Watch out for foreign language Oscar nominee in Best Cinematography

Last week, the American Society of Cinematographers nominated seven contenders for their Best Cinematography award – Sean Bobbitt (“12 Years a Slave“), Barry Ackroyd (“Captain Phillips“), Philippe Le Sourd (“The Grandmaster“), Emmanuel Lubezki (“Gravity“), Bruno Delbonnel (“Inside Llewyn Davis“), Phedon Papamichael (“Nebraska“) and Roger Deakins (“Prisoners“). These seven lensers are among the likelist to reap Oscar bids for Best Cinematography.

That the slate of ASC nominees includes Le Sourd for Wong Kar-Wai‘s stylish martial arts film “The Grandmaster” reminds us that both the cinematographers guild and branch of the Academy have cited a slew of foreign language films over the past quarter century:

1992: Robert Fraisse (“The Lover”)
1993: Gu Changwei (“Farewell My Concubine”)
1994: Piotr Sobociński (“Three Colors: Red”)
1995: Lü Yue (“Shanghai Triad”)
2000: Peter Pau (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”) *
2000: Lajos Koltai (“Malèna”)
2001: Bruno Delbonnel (“Amélie”)
2003: César Charlone (“City of God”)
2004: Zhao Xiaoding (“House of Flying Dagers”)
2004: Caleb Deschanel (“The Passion of the Christ”)
2004: Bruno Delbonnel (“A Very Long Engagement”)
2006: Guillermo Navarro (“Pan’s Labyrinth”) *
2007: Janusz Kamiński (“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”)
2009: Christian Berger (“The White Ribbon”)

During the nineties, foreign language films featured in four out of 10 years, while in the last decade, foreign language films managed a nomination in seven out of 10 years. Peter Pau won in 2000 for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and Guillermo Navarro prevailed in 2006 for “Pan’s Labyrinth.”

While we have yet to see a foreign language film nominated in the cinematography category in this decade. Le Sourd is primed to muscle his way into the competitive category. To date, he has won at the Golden Horse Awards (the “Taiwanese Oscars”) and has been nominated by the Boston Society of Film Critics and Online Film Critics as well as regional critics groups in Phoenix and St Louis.

According to Experts, Editors, Users and Top 24 Users, the frontrunners for the Best Cinematography Oscar are “Gravity,” “12 Years a Slave,” “Inside Llewyn Davis,” “Rush” and “Captain Phillips,” with ASC nominated “Nebraska” and “Prisoners” also in the hunt. “The Grandmaster” is currently in 11th place. Among other high profile foreign language films, contenders such as “The Great Beauty,” “Blue is the Warmest Color” and “The Hunt,” are longshots.

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