With Art Directors Guild (ADG), BAFTA and Critics’ Choice, Babylon is the film to beat for Production Design.
While the first Avatar won this category back in 2009 and The Fabelmans features work by multi-Oscar Rick Carter, they don’t feel like opportunities to spoil here. All Quiet on the Western Front has obviously proven its strength later in the game but remains at #3 for me.
The only thing that could upset Babylon would be Elvis. Building U.S. city streets from scratch in Australia, that ride-filled circus, Las Vegas, Graceland and more were surely a triumph and Catherine Martin is 2/2 in this category for her husband Baz Luhrmann’s films Moulin Rouge! (2001) and 2013’s The Great Gatsby (both of which she also won Oscars for costume design) but it seems very hard to deny the sheer scope, volume and detail of 1920’s Hollywood in Babylon. The ‘first day on a Hollywood set’ sequence alone where Margot Robbie and Diego Calva navigate dozen of min-sets shooting at the same time simply feels impossible to ignore.
Here are my final 2023 Oscar winner predictions for Production Design.
|1. Babylon (Paramount Pictures) – ADG, BAFTA, CCA, SDSA|
Production Design: Florencia Martin; Set Decoration: Anthony Carlino
|2. Elvis (Warner Bros) – ADG, BAFTA, CCA, SDSA|
Production Design: Catherine Martin and Karen Murphy; Set Decoration: Bev Dunn
|3. All Quiet on the Western Front (Netflix) – ADG, BAFTA|
Production Design: Christian M. Goldbeck; Set Decoration: Ernestine Hipper
|4. The Fabelmans (Universal Pictures) – ADG, CCA, SDSA|
Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara
|5. Avatar: The Way of Water (20th Century Studios) – ADG, CCA, SDSA|
Production Design: Dylan Cole and Ben Procter; Set Decoration: Vanessa Cole