Shutterstock Puts Pop Art Spin on Oscar-Nominated Films

Oscar Pop reimagines the posters of the Best Picture contenders

movie posters
Original designs include Little Women by Alex Clem; Ford v Ferrari by Alice Lee; and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood by Ian Calleja. Shutterstock
Headshot of Ian Zelaya

Whether you’re rooting for Little Women or Joker at the Oscars on Sunday, Shutterstock is celebrating all nine best picture nominees by giving them pop art makeovers.

The stock image provider’s Oscar Pop poster series is back for its eighth year, spotlighting the Best Picture nominees at the 92nd Academy Awards with reimagined film posters inspired by pop artists. Shutterstock tapped nine in-house designers to create the original posters, which incorporate photos, illustrations and textures sourced from the platform’s collection of more than 300 million images.

Mike McCabe, vp of creative at Shutterstock, said the annual Oscars project is a platform for the company to show it’s plugged into the creative community and to surface assets from its contributors, which hit 1 million in December.

“We want to show the ways our assets can be used as creative inspiration,” McCabe said. “Our contributors give us these assets that we recombine to make amazing new work. Our in-house creatives are thrilled to be able to express themselves and repurpose other work.”

McCabe said each year, the company asks select designers to choose which film and artist they want to create their poster around. This year’s designs range from chaotic to minimalist, classic to contemporary, each with elements inspired by artists such as Yayoi Kusama and David Hockney.

Nicole Dai's Parasite poster is inspired by Saul Bass, while Alex Bodin's The Irishman poster is inspired by Thierry Guetta.

For the coming-of-age Nazi Germany satire Jojo Rabbit, designer Thanh Nguyen drew inspiration from Kusama’s childhood and her use of bright, oversaturated colors in her art. In a tribute to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, designer Ian Calleja links Quentin Tarantino’s ode to 1960s Hollywood and retelling of the Tate-LaBianca murders with Hockney’s painting A Bigger Splash.

Other posters include JC Moreno’s design for World War I film 1917 inspired by David Carson’s experimental typography, and Jac Castillo’s Joker poster inspired by Daniel Norris. For the divorce drama Marriage Story, Flo Lau designed a poster from the perspective of the broken couple’s 8-year-old son in the style of Robert Indiana, the creator of the Love sculpture.

Alex Clem was influenced by British painter Pauline Boty for Greta Gerwig’s Little Women, while Alex Bodin’s tribute to The Irishman—Martin Scorcese’s crime drama about Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance—draws inspiration from street artist Thierry Guetta, also known as Mr. Brainwash.

And for Bong Joon-ho’s comedy-thriller Parasite, the first South Korean-made film to be nominated for Best Picture, designer Nicole Dai took inspiration from graphic design pioneer Saul Bass, known for his work in film posters and title design.

Shutterstock released a time-lapse video of the weeklong project, which incorporated nearly 100 royalty-free images across the nine posters.

The creative project is a precursor to Shutterstock’s involvement with the Academy Awards, which take place Sunday at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The company will upload images from red carpet arrivals, the press room and numerous afterparties.

While Oscar Pop is Shutterstock’s only planned traditional activation around a major cultural event, McCabe said the company is proactive when it comes to responding to cultural moments. When Hulu and Netflix released documentaries about the ill-fated Fyre Festival in 2019, Shutterstock recreated a promo using only stock video. The company executed a similar effort for the premiere of Stranger Things 3 last year.

“We’re really showing that our library is so massive that we can respond to anything in real time,” he said. “The [Fyre Festival promo] was an example of us creating something that could cost millions of dollars, but cost less than $3,000 with our resources.”

Shutterstock also releases an annual color trends report, based on customer searches and downloads. Ian Zelaya is an Adweek reporter covering how brands engage with consumers in the modern world, ranging from experiential marketing and social media to email marketing and customer experience.