My love of cinema originally came about through my love of production design, particularly for science fiction and fantasy films. As I grew up, one of my dream careers was art director, and some my early heroes were Dante Ferretti and Bo Welch. Naturally, then, a lot of my favorite filmmakers have been those who display creative art direction in their movies. Terry Gilliam has always been at the top of my list.

Other fans of Gilliam will agree with me that no other living director is more deserving of recognition by the Art Directors Guild. In fact, I'm surprised that he wasn't the first choice to receive the guild's Outstanding Contribution to Cinematic Imagery Award when it was originally given in 1998 (to Norman Jewison instead). Other filmmakers that I expect to see honored in the future include Tim Burton, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro.

Gilliam will receive the award at the Art Director's Guild Awards on February 17, when the guild also names the winners of its prizes for excellence in production design for 2006. Like other guild awards, the ADG's honors recognize distinct categories for its field. Nominated films are separated into three groups: period piece; contemporary; and fantasy (you may remember these are the same categories for the Costume Designer Guild Awards).

The guild's film nominees, with my picks highlighted in bold, are as follows:

Period Film:
Fantasy Film:
Contemporary Film: