Degree of difficulty is key in this category. Movies of scale and scope and originality — especially if they are period or fantasy — get the advantage. Which is why the Coen brothers’ ambitious period Hollywood comedy “Hail, Caesar!” — from musical numbers to synchronized swimming — is a contender. But this year, more contemporary romantic musical “La La Land” — a Best Picture contender and winner of the Art directors Guild Award for Contemporary Film — may have the edge.
Contenders (ranked in order of likelihood to win)
1. Sandy Reynolds-Wasco, David Wasco (“La La Land”)
2. Patrice Vermette; Paul Hotte (“Arrival”)
3. Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh (“Hail, Caesar!”)
4. Stuart Craig, Anna Pinnock (“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”)
5. Guy Hendrix Dyas and Gene Serdena (“Passengers”)