Dynamic duos push their craft

Eye on the Oscars 2013: Art Direction

The Oscar for achievement in production design always goes to a pair: the production designer and the set decorator. Their collaboration is critical to the film’s look and contributes to its success among critics and at the box office. This year’s five nominated production designers talk to Iain Blair about their partnership with their set decorator.

Anna Karenina
Production designer Sarah Greenwood on set decorator Katie Spencer

“We’ve worked together for 17 years and she’s my right hand — my working relationship with her is as important as (my relationship with director) Joe Wright. We both have a theater background and love literature; to get the chance to do this was amazing. We started our research with a trip to Russia to see architecture and check out locations. Then Joe changed the whole premise 12 weeks out from shooting, and re-set it all in a theater, which was a huge challenge. We had to design and build this Russian theater, which could also function as all the sets. For instance, we had to make 250 chairs — all aged and with specially woven covers. Getting all that right was a massive task.”

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