To judge by the war zones depicted in the movies last year, production-design teams and set designers worked wonders with the color palettes of desert khaki, night-goggle green and camouflage gray. Whether they were staging battles in "Zero Dark Thirty," "Lincoln" or "The Hunger Games," the odds were definitely in their favor for medals of honor.
They also created extraordinary backdrops for the battlefields of the heart. Be it the tragic love story that played out on the big stage of "Anna Karenina" or the winsome first love that blossomed in the pup tents of "Moonrise Kingdom," design pros created worlds filled with exotic marigolds and silver linings.
Therefore, I'm delighted to present once again my annual Chaise Lounge (or Chaise Longue for you Francophiles) Awards for the best design elements in the movies of 2012:
Though Anna Kendrick's father's white-on-white kitchen was "Pitch Perfect," I really worked up an appetite for the sleek art deco dining car in "The Hunger Games," and to the latter goes the award.
Most Transformative Tableware Piece
After parole breaker Hugh Jackman steals some silver serving pieces in "Les Miserables," the noble bishop gives him two silver candlesticks on the condition he change his life for good. Mercy me!
The street-savvy caregiver landed a
Best Home Office
Imperial and austere, Jude Law's neoclassical office in "Anna Karenina" took my breath away, even if it (and he) left Keira Knightley cold.
Most Romantic Wallpaper
I'd love to change my wall coverings on a whim, the way Jim Sturgiss does in his neo-Seoul apartment in "Cloud Atlas." But I'm old-fashioned enough to prefer the heavenly cloud-strewn wallpaper from "Anna Karenina" -- said to be replicated from a paper found in one of Catherine the Great's palaces, which receives this award.
Best Calm-Before-the-Storm Decor
The strings of poolside lights, along with the masses of sky lanterns, seemed especially lovely once the tsunami had taken its toll in "The Impossible."
Best Salvage Yard Finds
When you're talking about a revolution, be sure to take a cue from the rabble rousers in "Les Miserables" by building a barricade out of what would have become fine (French) antiques.
Best Budget Remodel
The cinder block, lavender-walled dance studio in "Silver Linings Playbook" showed how a construction project could help rebuild a life.
Best Bachelor Pad
Though the roommate's "Star Wars" half of the bedroom in "Pitch Perfect" was every Luke Skywalker wannabe's dream, and the retro-cool attic game room in "Moonrise Kingdom" recalled every boomer boy's childhood, it was Scoutmaster Ward's tidy tent in "Moonrise" that tied up my heart in a perfect bowline knot.
Best Villain's Lair
The one-two punch of the floating casino and glamorous getaway sailboat in "Skyfall" gave Javier
Deadliest Landscape Design
The cornfield in "Looper" was scary, and the crazy cool acid pools in "Life of Pi" were deadly, but it was the killer bee-infested forests of "The Hunger Games" that most made me want to sprint indoors.
Best '70s Revival
Johnny Depp's beloved Collinwood featured haunted console televisions and oversized disco balls in "Dark Shadows," and Halle Berry's San Francisco apartment in "Cloud Atlas" had a groovy ethnic artifacts vibe. But it was Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver's home in "Silver Linings Playbook" with the C. Jeré-esque metal wall art and flocked Christmas tree that had the best mojo, not to mention those crabby snacks.
Best Plaid on Plaid
No contest: "Moonrise Kingdom." The entire production was a tartan triumph.
Watching "Lincoln" try to navigate the political waters in the dark, claustrophobic daylight interior shots, I was thrilled when the spaces were emancipated by the many beautiful gas lamps during the nighttime scenes.
Best Objets d'Art
Forget flowers and candy; I want to declare my affections with the exquisite little painted building blocks that Kitty and Levin used to pledge their love in "Anna Karenina."
The Grand Chaise
(Yes, the one with the leopard-print velvet slipcover): It goes to the place I wish I called home. No, not the Scottish manor house layered with antiques, modern art, a grand piano and a gramophone in "Cloud Atlas," though it hit all the right notes. Nor the charming disarray of the doorless, badly plumbed, richly colored "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," even though it made me want to pack my bags and relocate to India immediately. No, the grand passion I felt was for the rustic yet noble snow-covered wooden structures that made up the country estate in "Anna Karenina."