The LAMB Devours The Oscars: Production Design

by Lucien · February 17, 2014 · LAMB Devours the Oscars · No Comments

Editor’s note: This is part of a 37-part series dissecting the 86th Academy Awards, brought to you by the Large Association of Movie Blogs and its assorted members. Nearly every day leading up to the Oscars, at least one new post written by a different LAMB will be published, each covering a different category  of the Oscars. Also, every Best Picture and Best Director nominee gets its own post. To read the other posts regarding this event, please click here. Thank you, and enjoy!




I’m no expert on Production Design. In fact, I barely understand where the line is drawn between Production Design, Costume Design, Hair & Make-up and Visual Effects. However, nobody else seems to be an expert on Production Design either, so here we go…

American Hustle

This category is almost always dominated by either period or fututuristic films, as- for obvious reasons- they require more unique sets and props to give the illusion of a time past or present. Hustle may not be Dickensian, but the look of the 1970s is clearly very different to today. Everything from furniture to curtains to the artwork that is so central to David O. Russell’s con drama is chosen and displayed brilliantly, adding to the film’s immersive quality.


A film that is 95% CGI is a shoe-in for Visual Effects, but Production Design? Personally, I would give Alfonso Cuaron’s masterpiece every award there is if it were up to me, but something tells me this isn’t one it’s going home with!

The Great Gatsby

Baz Luhrmann’s loud and visually noisy adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald’s classic was, unsurprisingly, snubbed in most categories, but does deserve this nod for its colourful and dazzling sets and visual canvas, assisting Luhrmann and his actors in displaying his vision of the air-headed party lives of his characters.


And here’s 2014’s token Futuristic Film! With its realistic but slightly odd near-future cityscapes, Spike Jonze’s computer romance is far too believable for comfort, and was the first film since Wall-E to genuinely scare me about what may lie ahead for humanity (although the world of Her doesn’t, on the surface, look too different at all)!

12 Years A Slave

Cinematography and Production Design worked together beautifully on Steve McQueen’s film to create a beautiful yet often horrifying recreation of the plantations on which Solomon Northup lived. The way in which Solomon goes from being a well-dressed merchant in New York at the beginning of the film to an bloodied, injured and tired slave is conveyed through the changing landscapes. This will definitely win…

So, that’s what I have to say about Production Design? Know more about Production Design than me? Tell me what I got wrong (or even right) in the comments!


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