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The Top 25: Best Production Design Winners

Welcome back to this series!, Yes, it’s time for another Top 25. Today, I’ll be knocking off another one of the technical categories, with this one being the always elaborate Best Production Design field. The category is usually a feast for the eyes, but there’s plenty more to it than that. The sets and the environment on the whole are put on display here in an often magical way. I have a few specific titles I’ll be citing below, but I know the game here. You all mostly just want to see the lists anyway, so I have no problem obliging you there in that particular regard. All you have to do is just be patient over the next few paragraphs once again…

This time around, I’m once again going the overview route, since as mentioned above the look of these winners is really what matters here. Also, it really just depends on what sort of winner you’re partial to here. There are all different sorts that have won the Academy Award here for this category, so it’s pretty much a matter of taste. Period, Sci-Fi, etc…all have their moment in the sun.

Right now, I’ll just discuss my top ten a bit (and slightly beyond). To me, the best winner of this category so far to date has been Tim Burton’s Batman, which isn’t the best movie in the world, but features some breathtaking Production Design by Anton Furst. It’s amazingly unique, you have to give the design that. Close behind I had La La Land, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, Pan’s Labyrinth, and Titanic, two films I adore, along with two other films I don’t love but think have amazing Production Design. On the next tier are two flicks I like a lot more in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Star Wars. We also have, up the top dozen, you have the likes of Avatar, Barry Lyndon, Black Panther, Chicago, Dick Tracy, and Raiders of the Lost Ark, all very worthy winners. This is actually a pretty stacked category, so there were tons more than 25 winners that I could have chosen from in this field.

Here now is how I’d rank the 25 top winners of the Best Production Design Oscar:

25. The Great Gatsby (2013)
24. Memoirs of a Geisha
23. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
22. The Godfather: Part II
21. Doctor Zhivago
20. All That Jazz
19. The Apartment
18. Schindler’s List
17. Hugo
16. Mad Max: Fury Road
15. Moulin Rouge!
14. Lawrence of Arabia
13. Dick Tracy
12. Avatar
11. Raiders of the Lost Ark
10. Chicago
9. Barry Lyndon
8. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
7. Black Panther
6. Star Wars
5. Titanic
4. Pan’s Labyrinth
3. Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
2. La La Land
1. Batman

Honorable Mention: Amadeus, The Aviator, Cabaret, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Last Emperor, and The Shape of Water

Stay tuned for another Top 25 installment next week!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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