Art Departmental’s Top 10 Best Production Design of 2017

With congratulations to all, check out our annual top 10 list for best production design of 2017 including The Shape of Water, Blade Runner 2049, and Beauty and the Beast.

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


10) DUNKIRK

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.

Director: Christopher Nolan
Production Designer: Nathan Crowley
Supervising Art Director: Kevin Ishioka & Eggert Ketilsson
Set Decorator: Gary Fettis
Total Budget: 100MM


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.

Director: Luca Guadagnino
Production Designer: Samuel Deshors
Supervising Art Director: Roberta Federico
Set Decorator: Sandro Piccarozzi & Muriel Chinal
Total Budget: €4MM


8) LADY BIRD

Logline: In 2002, an artistically inclined seventeen-year-old girl comes of age in Sacramento, California.

Director: Greta Gerwig
Production Designer: Chris Jones
Art Director: N/A
Set Decorator: Traci Spadorcia
Total Budget: $10MM


7) LOGAN

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.

Director: James Mangold
Production Designer: François Audouy
Supervising Art Director: Chris Farmer
Set Decorator: Peter Lando
Total Budget: $97MM


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.

Director: Joe Wright
Production Designer: Sarah Greenwood
Supervising Art Director: Nick Gottschalk
Set Decorator: Katie Spencer
Total Budget: 30MM


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.

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Production Designer: Mark Tildesley
Supervising Art Director: Denis Schnegg
Set Decorator: Véronique Melery
Total Budget: 35MM


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.

Director: William Oldroyd
Production Designer: Jacqueline Abrahams
Art Director: Thalia Ecclestone
Set Decorator: N/A
Total Budget: N/A


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.

Director: Bill Condon
Production Designer: Sarah Greenwood
Supervising Art Director: Niall Moroney
Set Decorator: Katie Spencer
Total Budget: 160MM


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.

Director: Denis Villeneuve
Production Designer: Dennis Gassner
Supervising Art Director: Paul Inglis
Set Decorator: Alessandra Querzola
Total Budget: 150MM


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.

Director: Guillermo del Toro
Production Designer: Paul D. Austerberry
Supervising Art Director: Nigel Churcher
Set Decorator: Jeffrey A. Melvin & Shane Vieau
Total Budget: 19.4MM


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


Check out our Top 10 Films of 2017, here.
You can also check out our picks for Best Production Design of 2016, here.
For more awards season highlights and news on Art Departmental, click here.

Posted by Rose Lagacé

Rose Lagacé is a production designer for film & television by day and an emerging filmmaker by night. Rose is also the creator and editor of Art Departmental where she celebrates the art and craft of production design.

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