by Kathryn Loosli Pritchett, Contra Costa Times
With the Academy Awards upon us, it’s time once again to give a nod to the best cinematic design offerings of the year. Set designers and art directors weren’t just swanning around in 2010. No sir, there was “True Grit” in the “Biutiful” interiors, architecture and landscaping of the past year’s movies.
So much so that as a sort of valentine—blue or any other decorative hue—I’m friending all those set design pros that left me speechless in 2010. Here are my annual Chaise Lounge Awards for good design at the movies. And the Chaise goes to. . .
Best Bachelor Pad – Though the geeky guys of “The Social Network”let their fun go viral in a Palo Alto ranch house and Mickey Rourke lit it up in his “Iron Man 2” welding den, it was Mark Wahlberg’s “Date Night” apartment with its hi-techsecurity force and hijinks-ready decor that scored big this year.
Most Revolutionary Design—No wonder Patricia Clarkson was thinking of throwing over her marriage once she landed in that gorgeous hotel room with the beautiful rugs, intricate tiles, and charming balcony that overlooked the Nile. We could all use a little “Cairo Time.”
Best Deferred Maintenance—Julia Roberts’s ruin of an Italian apartment with the non-functioning tub in “Eat Pray Love” had beautifully distressed walls, but it was Geoffrey Rush’s speech therapy office in “The King’s Speech” with its layers of old wallpaper, paint and varnish that truly left me at a loss for words.
Best Recycling Bin—Who knew that a strategically placed dumpster can also become a successful landing pad? That would be Christian Bale who was willing to regularly jump from a second story window into this pile of trash to escape Melissa Leo in “The Fighter.”
Most Menacing Florist – I’m sure he did a bang-up business in casket sprays, but I’d steer clear of the florist played by Pete Postelthwaite in “The Town.”
Deadliest Landscape—Pummeled by the tsunami in “Hereafter” or crushed by a boulder in “127 Hours,” this year at the movies proved once again that it’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature.
Most Romantic Garden Tool—Some knights in shining armor prefer white steeds, but Penn Badgley worked the riding lawnmower to his advantage when he swept Emma Stone off her feet in “Easy A.” Note to all husbands/boyfriends—don’t expect to get lucky by way of a Home Depot gift card!
Best Wallpaper—The big floral print covering the walls of John Lennon’s mother’s apartment in “Nowhere Boy” was as fresh today as yesterday, but it was the vintage Art Deco prints and gorgeous Osborne & Little silver metallic prints in The King’s Speech that proved to be my cup of tea.
Best Bedroom—The lavender walls and creamy upholstered bed in Annette Bening and Julianne Moore’s master bedroom in “The Kid’s Are Alright” were perfectly matched, and Anne Hathaway’s bohemian digs in “Love and Other Drugs” were artfully messy, but my fantasy bedroom would have to be the open air pavilion tented in that shimmering aqua fabric in “Eat Pray Love.”
Best Kitchen—Obviously, a decorator had her or his way with Owen Wilson’s modern kitchen (and his sleepover-ready master closet) in “How Do You Know,” but I preferred the spare white kitchen that contained Nicole Kidman’s grief in “Rabbit Hole.”
Best Landscaping—Julianne Moore did a fine job with Mark Ruffalo’s hilly LA backyard in “The Kid’s Are Alright,” but it was the rolling hills of the Kentucky horse farm where “Secretariat” trained that set my heart a-racing.
Best Wall Art—It was hard to compete with the spare landscape and brilliant starry skies, but those Wild Wild West posters at the end of “True Grit” are something I’d like to rustle up for my own little shack.
Best DWR Catalog of the Future—“Tron: Legacy” showcased the Safehouse with its mix of white mid-century modern classics and acrylic antique-inspired furniture. Illuminated by glowing floors and LED fitted chandeliers, this was dazzling digital-age décor.
And now, the Grand Chaise—the one with the leopard print velvet slipcover—is awarded to the Place I Wish I Called Home. Who wouldn’t want to play around in Toy Story 3’s version of Ken’s Dream House with the exterior elevator and disco closet? And Inception was filled with one dreamy residence after another, but for something truly otherworldly, I’ll take the sleek concrete and wood home filled with spare contemporary furniture and surrounded by killer beachside views in The Ghost Writer.