At the year's half-way point, which accomplishments deserve to be remembered
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Best Production Design: "Oblivion"
The Academy has no problem rewarding fantasy films from the "Lord of the Rings" or "Harry Potter" franchises with production design nominations, but don't expect them to recognize the amazing work in sci-fi films. Sadly, the only sci-film to earn a nod in this category in the 21st Century was James Cameron's "Avatar" back in 2010. Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg were rewarded for their amazing work creating the fictional world of Pandora, but many of their peers have continued to go unrecognized. Joseph Kosinski's "Oblivion" has its detractors (enough that you could now say the film is actually underrated), but few would criticize the gorgeous work by production designer Darren Gilford and his art department. From the film's spacecraft to its desolate post-apocalyptic terrain to its stunning apartment in the sky, "Oblivion" is an absolute achievement in art and design. But if "Prometheus," "Tron: Legacy," "Minority Report," "District 9" and "The Matrix Reloaded" found themselves shut out of this category, what chance does "Oblivion" have?
- Gregory Ellwood