I'm glad I found this thread as I've been thinking these things for quite some time now. I couldn't agree more with David Mullen in that a movie is not made by the lens choice. I've felt for way too long that too much emphasis is put on the tools/equipment/sensor/lenses while far less discussion is focused on the art and what is actually being captured. I think this is because its much easier and quantifiable to measure lens sharpness/CA/distortion/warmv.cool etc...
I think this is a fault that happens in cinematography, because the very nature of DP work is to blend artistic visuals with technical camera work. The debate becomes more obvious and ridiculous when you compare to other mediums.
Is a carpenter that much better because he uses Dewalt over Makita?
Is a chef that much better if he chooses a Bosch stove over Kitchenaid?
Is a painter that much better if he chooses hogshair brushes over acrylic?
Is a guitarist that much better if he chooses Gibson over Fender?
the tools have to be good enough (cant make gorgeous work out of nothing), but I do feel there is a threshold where it caps out.
For a while I've wanted to shoot a spoof scene with an imaginary Picasso and Monet arguing over which bristle brush is superior.
I agree with David that Emmanuel Lubeszki will be equally effective with Ultra Primes or Zeiss Standard Speeds or Hawk Vantage '74s.
Just my 2 cents...