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Gordon Willis to Receive Lifetime Achievemtn Oscar in November.


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#1 Chris Keth

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 11:56 PM

I heard from Doug Hart that Gordon Willis is being honored this year with a lifetime achievement oscar!
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#2 Rob Vogt

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 07:51 AM

Congratulations to Mr. Willis. I'm going to throw in a copy of Manhattan to commemorate!
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#3 steve laramie

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 09:31 PM

Prince of darkness deserves it.
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#4 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 19 September 2009 - 02:41 AM

Well, jeez-louise what took them so long?!

I guess it's time to start posting our favorite Gordon Willis images. Though David M. already has a big head start on us there...
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#5 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 12:31 PM

The best ever.
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#6 Tom Lowe

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 02:06 AM

Could not be more well deserved.
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#7 Serge Teulon

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 05:42 AM

Ditto on the all the above

Edited by Serge Teulon, 30 September 2009 - 05:43 AM.

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#8 Tim Partridge

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 01:14 PM

They ignored Willis' groundbreaking images throughout the 70s, in favour of out of date, safe and flat looking pap that hasn't endured IMO. For example, TOWERING INFERNO won an Oscar for it's cinematography the same year that Willis wasn't even nominated for PARALLEX VIEW or GODFATHER 2. Somehow BLACK HOLE got nominated the same year they ignored ANNIE HALL. And POSEIDEN ADVENTURE instead of the original GODFATHER.

Still, kinda glad they are finally acknowledging him.
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#9 John Holland

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 03:19 PM

Yep Tim it was in the old farts days !! As far as they were concerned as long there was a 10k next to the camera , it looked "Good" flat boring and well poop !!
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#10 Chris Keth

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 10:28 PM

Yep Tim it was in the old farts days !! As far as they were concerned as long there was a 10k next to the camera , it looked "Good" flat boring and well poop !!


To be fair, I love a lot of that classic glossy photography, too!
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#11 Serge Teulon

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 06:58 AM

To be fair, I love a lot of that classic glossy photography, too!



That type of photography was definitely nice in places and its become one of the many styles in our palette.
But Willis' lighting was always so much more interesting.... it has so much more depth.
He just wasn't recognised at the time because he was breaking the mould.....as we all know, in most industries the pioneering mould breakers never get the recognition they deserve until much later in life!
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#12 John Holland

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 01:12 PM

There is a great difference between glossy well lit ! which i also love !! and boring flat lit stuff , The Towering Inferno .is a good example of the bad , And it won Oscar for Cinematography . :(
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#13 Tim Partridge

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 01:54 PM

C

To be fair, I love a lot of that classic glossy photography, too!


I agree with John here,

I'd hardly call the bland TOWERING INFERNO or the grainy BLACK HOLE "classic, glossy photography". I cannot remember a scene from either that isn't floodlit with fill-mongous, three point TV lighting regardless of whatever mood or setting was trying to be conveyed. Nothing artistically motivated, just a "nice" clean dense negative with directorial light pounding the sets and actors from all angles so you can see everything at all times at a decent stop, just my opinion. It's like lighting from a technicians manual, with rigid key to fill ratios as not to upset anyone high up. To my mind there's nothing in there even near the sophisticated, daring, technical level of underexposing/pushing in soft light wide open that Willis and others were up to. These were hang-overs from the stale 60s when the studio system was more like the civil service, in my opinion.

Also, it knocks me out that BLACK HOLE was nominated over visual trendsetters like ALIEN or STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE. How could anyone honestly sit in an awards committee room and seriously debate the aesthetic qualities of THE BLACK HOLE competitively against APOCALYPSE NOW(!!)? I wonder how many current ASC or AMPAS members cite the "evocative" play of light, shadow and composition seen in TOWERING INFERNO, EARTHQUAKE or BLACK HOLE as the reasons they got into cinematography over say THE GODFATHER or ANNIE HALL? Probably as many who cite GODFATHER 3 and ZELIG as Willis's sole moments worthy of Oscar nomination.

I am not attacking all of the deserved nominees/winners of that era like Cabaret, Bound for Glory or Barry Lyndon, which were just as bold, influential or even just classily classical as Willis' work was innovative in their own right. I love all the bold, grondbreaking stuff that Zsigmond, Unsworth, Wexler, Surtees, Alcott, Kline, Roizman, Storaro, Kovacs, etc were pulling off at that time, but I also love the classy, rich hardlit approach of F A Young, Slocombe, Christopher Challis, Ernest Lazlo, etc and I think that latter style (much of which also didn't get nonimated) was as criminally overlooked as Willis' work by the AMPAS.
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#14 John Holland

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 01:59 PM

Just a PS to this !!! Willis is the King of underexposure !! and it worked so well in everything he decided to work on and it was /is so brave !! My hero David Watkin { sorry to bring him up yet again } went the other way ! and always exposed for the shadows and sod the highlights !!! I still like and use that in film ! cant do that using HD thats just like lighting for reversal stock !! which i hated !!
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