Another awards season is here and 2016 was another great year for cinema. Below I’ve chosen my top ten picks for best production design of any film released in 2016 that I have personally seen. I’ve taken into account the story, characters, genre, tone, direction, originality, technical difficulty, budget size and size of team, in addition to the principles of design. Despite this, it’s still of course, very subjective. My personal taste might largely differ from yours 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. It’s worth it.
10) ROGUE ONE
Logline: The Rebel Alliance makes a risky move to steal the plans for the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow.
Director: Gareth Edwards
Supervising Art Director: Alastair Bullock
Set Decorator: Lee Sandales
Total Budget: $200MM
9) THE HANDMAIDEN
Logline: A woman is hired as a handmaiden to a Japanese heiress, but secretly she is involved in a plot to defraud her.
Director: Chan-wook Park
Production Designer: Seong-hie Ryu
Total Budget: $8.9MM
8) CAFÉ SOCIETY
Logline: In the 1930s, a Bronx native moves to Hollywood and falls in love with a young woman who is seeing a married man.
Director: Woody Allen
Production Designer: Santo Loquasto
Total Budget: $30MM
7) HIDDEN FIGURES
Logline: The story of a team of African-American women mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the US space program.
Director: Theodore Melfi
Production Designer: Wynn Thomas
Art Director: Jeremy Woolsey
Set Decorator: Missy Parker
Total Budget: 25MM
6) DOCTOR STRANGE
Logline: While on a journey of physical and spiritual healing, a brilliant neurosurgeon is drawn into the world of the mystic arts.
Director: Scott Derrickson
Production Designer: Charles Wood
Supervising Art Director: Ray Chan
Set Decorator: John Bush
Total Budget: 165MM
Logline: The story of Christine Chubbuck, a 1970s TV reporter struggling with depression and professional frustrations as she tries to advance her career.
Director: Antonio Campos
Production Designer: Scott Kuzio
Art Director: Molly Bailey
Set Decorator: Jess Royal
Total Budget: N/A
4) HAIL, CAESAR!
Logline: A Hollywood fixer in the 1950s works to keep the studio’s stars in line.
Production Designer: Jess Gonchor
Supervising Art Director: Dawn Swiderski
Set Decorator: Nancy Haigh
Total Budget: 22MM
3) NOCTURNAL ANIMALS
Logline: A wealthy art gallery owner is haunted by her ex-husband’s novel, a violent thriller she interprets as a symbolic revenge tale.
Director: Tom Ford
Production Designer: Shane Valentino
Art Director: Christopher Brown
Set Decorator: Meg Everist
Total Budget: 22MM
Logline: A spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in its sleep chambers. As a result, two passengers are awakened 90 years early.
Director: Morten Tyldum
Production Designer: Guy Hendrix Dyas
Supervising Art Director: David Lazan
Set Decorator: Gene Serdena
Total Budget: 110MM
Logline: When twelve mysterious spacecraft appear around the world, linguistics professor Louise Banks is tasked with interpreting the language of the apparent alien visitors.
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Production Designer: Patrice Vermette
Supervising Art Director: Isabelle Guay
Set Decorator: Paul Hotte
Total Budget: 47MM
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
You can also check out our picks for Best Production Design of 2015, here.