This category is always a difficult one to predict because the Academy has different taste every year. The last two years the academy has gone for fantasy films. However the period film is always a popular choice with them.
1. Dante Ferretti-Hugo-From the trailer the film looks like a showy piece in terms of sets. As a result this film seems like a lock and even a front runner in the category.
2. Laurence Bennett- The Artist-Recreating the 1920s is always a challenge but this films looks like the perfect eye candy that Acadmey voters will vote for.
3. Stuart Craig-Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2-The Harry Potter series has been nominated for art direction several times. Craig deserves a cumulative recognition as this film is thus far the showiest of all the films that have been released.
4. Rick Henrichs-Captain America:The First Avenger-A showy superhero piece with beautiful sets can sometimes translate into a nomination. I think this is wishful thinking but the film looks superb and it could easily end up in the list.
5. James McAteer-A Dangerous Method-I'm putting this film in again regardless of all the mixed reviews because the Academy surprises with Period films like The Duchess and The Young Victoria. I don't think it has a great chance but the film looks immaculate and most importantly very elegant.
Other Heavy Considerations
Sarah Greenwood-Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows- The first film was nominated so this one may have an easy time getting into the top 5
James J. Murakami-J. Edgar-He was nominated for Changeling unexpectedly so his extensive work may lead him to his second nomination
Jack Fisk-The Tree of Life-This probably a long shot but there are some beautiful sets that were created. However there isn't anything showy enough that will catch the eye of the voters.
Maria Djurkovic-Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy-The trailer shows perfection in every department and with the attention the film is getting it may show up in many categories.