Thoughts on Best Cinematography?

Posted by · 12:24 pm · August 29th, 2009

It’s proving to be the most difficult category to navigate in this recent update.

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72 responses so far

  • 1 8-30-2009 at 5:48 am

    Ali E. said...

    right now, I think the contenders are (in order of likelihood):

    1. Dion Beebe for NINE (the only true lock, ı guess)
    2. Barry Ackroyd for THE HURT LOCKER (the film will obviosuly perform very well at the Oscars and Ackroyd is long overdue… he should’ve been nominated for The Wind that Shakes the Barley, by the way, if just more people had seen that movie)
    3. Andrew Lesnie for THE LOVELY BONES (a big contender of this year’s race and cinematographers obviously love and respect his work… he was an ASC nominee for King Kong for god’s sake!)

    the rest is an open race…
    4. Emmanuel Lubezki for THE TREE OF LIFE (I only place this here, because I still doubt if the film will be released in time… but if it does, I think we have our potential winner here)
    5. Dante Spinotti for PUBLIC ENEMIES (yes, the film got mixed reviews and I think it shouldn’t have been shot in digital in the first place… but all that aside, Spinotti and Mann did the maximum they could to push the limits of digital technology without depending on post-production tricks like Fincher and Miranda did last year with benjamin Button… therefore, I think Spinotti -an already respected DoP- will receive a lot of respect from his fellow colleagues come awards time… I’m not entirely sure if it will become an Oscar nominee, but I believe he will be an ASC nominee at least)

    6. Russell Boyd for THE WAY BACK (if the film gets a 2009 release as rumoured, I think it will be a major contender overall and the material looks very baity on paper for a DoP to come up with an Oscar nominated performance)
    7. Robert Richardson for INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (I used to think Richardson would win his third Oscar this year with Shutter Island… but now that it’s pushed back to next year, he has a chance to be nominated with Tarantino’s film, in which his work is very good but I’m not sure great enough… But despite the qualities of the movie itself, Richardson’s work is the kinda cinematography the academy members like to acknowledge, so anything’s possible)
    8. Andrew Dunn for PRECIOUS (call me crazy, but Precious is the potential Best Picture winner of the year and Dunn is a veteran quite respected in the industry I believe, so it’s perfectly possible if they really go crazy for this film… and judging from the trailers, the cinematography does look good)
    9. Rodrigo Prieto for either BROKEN EMBRACES or BIUTIFUL (He’s a bit underrated so far by the Academy and I think he has to be nominated for the Almodovar film this year, but it may not be the kinda work the Academy members usually vote for… We still need to see some footage from Biutiful)
    10. Bruno Delbonnel for HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE (his work was great as usual… I don’t see the Academy giving a Harry Potter movie a nomination in this category, but an ASC nomination may be possible)
    11. Greig Fraiser for BRIGHT STAR (I know how many see this as a near lock and the trailers looked pretty, but I’ve always believed the hierarchy counts a lot in technical categories like this, and they rarely nominate such relatively newcomers to the American film industry… The rare examples are either phenomenal works such as Delbonnel’s in Amelie or works in major Best Picture nominees such as Caludio Miranda’s in Benjamin Button… so, let me say that I don’t see this happening since Bright Star won’t fit into either of those scenarios)
    12. Anthony Dod Mantle for ANTICHRIST (let’s hope it happens, but I don’t think the film will be received well by the Academy at all)

    to conclude… Avatar is not even a contender here, if you ask me… the same goes for The White Ribbon… Where the Wild Things Are w,ll probably be my wishful thinking at the end of the year, but I don’t see it making in either…

  • 2 8-30-2009 at 7:44 am

    Dominik said...

    From what I have seen this year, Dante Spinotti is as close to a lock (or definately should be) as nobody else for his great work in the (mostly) underrated “Public Enemies”!

  • 3 8-30-2009 at 8:44 am

    John said...

    So, we really think ‘Avatar’ won’t get in for Cinematography? I’m not disagreeing, just a little surprised. Some of the natural shots/lighting in the trailer are gorgeous.

  • 4 8-30-2009 at 9:23 am

    JAB said...

    1. Nine
    2. Harry Potter
    3. The Lovely Bones
    4. The Hurt Locker
    5. Where The Wild Things Are

  • 5 8-30-2009 at 9:40 am

    Loyal said...

    @ Ali E

    I am curious about Precious. I think its Oscar success is tied into its box office moreso than other films. No one wants a $30m or less grossing BP winner and with 10 nominees in the mix its hard to know what sort of bump these films can now receive.

    But maybe Tyler Perry and Oprah can help break Precious out. Didn’t work for Beloved though.

  • 6 8-30-2009 at 9:45 am

    Andy said...

    I’m really rooting for Bruno Delbonnel here. 2/3’s of the way through the year, I still think—FX or not—“Half Blood Prince” was still the most beautifully shot film yet released. So I hope he gets in. Then again, I haven’t been to any festivals and seen stuff like Bright Star…

    Also, I’m not really feeling the Hurt Locker in this category either… Love the movie, but “great cinematography” isn’t the 1st, 2nd, or even 10th thing that stand out for me from that (admittedly amazing) film.

  • 7 8-30-2009 at 9:50 am

    Ali E. said...

    @ Loyal…

    I think there’s already a word out there about the movie and serious Oscar talk brings also money for small films… Precious may not have the boxoffice appeal of Slumdog Millionaire, but I think good word of mouth and the flow of awards can easily take it to +$50m… And that has been enough for other films. Crash comes to mind first, another Lions Gate film…

  • 8 8-30-2009 at 10:03 am

    Chris138 said...

    Terrence Malick movies just about always get cinematography nominations. I’m sure this year will be the same.

  • 9 8-30-2009 at 10:12 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    As Kris said before, “just about always” = 3 out of 4 films. I have high hopes for “Tree of Life” too, but that’s not much of a stat to base things on.

    And Ali, beware of calling a film nobody has seen yet “the only true lock.” Just sayin’.

  • 10 8-30-2009 at 10:16 am

    Ali E. said...

    You’re right, but doesn’t the footage we have seen of Nine so far tell that it’s close as it gets to a nomination?

  • 11 8-30-2009 at 10:51 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Honestly, I personally thought the flash of the trailer derived more from the design elements than the lensing, but that’s me.

  • 12 8-30-2009 at 2:44 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    A VERY good list, Ali. Hard to argue with most of it.

    Biutiful, FYI, is definitely a 2010 film at this point. I happened to run into Stephen Mirrione at a screening last week and asked him about it. They’re still working on and and will hold onto it until next year.

    I’m also fascinated that The Way Back is suddenly on the radar as a possible 2009 release. When did that happen?

  • 13 8-30-2009 at 2:46 pm

    twinzin said...

    Inglorious Basterds
    Where the Wild Things Are
    The Road
    Tree of Life

    I suppose if Tree of Life does come out it should be in there with the few I listed above.

  • 14 8-30-2009 at 3:00 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Ah, tracked down the original article that spurred the 2009 talk on The Way Back and put a note in to Rudin. It’s not a guarantee yet, but who knows what will happen in the next month, when more and more of those involved get a chance to see what they’re dealing with.

  • 15 8-30-2009 at 3:16 pm

    Alex17 said...

    Yea…hopefully The Way Back makes it this year….its been way too long since Weir’s made a film….and the cast looks freakin killer….Harris, Sturgess, Ronan, Farrell, Strong….all together …sounds awesome.

    Hopefully we get some concrete news on its release sometime soon.

  • 16 8-30-2009 at 3:42 pm

    AmericanRequiem said...

    Ronan having two big movies coming out this year will defianteky help her get notice for one of the roles wouldnt you say kris? most likely lovely bones

  • 17 8-30-2009 at 4:10 pm

    Ali E. said...

    Thanks for the info Kris… So if Biutiful is also a 2010 release, what’s the biggest card of Focus left for this year? A Serious Man? Coraline? When was the last time they had such a weak year? They really need to buy some film at Toronto or something…

    and even though I still couldn’t get used to the idea of a 2009 release for The Way Back, I’d still be delighted if it would… Peter Weir is one of my favorite directors who is long overdue… The only thing that worries me is that Bigelow could lose her Oscar to Weir now… :)

  • 18 8-30-2009 at 7:45 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    They’re pretty high on A Serious Man, so that’s the one.

  • 19 8-31-2009 at 7:12 am

    Patrick said...

    so far for me, it’s The Hurt Locker. But on a completely un-oscar related front, I love the frenetic bitterness of the camerawork of “In The Loop” Its not angry that you can describe camerawork as spiteful and angry, and mean it as a compliment.

  • 20 8-31-2009 at 3:38 pm

    Kiel said...

    The Tree of Life will unquestionably be nominated for best cinematography. It’s Malick. I don’t think there’s a single shot in any of his films that is not jaw-droppingly beautiful. Ok, I’m being a tad hyperbolic, but the point remains.

    In fact I think (ok, want) The Tree of Life will have a very high number of nominations. It’s right alongside Avatar as the most ambitious film of the decade. It’s got two of the biggest stars on Earth (both were nominated for Best Actor last year; Penn won it), and again, it’s Malick. Anything he touches turns to pure gold. The New World is the best film of the decade, and yes it was pretty much ignored by the academy, but I doubt they’ll be able to ignore The Tree of Life’s scope and gravitas.

    But I have a permanent hard on for Malick, so I fully admit to a bias opinion.

  • 21 8-31-2009 at 8:34 pm

    SALO said...

    Actually, a film to look out for as a surprise nominee in this category, assuming it picks up distribution at Toronto and is released by the end of the year, is Neil Jordan’s dark mermaid fairytale ONDINE.

    Along with its no doubt gorgeous scenery of the Irish coast and its long-overdue for his first AMPAS nod DP Chris Doyle, this film has all the ingredients to slip in here.

  • 22 9-15-2009 at 4:09 am

    HotConflict said...

    What is the Tree of Life. There is a lot of Interest in the Sefirot or Kabalah interpretation. What does Islam and many ancient sufi mystics have ot say about the Tree of Life.

    See Saleem Siddiqui in the New movie TREE oF LIFE with Brad Pitt and Sean Penn.—tree-of-life.html