I would just like to preface this breakdown by saying that Anna Karenina had the best production design of the year, without question. Along with it being beautiful and elegant, it was innovative, highly conceptual and very much aware of its back-stagey hooks and pullies.
Art Directors Guild
The ADG picks 3 winners each year from 3 categories: Period, Fantasy and Contemporary.
50% - ADG & Oscar winners match.
All Oscar nominees were also nominated for ADG, so they all still have a chance.
This year, the winners were: Anna Karenina (Period), Life of Pi (Fantasy) and Skyfall (Contemporary)
Since ADG split this award into 3 Categories in 2006, the winners are split 50/50 between Period and Fantasy.
More Period films get nominated, but Fantasy and Period have won the same number of Oscars. However, if you want to break out those Period films that fell into the Fantasy category prior to 2005, then you’ll find that 69% of Oscar winners since 1996 were Period films.
When the ADG & Oscar winners match:
67% - Fantasy film won Oscar
33% - Period film won Oscar
Based on the stats above, if ADG & Oscar match this year, then it will more than likely be Life of Pi over Anna Karenina, statistically speaking.
When the ADG & Oscar winners do NOT match:
67% - Period film won Oscar
33% - Fantasy film won Oscar
Based on the stats above, if ADG & Oscar do NOT match, then it will more than likely be Les Miserables or Lincoln, than The Hobbit, strictly speaking statistically.
The Hobbit has been silent this entire awards season and Life of Pi, while visually and technically stunning, doesn't fit the mold of the art direction that the Academy might award.
In reality, Anna Karenina should win this easily, because it is by far the best production design of any film this year. There can be no question of that. All signs point to Lincoln getting the snub for most of its 12 nominations, but if they were to give Lincoln a consolation Oscar (other than Best Actor), then I could potentially see that happening here.
PREDICTION: Anna Karenina
I’m fighting the urge to think too deeply in this category. Anna Karenina is the best and I believe that it will win, plain and simple. There’s just something about Lincoln that keeps bugging me.