The 86th Annual Academy Awards: Best Cinematography

17 Jan

In interest of being thorough about the Academy Awards, I’ve decided to dedicate a blog entry for every category.  The news media will focus on the top five categories, eventually I will too.  These posts are in the interesting of examining all arena of the Oscar race, even those categories that instinctively draw the urge to visit the fridge when they are handed out.  I’ll start with Best Cinematography.

Best Cinematography

  • Philippe Le Sourd for The Grandmaster
  • Emmanuel Lubezki for Gravity
  • Bruno Delbonnel for Inside Llewyn Davis
  • Phedon Papamichael for Nebraska
  • Roger A. Deakins for Prisoners

It is more than just pretty pictures.  The cinematographer’s job is to be a photography, the photograph the images, not just to look pretty but to create and effect.  Lighting can set a mood, or change it.  The cinematographer is, essentially, the director’s main visual collaborator.  That doesn’t mean that cinematography is limited to outdoor landscapes.  It can also create a mood and tone on the landscape of the human face.

In most years, the cinematography category is filled with period films that look pretty.  Pretty is easy, mood is not.  This is an eclectic group, from Phedon Papmichael’s black and white landscape of Nebraska, to the fields of light and dark of space from Emmanuel Lubezki for Gravity, and not to forget the smoky dens of Inside Llewyn Davis created by Bruno Delbonnel.

Yet, for me, the best of these comes from Roger Deakins whose dark shadows in Prisoners created not only the horror of losing a child to a kidnapper, but the turning of a parent’s soul into a vengeful spirit.  I don’t think Deakins will win, but it would be a nice upset.

Who Will Win: Gravity
Who Should Win: Inside Llewyn Davis
Darkhorse: Inside Llewyn Davis


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Posted by on 01/17/2014 in Blog


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