Feinberg Forecast: Art Direction

Jaap Buitendijk/Paramount Pictures

THR awards analyst Scott Feinberg ranks the contenders as he sees them for the art direction Oscar.

Precious few of the early awards-dispensing groups include  the category of art direction, so it's not easy to get a read on which art directors/set directors/production designers have an inside track on Oscar noms. My hunch is that this year's front-runner is Hugo. The Los Angeles Film Critics Association is the one major group that has chimed in, and it singled out Dante Ferretti -- a nine-time nominee who won for The Aviator and Sweeney Todd -- for creating the massive Paris train-station set. Another major contender looks to be Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy's Maria Djurkovic, who has worked steadily on high-profile films since the mid-1990s but has yet to receive an Oscar. She claimed a special Technical Achievement Award on Dec. 4 at the British Independent Film Awards for her work on this film. Also in the top tier of the discussion is War Horse's Rick Carter, who has worked with Steven Spielberg since Jurassic Park and also earned Oscar noms for Forrest Gump and Avatar, the latter of which he wound up winning. Here are the 10 contenders, in order, that I suspect have the best shot at this year's art direction Oscar.

  1. Hugo: Dante Ferretti
  2. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Maria Djurkovic
  3. War Horse: Rick Carter
  4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2: Stuart Craig
  5. The Artist: Laurence Bennett
  6. J. Edgar: James J. Murakami
  7. Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows: Sarah Greenwood
  8. The Tree of Life: Jack Fisk
  9. Albert Nobbs: Patrizia von Brandenstein
  10. Midnight in Paris: Anne Seibel