5. David Stein - "Black Swan"
Goodness, is there any single set more brilliantly designed than the Sayers's apartment? It's so claustrophobic, sickeningly pink and uneasily scary. The more subtle designs, such as the ballet company and those stairwells, are subtly marvelous as well but that apartment is just...amazing.
4. Dante Ferretti - "Shutter Island"
Designing a mental institution must be such a fun assignment for any art director. "Shutter Island"'s castle is epic and frightening, but the smaller sets work too - don't those prisons just feel endless? - and even the interiors are gaudy and brilliant.
3. Elli Papageorgakopoulou - "Dogtooth"
Wow, what a name. Anyway! It's one location for almost the entire film, but what a perfect location it is. The walls are just a bit too white, the grass is just slightly too green, the ceiling just a little bit too high - everything is "perfect", yet at the same time, so frighteningly off. It's just a regular house, but there's a marvelous unease.
2. Nadine Herrmann - "I Am Love"
Those lush country vineyards, those spiraling staircases and those lush mansions...every single set piece in this film is a beauty as intricate and carefully designed as the costumes. It's just another piece of Guadagnino's marvelous aesthetic.
1. Eve Stewart and Judy Farr - "The King's Speech"
Yes, I went for the predictable choice - but it is deserving. Everyone keeps mentioning "the wall" in Logue's office and it totally deserves to be mentioned. In fact, that and the rest of the sets in the film are all so wonderful and interesting it's impossible to look away.
Honorable Mentions: Scott Pilgrim Vs the World's art direction gracefully captured the spirit of its characters, especially in that Chaos Theatre; I'm not sure if it counts as "art direction" but Summer Wars was such a visual feast that I had to mention it somewhere; True Grit's old-west landscapes are so, so solid; I didn't love Inception but it definitely deserves praise in the art direction department.
What were the most well designed films in your opinion? Comment!