Every Movie Oppenheimer Beat to Win Art Directors Guild Award: Were Any of Them More Deserving Than the Christopher Nolan Film?

'Oppenheimer' beat tough competition to win one of the most prestigious awards for production design.

Every Movie Oppenheimer Beat to Win Art Directors Guild Award: Were Any of Them More Deserving Than the Christopher Nolan Film?


  • Christopher Nolan's 'Oppenheimer' is a period piece with production design handled by Ruth De Jong.
  • The film won the Art Directors Guild Award for Best Period Feature Film beating the likes of 'Napoleon' and 'Maestro'.
  • De Jong's production design in Oppenheimer was fully deserving of the honor despite other nominees doing great work.
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Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer continues to leave its mark on this awards season after an impressive box office run. The critically acclaimed film won five Golden Globe Awards and received 13 nominations at the 96th Academy Awards. The film recently also bagged the Art Directors Guild (ADG) Award for Best Period Feature Film.

Christopher Nolan finally earned an Oscar nominatio for Best Directo for Oppenheimer
A still from Oppenheimer

The ADG Excellence in Production Design Awards are awarded for exemplary work in the field of production design. Since Oppenheimer follows the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer and takes place in the 20th century, it was nominated in the Period Feature Film category. However, the category was stacked with impressive projects, which made a strong case of their own for the award. Here are the films Oppenheimer beat and whether the movie deserved the ADG’s Best Period Feature Film award.

Oppenheimer Beat Tough Competition For Art Directors Guild Award

Oppenheimer was nominated for the Best Period Feature Film at this year’s Art Directors Guild Award. Directed by Christopher Nolan, the film was a major critical and commercial success. Its production design was handled by Ruth De Jong, who previously worked on films such as Nope and Us.

Oppenheimer won the Art Directors Guild (ADG) Award for Best Period Feature Film.

De Jong was awarded the ADG’s Best Period Feature Film award for her work on Oppenheimer. However, she faced stiff competition from veterans such as Adam Stockhausen, Arthur Max, and Jack Fisk, who have previously won the award.

Stockhausen, who first won the award in 2014, was nominated for Asteroid City. Jack Fisk, who has won the award twice, was nominated for Killers of the Flower Moon. Arthur Max had won the award in 2000 and was nominated for Napoleon. Kevin Thompson of Maestro and De Jong were the only two nominees to not have won in the Period Feature Film category before.

Did Oppenheimer Deserve the Best Period Feature Film Award?

Oppenheimer and Ruth De Jong certainly edged out tough competition to earn the award but some of the nominees in the category were also equally deserving if not more. Firstly, Adam Stockhausen did an excellent job in creating the retro-futuristic version of the 1950s, which is the primary setting of Asteroid City.

Ruth De Jong
A glimpse of Los Alamos recreated by Ruth De Jong in Oppenheimer

On the other hand, Arthur Max had the challenge of recreating France in the 16th century. The film was also nominated for Best Production Design at the upcoming Academy Awards, despite being otherwise critically panned. Thus, Max’s work on Napoleon speaks volumes for itself.

Jack Fisk’s production design nailed the aesthetics of the 1920s Osage Nation in Killers of the Flower Moon. Meanwhile, Kevin Thompson brilliantly complemented Bradley Cooper’s passionate exploration of a musical genius in the mid-20th century.

However, De Jong arguably faced the most complex challenge out of the group while working on Oppenheimer. The production designer had to recreate Los Alamos of the 1940s from scratch for exterior shots. Meanwhile, the interior scenes were filmed inside real historical locations in the town.


De Jong’s production design not only successfully blends the interior and exterior sets of Los Alamos but also makes the town feel alive and lived in. Similarly, De Jong’s production design shines in other scenes set outside the town, making her truly deserving of the award for Best Period Feature Film.

Oppenheimer is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video and other PVOD platforms.

Pratik Handore

Written by Pratik Handore

Articles Published: 522

Pratik is a writer at FandomWire, with a content writing experience of five years. Although he has a Bachelors in Hospitality, his fascination with all things pop culture led him to writing articles on a variety of topics ranging from latest streaming releases to unheard movie trivia. When not writing, you can find him reading manga, or watching classic TV shows.