Oscars 2018: Will ‘Blade Runner 2049’ resume the marriage between Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects?

You wouldn’t necessarily consider the Oscar races for Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects to be connected. Indeed, they’re markedly different fields and rarely went to the same film; for a while “Titanic” (1997) and “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” (2001) were the only two that claimed both. But recently there was an unusual five-year streak when the two categories went hand-in-hand. “Blade Runner 2049” could be the latest film to achieve that one-two punch.

The marriage between Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects started with “Avatar” (2009) and then continued with “Inception” (2010), “Hugo” (2011), “Life of Pi” (2012) and “Gravity” (2013). Then they split again for the next three years. “Birdman” won Cinematography for 2014, while “Interstellar” claimed Visual Effects. Then “The Revenant” took Cinematography for 2015, while “Ex Machina” pulled off an upset for Visual Effects. And “La La Land” was awarded Cinematography for 2016, while “The Jungle Book” won Visual Effects.

But now “Blade Runner 2049” looks like a strong contender in both races. It won at the American Society of Cinematographers Awards, and then it won Cinematography and Visual Effects at the BAFTAs. Now in our latest Oscar predictions, based on the combined picks of thousands of Gold Derby users, it’s the front-runner for Cinematography with 1/2 odds, and it’s a close second for Visual Effects with 7/5 odds, behind “War for the Planet of the Apes.”

If “Blade Runner” wins both it would be sweet revenge for cinematographer Roger Deakins. He has lost all 13 of his previous nominations, including 3 that happened to coincide with the Cinematography/Visual Effects twofers: he was up for “True Grit” when “Inception” won, “Skyfall” when “Life of Pi” won, and “Prisoners” when “Gravity” won. Only cinematographers in the academy vote for Cinematography nominees, and only effects artists vote for Visual Effects nominees, but the entire academy membership chooses winners in all categories, so it’s possible that voters simply marked off their favorite visual achievement twice.

Now Deakins could finally be the beneficiary of that combo, though there’s one big caveat: all seven films that won Cinematography and Visual Effects together were nominees for Best Picture, while “Blade Runner” isn’t. Do you think “Blade Runner” will be the latest film to claim both awards?

Be sure to check out how our experts rank Oscar contenders in all 24 categories. Use the drop-down menus at the top of each page to see the other categories. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your Oscar winner predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on March 4.

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