Another awards season is nearly gone so here is my annual top ten best production design of 2017 list on this beautiful Oscar Sunday. Below I’ve chosen my top ten picks for best production design of any film released in 2017 that I have personally seen and I’ve seen a lot of films this past year.
Does the environment fit the story, characters, and tone? Can you picture the environment of the film any other way? These are the things I ask myself before making a list like this and I hope you do too. I’ve taken into account the story, characters, genre, tone, direction, originality, technical difficulty, budget size, size of team, as well as the principles of design. It’s still very subjective of course. My personal taste may largely differ from your own so please take it for what it is with a healthy grain of salt.
I also want to reiterate something I say a lot- I do not care for the most production design, I care about the best production design. The best production design is that which is well suited to the story, enhancing the characters, advancing the plot, and setting the tone. In some films these sets are vast and intricately detailed like Beauty and the Beast and Blade Runner 2049, in other films these sets are shot on location using understated dressings like Call Me By Your Name, and in a film like The Shape of Water the sets are a perfect bifurcation of big and small to define their world.
Congratulations to all involved in every production and keep striving to do great work everyday. If no one else appreciates it, please know that I do.
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN OF 2017
Logline: Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire and France are surrounded by the German Army, and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.
9) CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
Logline: In 1980s Italy, a romance blossoms between a seventeen year-old student and the older man hired as his father’s research assistant.
8) LADY BIRD
Logline: In 2002, an artistically inclined seventeen-year-old girl comes of age in Sacramento, California.
Logline: In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X, somewhere on the Mexican border. However, Logan’s attempts to hide from the world, and his legacy, are upended when a young mutant arrives, pursued by dark forces.
6) DARKEST HOUR
Logline: During the early days of World War II, the fate of Western Europe hangs on the newly-appointed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who must decide whether to negotiate with Adolf Hitler, or fight on against incredible odds.
5) PHANTOM THREAD
Logline: Set in 1950’s London, Reynolds Woodcock is a renowned dressmaker whose fastidious life is disrupted by a young, strong-willed woman, Alma, who becomes his muse and lover.
4) LADY MACBETH
Logline: In 19th-century rural England, a young bride who has been sold into marriage discovers an unstoppable desire within herself as she enters into an affair with a worker on her estate.
3) BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
Logline: An adaptation of the fairy tale about a monstrous-looking prince and a young woman who fall in love.
2) BLADE RUNNER 2049
Logline: A young blade runner’s discovery of a long-buried secret leads him to track down former blade runner Rick Deckard, who’s been missing for thirty years.
1) THE SHAPE OF WATER
Logline: At a top secret research facility in the 1960s, a lonely janitor forms a unique relationship with an amphibious creature that is being held in captivity.
Honourable Mentions: WONDERSTRUCK, MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, A GHOST STORY, THE GREATEST SHOWMAN, and WONDER WOMAN.
Which films were your picks for best production design? As usual, I’d love to know what you think in the comments below.
Rose Lagacé | @artdepartmental