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Art Directors Guild Awards: ‘Mank, ‘Da 5 Bloods’ Take Top Honors

"The Mandalorian," "Ozark," and "The Queen's Gambit" were among the top TV winners.

Gary Oldman in "Mank"

Gary Oldman in “Mank”


 IndieWire The Craft Top of the Line

David Fincher’s “Mank,” Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet,” Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods,” and Pete Docter’s “Soul” were the big film winners at the 25th annual Art Directors Guild Awards Saturday evening, taking production design honors for period, fantasy, contemporary, and animated feature, respectively. Additionally, “The Mandalorian,” “Ozark,” and “The Queen’s Gambit” were among the TV winners at the ceremony, which bodes well for “The Mandalorian” and “The Queen’s Gambit’s” Emmy prospects in the craft category.

The annual awards fete the finest production design in movies, TV, commercials, music videos, and animated features in 12 categories.

The monochromatic “Mank” is the only film that took home an ADG award that is competing for Best Picture. Pixar’s “Soul” is the favorite for Best Animated Feature. Other ADG nominees included Oscar hopefuls “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “The Trial of the Chicago 7.”

In terms of the Oscar race, “Mank” is now primed to take the win for the meticulous work created by production designer Don Burt and set decorator Jan Pascale. Nolan’s time-inverted “Tenet” is in the hunt as well, with six-time Oscar-nominated production designer Nathan Crowley utilizing a series of iconic buildings, locations, and sets as a brutal backdrop for the war between past and present. However, the lure of ’30s Hollywood and the deconstruction of classic moviemaking in black-and-white are tailor made for the Academy.

The unique challenge for Burt and Pascale was figuring out what colors translated best to black-and-white (using their iPhones) without being too garish. And the standout was their impressive recreation of the iconic Hearst Castle and San Simeon compound, lending a Gothic vibe to the extravagant accumulation of European artwork on display. An Oscar win would mark the first for a black-and-white since Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List” in 1994 for production designer Allan Starski and set decorator Ewa Braun.

Pixar’s win for “Soul” represents the third for the studio since the ADG adopted the animated feature category in 2017. Production designer Steve Pilcher created the ethereal pre-birth world of The Great Before, necessitating a new set of tools at the studio to handle the abstract shapes and forms.

Meanwhile, award-winning television producer, writer and director, Ryan Murphy, was bestowed with the Cinematic Imagery Award to honor his shows and their commitment to high-quality production design.

Stuart Wurtzel, who was nominated for an Oscar for his production design work on 1986’s “Hannah and Her Sisters,” was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Wurtzel has won three Emmys, for “Empire Falls,” “Angels in America,” and “Little Gloria… Happy at Last.”

The Illustrators and Matte Artists Council honored concept artist John Eave (“Star Trek,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”); the Scenic, Title and Graphic Artists Council honored scenic artist Patrick DeGrev, known for his backings, sets, and props at CBS Television City; and the Set Designers and Model Makers Council honored set designer Martha Johnston (“Interstellar,” “Dunkirk,” and “Aquama.”)

Below is the complete list of nominees, with winners bolded.

Period Feature Film

“Mank,” Production Designer: Donald Graham Burt (winner)
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Production Designer: Mark Ricker
“Mulan,” Production Designer: Grant Major
“News of the World,” Production Designer: David Crank
“The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Production Designer: Shane Valentino

Fantasy Feature Film

“Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn,” Production Designer: K.K. Barrett
“Pinocchio,” Production Designer: Dimitri Capuani
“Tenet,” Production Designer: Nathan Crowley (winner)
“The Midnight Sky,” Production Designer: Jim Bissell
“Wonder Woman 1984,” Production Designer: Aline Bonetto

Contemporary Feature Film

“Da 5 Bloods,” Production Designer: Wynn Thomas (winner)
“I’m Thinking of Ending Things,” Production Designer: Molly Hughes
“Palm Springs,” Production Designer: Jason Kisvarday
“Promising Young Woman,” Production Designer: Michael T. Perry
“The Prom,” Production Designer: Jamie Walker McCall

Animated Feature Film

“A Shawn the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon,” Production Designer: Matt Perry
“Onward,” Production Designer: Noah Klocek
“Soul,” Production Designer: Steve Pilcher (winner)
“The Croods: A New Age,” Production Designer: Nate Wragg
“Wolfwalkers,” Production Designers: Ross Stewart, Tomm Moore, Maria Pareja

One-Hour Period or Fantasy Single-Camera Series

“Lovecraft Country”: “I Am,” Production Designer: Kalina Ivanov
“Perry Mason”: “Chapter Three,” Production Designer: John Perry Goldsmith
“The Crown:: “War,” Production Designer: Martin Childs
“The Mandalorian”: “Chapter 13: The Jedi,” Production Designers: Andrew L. Jones, Doug Chiang (winner)
“Westworld”: “Parce Domine,” Production Designer: Howard Cummings

One-Hour Contemporary Single-Camera Series

“Killing Eve”: “Are You from Pinner?” Production Designer: Laurence Dorman
“Ozark”: “Wartime,” Production Designer: David Bomba (winner)
“The Flight Attendant”: “After Dark,” Production Designer: Sara K. White
“The Twilight Zone”: “Among the Untrodden,” Production Designer: Michael Wylie
“Utopia”: “Just a Fanboy,” Production Designer: Steve Arnold

Television Movie or Limited Series

“Fargo,” Production Designer: Warren Alan Young
“Hollywood,” Production Designer: Matthew Flood Ferguson
“Little Fires Everywhere,” Production Designer: Jessica Kender
“The Alienist: Angel of Darkness,” Production Designer: Ruth Ammon
“The Queen’s Gambit,” Production Designer: Uli Hanisch (winner)

Half Hour Single-Camera Series

“Dead to Me”: “You Don’t Have to Go,” “It Had to Be You,” Production Designer: L.J. Houdyshell
“Emily in Paris”: “Emily in Paris,” Production Designer: Anne Seibel
“Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet”: “Pilot,” Production Designer: Mark Worthington
“Space Force”: “THE LAUNCH,” Production Designer: Susie Mancini
“What We Do in the Shadows”: “Resurrection,” “Collaboration,” “Witches,” Production Designer: Kate Bunch (winner)

Multi-Camera Series

“Ashely Garcia: Genius in Love”: “Unintended Consequences,” Production Designer: Josee F. Lemonnier
“Bob Hearts Abishola”: “Randy’s a Wrangler,” “Paris is for Lovers, Not Mothers”
“Straight Outta Lagos,” Production Designer: John Shaffner
“Family Reunion”: “Remember When Jade Was Down with the Swirl?” “Remember When Shaka Got Beat Up?” Production Designer: Aiyana Trotter
“The Neighborhood”: “Welcome to the New Pastor,” “Welcome to the Hockey Game,” Production Designer: Wendell Johnson
“Will & Grace”: “Accidentally on Porpoise,” “We Love Lucy,” “It’s Time,” Production Designer: Glenda Rovello (winner)

Short Format: Web Series, Music Video or Commercial

Adidas Originals: “Superstar – Change is a Team Sport,” Production Designer: Ruth De Jong
Apple: “Vertical Cinema,” Production Designer: Shane Valentino
Camila Cabello: “My Oh My,” Production Designer: François Audouy
Harry Styles: “Falling,” Production Designer: François Audouy (winner)
Taylor Swift: “Cardigan,” Production Designer: Ethan Tobman

Variety, Reality, or Competition Series

“Earth to Ned”: “Ned: The Musical,” Production Designer: Darcy Prevost
“Saturday Night Live”: “Host: John Mulaney + Music: David Byrne,” “Host: Adele + Music: H.E.R.,” “Host: Dave Chappelle + Music: Foo Fighters,” Production Designers: Keith Raywood, Eugene Lee, Akira Yoshimura, N. Joseph De Tullio (winner)
“The Masked Singer”: “The Season Premiere – The Masks Return,” Production Designer: James Connelly
“The Voice”: “Live Finale Ep. 18,” “The Blind Auditions, Season Premiere Ep. 1,” “The Battles Premiere Ep. 6,” Production Designers: Zeya Maurer, James Connelly, Anton Goss
“Wheel of Fortune”: “Consumer Cellular Secret Santa,” “Fabulous Food,” Production Designer: Renee Hoss-Johnson

Variety Special

“Black Is King,” Production Designers: Hannah Beachler, Carlos Laszlo, Susan Linss, Miranda Lorenz, Brandon Mendez, Rika Nakanishi, Ethan Tobman (winner)
“Democratic National Convention 2020,” Production Designer: Bruce Rodgers
“Super Bowl Half Time Show Starring Jennifer Lopez & Shakira,” Production Designer: Bruce Rodgers
“The Oscars,” Production Designer: Jason Sherwood
“Yearly Departed,” Production Designer: Suzuki Ingerslev

Chris Lindahl contributed reporting.

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