Of the last 20 winners of this category, 15 were also nominated for Best Picture and, of those, six won the top prize. Last year, this award went to "Hugo," whose cinematographer, Robert Richardson, could return this year for Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained."
In recent years, Oscar voters have honored large-scale, effects-driven films in this category ("Inception" in 2010, "Avatar" in 2009), but previous winners also include smaller-scale dramas like "Slumdog Millionaire" and "Pan's Labyrinth." Like Production Design, this category tends to favor fantasy and period films, though contemporary films have prevailed ("Slumdog," "American Beauty").
This year, Mihai Malaimare Jr. is favored by our Experts to win his first-ever Oscar race for his work on "The Master." (See latest odds here.)
However, coming on strong is one-time nominee Claudio Miranda ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button") for lensing the lavish 3-D epic "Life of Pi." (Track changing odds in this race by scrolling down to the bottom of this page.)
Further back in the field is one-time nominee Danny Cohen ("The King's Speech") for collaborating again with helmer Tom Hooper on "Les Miserables."
Janusz Kaminski won his Oscars for Steven Spielberg films ("Schindler's List," 1993; "Saving Private Ryan," 1998) and could contend again for "Lincoln," their 13th film together.
"Beasts of the Southern Wild" lenser Ben Richardson won the cinematography award at the Sundance Film Festival and could earn his first career Oscar bid.
"Inception" winner Wally Pfister could earn his fifth nomination for "The Dark Knight Rises"; he was previously nominated for both of Christopher Nolan's previous Batman films, "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight."
Greig Fraser has no previous Oscar nominations, but he has three chances at a bid this year: "Killing Them Softly," "Snow White and the Huntsman," and "Zero Dark Thirty."