Film Awards 2023 Part 2: The Oscar nominees for production design
Which talented creatives will take home the most recognised trophy in the world on Sunday? The build up to the 95th Oscars has reached fever pitch amongst the entertainment community and film fans around the world, and here at Film and Furniture we’re all eyes on the Production Design category of the Academy Awards. These are the people that create the magical places and spaces we can immerse ourselves in from the comfort of our own chairs (or cinema seats) and be transported far away to other worlds.
2023’s ceremony will air live on ABC on Sunday 12th March (beginning at 8pm Eastern Time or 1am on Monday 13th March for those watching from the UK). Here are the Oscar nominees for production design:-
AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER
Production Design: Dylan Cole and Ben Procter; Set Decoration: Vanessa Cole
In this edition of Avatar, the epic fantasy film directed and produced by James Cameron, Jake Sully lives with his newfound family formed on the planet of Pandora. Once a familiar threat returns to finish what was previously started, Jake must work with Neytiri and the army of the Na’vi race to protect their planet.
Talk about world-building! Largely set around and under water, Avatar The Way of Water involved the creation of a fantastical world where we discover aquatic life of all colours, shape and form – and some incredible visual effects from Weta FX.
Possibly not the strongest contender for the Production Design Oscar, but it will most likely win for Visual Effects.
Avatar: The Way of Water is still playing in many cinemas and is currently set for release on digital platforms on Tuesday, March 28.
BABYLON Production Design: Florencia Martin; Set Decoration: Anthony Carlino
Babylon is Damien Chazelle’s take on the heady, hedonistic days of the Golden Age of Hollywood, as the industry transitioned from the silent era to the early days of talkies, innovative soundtracks and technicolour. Set in 1920s Los Angeles and starring Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie and Diego Calva, the film tells a story of ambition and excess during an age of decadence.
Babylon has pipped Elvis to the post a few times this award season having received the Art Directors Guild Award (for Period Feature Film), a BAFTA and a Critics Choice for production design, so maybe we’ll see Martin and Carlino take to the stage at the Oscars?
ELVIS Production Design: Catherine Martin and Karen Murphy; Set Decoration: Bev Dunn
The biopic of the king himself, Elvis Presley, explores his life from childhood to becoming a rock and movie star in the 1950s while maintaining a complex relationship with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker.
Although it was beaten by Babylon in this category in other film awards, Elvis did in fact win Best Achievement in Decor/Design of a Period Feature Film in the SDSA Awards and in addition, the ever-talented Catherine Martin already has four Oscars under her belt. Married to Director Baz Luhrmann, her work on Elvis alongside Karen Murphy and Bev Dunn is stunning, so Elvis is good contender.
Recreating Graceland was a feat in itself, but one of our favourite sets was Elvis’s tour bus. Elvis travelled by road a great deal and for his trips between Memphis and Los Angeles he had a two-level tour bus. The outside was unassuming, but the interior was another matter and the production design team created an incredible space with custom fabrics, ceiling panels, lighting, drapery, shagpile carpets and many modern comforts such as an entertainment unit built into the back of the driver’s seat, a fully equipped kitchenette, bunks, a bathroom, and a double bed with wall-mounted TV and an illuminated dressing table. A safe haven during some turbulent years.
Production Designer Rick Carter and his team created three main houses which the Fabelman family live in throughout the film: In suburban New Jersey, in Arizona (in which we spot a classic white leather Eames lounge chair), and in Northern California. The team has direct access to Spielberg’s personal archive in order to recreate his childhood locations.
ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT Production Design: Christian M. Goldbeck; Set Decoration: Ernestine Hipper
This harrowing film gets up-close and personal on a young German soldier’s terrifying experiences and distress on the western front during World War I.
With it’s construction of a vast network of war trenches, All Quiet is certainly a possible winner for Production Design but probably more likely to win for Cinematography, International Feature and Adapted Screenplay.
All Quiet is streaming on Netflix.
Hear direct from the nominees
This year’s Oscar-nominated Production Designers and Set Decorators from All Quiet on the Western Front, Avatar: The Way of Water, Babylon, Elvis, and The Fabelmans will discuss their craft at the Annual “Art of Production Design” Oscar Panel, on Saturday, March 11, 2023, at 3 p.m PST.