Fox Searchlight Pictures
In a weird double-dipping twist of fate, the nominees behind Beauty and the Beast and Darkest Hour will be competing against themselves in two separate Oscar categories. That could spell hard luck for production designer Sarah Greenwood and set decorator Katie Spencer (as it could also for costume designer Jacqueline Durran in her category). Still, production design winners have traditionally skewed more toward the plummy and the plush, and both of Greenwood and Spencer's vehicles over-qualify in that regard. But neither film successfully amalgamates its overall look into the mise-en-scène itself; instead, both deploy their baroque sets to distract from the hollowness of their thematic surroundings. There's an argument to be made that Blade Runner 2049 is guilty of the same, just on the other, more Film Twitter-friendly side of the coin. But we're of the opinion that Dennis Gassner, a previous winner for Bugsy, actually finds cunning ways to walk back from the occasionally shallow excesses of the 1982 Ridley Scott original, adding gravity without sacrificing any dystopian opulence. (It's the 2046 to the original's In the Mood for Love, if you prefer.) The original Blade Runner infamously lost to Gandhi, and many other years would find us putting our money on Academy members voting to, like Quantum Leap's Dr. Sam Beckett, put right what once went wrong. But not this year, which will see the AMPAS going back in time for entirely different reasons.