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Best Cinematography Oscar Nominees


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#1 Tim Tyler

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 10:30 AM

Congratulations to the nominees!

Guillaume Schiffman (The Artist)
Jeff Cronenweth (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo)
Robert Richardson (Hugo)
Emmanuel Lubezki (The Tree of Life)
Janusz Kaminski (War Horse)
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#2 Nicolas Courdouan

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 04:21 AM

I'll be damned if Lubezki doesn't get this...
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#3 Brian Rose

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 10:48 AM

Congratulations to the nominees!

Guillaume Schiffman (The Artist)
Jeff Cronenweth (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo)
Robert Richardson (Hugo)
Emmanuel Lubezki (The Tree of Life)
Janusz Kaminski (War Horse)


in order from Least to Best

Schiffman: another example of shooting in color and converting to black and white. A cowardly decision. Shoot in real black and white. Why are you afraid of grain? Grain is supposed to be there. That's the point of art direction and proper lighting...for an adequate contrast ratio to fool the eye. Demerits in my book.
Richardson: I effin hate the whole orange/teal fad. It's lazy, conventional and borderline cliche.
Lubzeki: He'll probably win, but it won't be for best cinematography, but prettiest cinematography...which is usually what wins in this category I suppose. I saw nothing cinematographically that I hadn't seen in a hundred wedding videos or nat geo docs. Not to mention a fair bit of footage was licensed stock.
Kaminski: continuing to operate in his comfort zone by overlighting the highlights. Nothing has changed since Schindler's List. I tire of every Spielberg film now looking basically the same...though the John Ford inspired lighting for the end sequence was a winner. He'd be my runnerup.

And the winner?

Jeff Cronenwith: His work does not call attention to itself. It served the story and created a wonderful sense of atmosphere. The weather was a character unto itself, and it is the DP who gives it life. Not to mention, he pulled this off after being brought it as a relief pitcher, and had a very short learning curve before jumping right into production. That takes chops.

Should win: Cronenwith
Will win: Lubzeki (with a sigh)
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#4 Jay Stewart

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 02:27 PM

in order from Least to Best

Schiffman: another example of shooting in color and converting to black and white. A cowardly decision. Shoot in real black and white. Why are you afraid of grain? Grain is supposed to be there. That's the point of art direction and proper lighting...for an adequate contrast ratio to fool the eye. Demerits in my book.
Richardson: I effin hate the whole orange/teal fad. It's lazy, conventional and borderline cliche.
Lubzeki: He'll probably win, but it won't be for best cinematography, but prettiest cinematography...which is usually what wins in this category I suppose. I saw nothing cinematographically that I hadn't seen in a hundred wedding videos or nat geo docs. Not to mention a fair bit of footage was licensed stock.
Kaminski: continuing to operate in his comfort zone by overlighting the highlights. Nothing has changed since Schindler's List. I tire of every Spielberg film now looking basically the same...though the John Ford inspired lighting for the end sequence was a winner. He'd be my runnerup.

And the winner?

Jeff Cronenwith: His work does not call attention to itself. It served the story and created a wonderful sense of atmosphere. The weather was a character unto itself, and it is the DP who gives it life. Not to mention, he pulled this off after being brought it as a relief pitcher, and had a very short learning curve before jumping right into production. That takes chops.

Should win: Cronenwith
Will win: Lubzeki (with a sigh)


Disagree with you on Lubzeki. Some stock footage in there sure, but that film is gorgeous. I'm a big architecture nerd, and the first 30 minutes was just wow. Everything else was just goddamn beautiful.
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#5 Brian Rose

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 06:57 PM

Everything else was just goddamn beautiful.


It is for that exact reason this film fails for me. I'm tired of capital-B Beautiful imagery. Too much and it desensitizes you just as with violence and gore. And now with the proliferation of high quality, low price cameras, it is so easy in the hands of so many. I am sick of beautiful sunsets and clouds and horizons and vistas that are gorgeous but utterly empty. It is cinematic junkfood, empty calories that does not nourish. I now marvel more at the beauty that arises from functional cinema.

Consider Days for Heaven, long regarded for its stunning magic hour shots. Yet many overlook a key factor to the success of that visual style, that it was not done for its own sake, but because it functioned within the story. These laborers enjoyed their moments of rest at dawn and dusk. So it made perfect sense that so much of the movie would be lit as such.

But more and more I feel that Malick has internalized that reputation for georgeous imagery, and has sought to supply it, but to the detriment of the maxim of form following function.

There were some great shots in Tree of Life, but they was also way too much that was purely in it for its own sake, purely Capital B Beautiful Captital Cinematography.

I have far more respect for the work of DPs courageous enough to not want to show off their artistry, but instead wield it like a precision instrument to serve the story. Guys like Jeff Cronenwith or Eric Steelberg or David Mullen whose work serves the story and never tries to steal the show. Sadly, for the same reason they are so good, they will likely not be recognized, because like a Thomas Kinkaide painting, the Academy voters love themselves some purdy sunsets and clouds.
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