Sat. Sep 19th, 2020

Final 2020 Oscar Predictions – PRODUCTION DESIGN

The last the combo of Critics Choice and ADG (Period) only went to the Oscars (2012’s Anna Karenina) it lost. That wouldn’t bode well for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which has been a perceived frontrunner in this category and took home the lion’s share of critics’ wins this season. But, like virtually every category it’s up for, save Supporting Actor, it’s in second or third place, or worse.

Last year, the Art Directors Guild (ADG) mirrored the Costume Designers Guild (CDG) exactly and in fact, the whole season between these two categories did. Bouncing between Black Panther and The Favourite and ultimately landing on BP at the Oscars for both.

Only one time this decade has the winner of Critics Choice, ADG and BAFTA lost the Oscar and that was 2010’s Inception losing to the nearly all CGI-world of Alice in Wonderland. Generally, that’s as solid as you can get as Black Panther, The Shape of Water, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Great Gatsby will tell you.

This year could play out closest to that Anna Karenina year (2012) where the precursors went all over the place and ultimately landed on another of the decade’s most surprising wins, Lincoln, which had won nothing up to Oscar night.

It’s what makes this a truly difficult category to predict as every winner save Alice in Wonderland came from Best Picture nominees and all nominees for Production Design this are in fact from BP nominees. There’s no weird outlier to point to as a possibility; most of the nominees stand a good shot here but the clear top three are Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, 1917 and Parasite. Each come in with bonafides, each use painstakingly detailed production design that aren’t just window dressing but physical characters that help tell the story. But I keep having this sinking feeling Jojo Rabbit is lurking and ready to pounce.

Here are my ranked Final Oscar predictions for Production Design with a chart of a decade of related precursors and history.

1. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Sony/Columbia)BAFTA, CCA, ADG (Period)
2. 1917 (Universal)BAFTA, CCA, ADG (Period)
3. Parasite (Neon)CCA, ADG (Contemporary)
4. Jojo Rabbit (Fox Searchlight)ADG (Period), BAFTA
5. The Irishman (Netflix)BAFTA, CCA, ADG (Period)
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