Period and fantasy world-building often lead the production design Oscar contenders and this year is no exception. Hannah Beachler wowed both Marvel and director Ryan Coogler with her deeply researched and inventive designs for the hidden African kingdom Wakanda in “Black Panther,” from elaborate tribal rituals to a James Bond high-tech laboratory.
Eugenio Caballero made it possible for Alfonso Cuarón to recreate the 1971 Mexico City of his youth in painstaking detail, down to the contents of dresser drawers. Nathan Crowley went back to the 60s to chronicle Houston astronaut homes and workplaces for Damien Chazelle’s “First Man,” as well as varied airplanes and space ships that led the way to the 1969 moon landing.
Fiona Crumble gave Yorgos Lanthimos a sumptuous period playpen for his 18th century royal court, which was filmed with natural light. And John Myhre extended the turn-of-the-century world of the original Mary Poppins to the Depression era 25 years later, revisiting the Banks family home at 17 Cherry Tree Lane as well as designing new magical underwater and rooftop realms.
No film will be deemed a frontrunner until we have seen it. Lists in alphabetical order.
Stuart Craig (“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”)
James Merifield (“Mary Queen of Scots”)
Bill Desowitz contributed to this report.