Know Your 2017 Oscar Nominees: Production Design

We’ve gone big for our Oscars coverage this year. Our annual "Know Your Nominee" series once again looks at every category, giving you the information you need to conquer your Oscars pool. Learn more about the nominees for Lead ActorForeign Language FilmCostume DesignersDocumentary ShortEditingLive Action ShortActress in a Supporting RoleMakeup & HairstylingAnimated FeatureDocumentary FeatureOriginal Song and Visual Effects. Now we turn to Production Design.

In addition to the series, this year we've created a special look at the awards—The Road to the Oscars. Click on the image below to learn more about this year's crop of Oscar nominated films and filmmakers, and the effect their contributions have had on the country at large.

This year’s Oscar nominees for Production Design sent humans into outer space and brought aliens to our world, gave Los Angeles a gilded makeover, and set mythical creatures loose in New York. We had the chance to speak with several of the talented artists about bringing these incredible scripts to life.

Arrival’s Patrice Vermette designed the intricate visual alien language at the center of the film. Vermette told us that studying dead languages led to the circular inkblot style of the messages sent by the tentacled aliens. Both artistic and interesting, the beautiful messages immersed the audience in the mindbending story. In addition to staging a visually striking film, creating an entire language is what we would consider Oscar-worthy.

The Wizarding World has captivated audiences for eight films and it’s easy to see the appeal. Beautiful scenery, breathtaking creatures, and of course, an abundance of magic leave every muggle wishing they could board a train to Hogwarts. Production designer Stuart Craig gave us a peak inside the enchanted briefcase at how he created the title characters in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Hail, Caesar! had the offbeat sensibilities that is a hallmark of Coen brothers films, but takes place on grandiose old Hollywood soundstages. The production team captured the larger than life style from the golden age of the silver screen for this quirky comedy. The dazzling spectacle is complete with an ensemble musical number and synchronized swimming.

The work of first time Oscar nominees David Wasco and Sandy Reynolds-Wasco shines in La La Land. The love letter to Los Angeles bursts with romance and captures the city through rose, azure, lemon and mint colored glasses. The dreamy romance owes its appeal to the idyllic scenery. These production designers can even make a traffic jam on the 405 a thing of beauty.

Passengers Production Designer Guy Hendrix Dyas challenged himself to think outside the “shiny metal box” seen in so many space thrillers. His conception produced a luxury cabin with soft curves and picturesque water features. Dyas described to us how the space ship had more in common with a cruise ship than the many rockets depicted on film.

Featured image: Amy Adams in Arrival. Courtesy Paramount Pictures.


Kelle Long

Kelle has written about film and TV for The Credits since 2016. Follow her on Twitter @molaitdc for interviews with really cool film and TV artists and only occasional outbursts about Broadway, tennis, and country music. Please no talking or texting during the movie. Unless it is a musical, then sing along loudly.