The Oscar for Best Cinematography ostensibly honors a film’s camerawork, but in recent years it has become difficult to distinguish the award from Best Visual Effects; the two categories have gone hand-in-hand for the last five years: “Avatar” (2009), “Inception” (2010), “Hugo” (2011), “Life of Pi” (2012), and most recently “Gravity” (2013). Four of those films — all but “Inception” — were also in 3D.
This year, that could benefit Christopher Nolan‘s “Interstellar,” which is likely the most effects-heavy film that will be in the Best Picture conversation. It features cinematography by Hoyte Van Hoytema, who has never been nominated for an Oscar before but previously lensed recent Oscar-contenders “Her” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.”
But what about Roger Deakins? The veteran cinematographer has been nominated a whopping 11 times without winning, most recently last year for the mystery thriller “Prisoners.” This year, he could be back in contention for the war drama “Unbroken.” Will he earn his 12th nomination and finally win?
Bruno Delbonnel is also a frequent also-ran, having lost all four of his previous bids, most recently for “Inside Llewyn Davis” last year. In this race, he’s hoping for better luck with Tim Burton‘s biopic “Big Eyes.”
Other previous winners with films in contention include Robert Elswit (“Inherent Vice” and “Nightcrawler“), Dion Beebe (“Into the Woods“), Dean Semler (“Maleficent“) and Janusz Kaminski (“The Judge“).
Past nominees Jeff Cronenweth (“Gone Girl“), Dick Pope (“Mr. Turner“), Tom Stern (“American Sniper“), Rodrigo Prieto (“The Homesman“), Matthew Libatique (“Noah“), and Stephen Goldblatt (“Get On Up“) are aiming for their first Oscar victories.
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