same thing momentarily before sense prevailed.

So those are your ADG nominees. Oh, also, they had nominees for Animated Feature, and they were The Croods: A New Age, Onward, Shaun the Sheep: Farmageddon, Soul and Wolfwalkers. So basically four of the, like, seven contenders for the actual category and absolutely no help whatsoever.

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So, without grouping everything together and actually putting much thought into it, I’d say, at the moment, if I were guessing the most likely nominations layout, this is what I’m thinking:



Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

News of the World


Alternate: The Trial of the Chicago 7

Dark Horse: The Midnight Sky

Surprise: Promising Young Woman; Wonder Woman 1984

Shocker: Birds of Prey; Mulan; Pinocchio

I feel like, BAFTA-pending, Mank, Ma Rainey, News of the World and probably Tenet seem like solid contenders, with that Emma spot being iffy. Midnight Sky feels like one of those Passengers contenders that could sneak on and surprise you, and Chicago 7 for sure is a major contender. And that’s one of those — the second BAFTA nominates it, it’s on for me. That’s one of those nominees that, guild alone, is slightly questionable to me, but with two and its stature, I’ll consider it a sure thing. Promising Young Woman is one of those — if BAFTA goes there I will consider it a possibility, but I’m not sure I’d ever guess it. And Wonder Woman of course could make it, but who the hell knows. I think that top seven feels like the most likely category at this point, and I guess we’ll see what BAFTA has to offer in, what, ten days? Something like that?

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