Art Departmental’s Top 10 Best Production Design of 2018

With congratulations to all, check out our annual Top 10 list: Best Production Design of 2018 in a feature film including Black Panther, Crazy Rich Asians, and The Favourite.

Another awards season has come and gone, so here now on this windy Oscar Sunday is my annual Top 10 Best Production Design of 2018 list.

Every year I watch as many films as I can manage during my short time off just for fun- and research. This year was no exception as I watched over 175 films. Unfortunately I still missed some great movies- why didn’t Vox Lux get a wider release?

You can find my Top 10 Best Films of 2018 list, here, in which I exclude production design as the main qualifying factor.  You can also see my list from last year, the Top 10 Best Production Design of 2017 list, here.

Art Departmental's Annual Top 10 Best Production Design of 2018 Click To Tweet

Below I’ve chosen my top ten picks for best production design of 2018 for any feature live action narrative film released in 2018 that I have personally watched.

I have asked myself: Does the environment fit the story, characters, and tone? Can I picture the look and feel of the film any other way? 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. But it is still a subjective process. My personal taste may largely differ from your own so please take it for what it is- with a healthy grain of salt.

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 2018

10) IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK

If Beale Street Could Talk- Department Store- Best Production Design of 2018
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Logline: A woman in Harlem embraces her pregnancy while she and her family struggle to prove her fiancé innocent of a crime.

Director: Barry Jenkins
Production Designer: Mark Friedberg
Art Directors: Jessica Shorten, Oliver Rivas Madera, and Robert Pyzocha
Set Decorator: Kris Moran and Devynne Lauchner
Total Budget: 12MM


9) BLACKkKLANSMAN

BlacKkKlansman- Police Bullpen- Best Production Design of 2018
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Logline: Ron Stallworth, an African American police officer from Colorado Springs, CO, successfully manages to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan branch with the help of a Jewish surrogate who eventually becomes its leader. Based on actual events.

Director: Spike Lee
Production Designer: Curt Beech
Art Director: Marci Mudd
Set Decorator: Cathy T. Marshall
Total Budget: 15MM


8) READY PLAYER ONE

Ready Player One- Junk yard city- Best Production Design of 2018

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Logline: When the creator of a virtual reality world called the OASIS dies, he releases a video in which he challenges all OASIS users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the finder his fortune.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Production Designer: Adam Stockhausen
Supervising Art Director: Mark Scruton
Set Decorator: Anna Pinnock
Total Budget: 175MM


7) MARY POPPINS RETURNS

Mary Poppins Returns- Exterior House with Cherry Blossom Trees on winding road- Best Production Design of 2018

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Logline: Decades after her original visit, the magical nanny returns to help the Banks siblings and Michael’s children through a difficult time in their lives.

Director: Rob Marshall
Production Designer: John Myhre
Supervising Art Director: Niall Moroney
Set Decorator: Gordon Sim
Total Budget: 130MM


6) FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald- 2018 Film- Interior house with trap door- Best Production Design of 2018
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Logline: In an effort to thwart Grindelwald’s plans of raising pure-blood wizards to rule over all non-magical beings, Albus Dumbledore enlists his former student Newt Scamander, who agrees to help, though he’s unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided wizarding world.

Director: David Yates
Production Designer: Stuart Craig
Supervising Art Director: Martin Foley
Set Decorator: Anna Pinnock
Total Budget: 200MM


5) ROMA

Roma 2018 film- Interior house wide shot of kid's playing- Best Production Design of 2018
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Logline: A year in the life of a middle-class family’s maid in Mexico City in the early 1970s.

Director: Alfonso Charon
Production Designer: Eugenio Caballero
Art Directors: Carlos Benassini and Oscar Trello
Set Decorator: Barbara Enriquez
Total Budget: 15MM


4) FIRST MAN

First Man- 2018 Film- Astronauts go into NASA space capsule- Best Production Design of 2018
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Logline: A look at the life of the astronaut, Neil Armstrong, and the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the Moon on July 20, 1969.

Director: Damien Chazelle
Production Designer: Nathan Crowley
Supervising Art Director: Erik Osusky
Set Decorator: Kathy Lucas
Total Budget: 60MM


3) CRAZY RICH ASIANS

Crazy Rich Asians- 2018 Film- Bride walks down the isle in tall grass, flowers, lily pads and fairy lights- Best Production Design of 2018
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Logline: This contemporary romantic comedy, based on a global bestseller, follows native New Yorker Rachel Chu to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s family.

Director: Jon M. Chu
Production Designer: Nelson Coates
Supervising Art Director: Gary Mackay
Set Decorator: Andrew Baseman
Total Budget: 30MM


2) THE FAVOURITE

The Favourite- 2018 Film- Queen Anne puts on her cape in a wide shot of her Jacobean bedroom- Best Production Design of 2018
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Logline: In early 18th century England, a frail Queen Anne occupies the throne and her close friend, Lady Sarah, governs the country in her stead. When a new servant, Abigail, arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah.

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Production Designer: Fiona Crombie
Supervising Art Director: Lynne Huitson
Set Decorator: Alice Felton
Total Budget: 15MM


1) BLACK PANTHER

Black Panther- 2018 Film- T'Challa walks down corridor with blue interface showcasing Wakanda language- Best Production Design of 2018
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Logline: T’Challa, heir to the hidden but advanced kingdom of Wakanda, must step forward to lead his people into a new future and must confront a challenger from his country’s past.

Director: Ryan Coogler
Production Designer: Hannah Beachler
Supervising Art Director: Alan Hook
Set Decorator: Jay Hart
Total Budget: 200MM


HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Honourable Mentions for Best Production Design of 2018: First Reformed, Welcome to Marwen, and Solo: A Star Wars Story

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Which films are your picks for best production design of 2018? As always, I’d love to know your thoughts on the films in the comments below.

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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