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Best Cinematography 2016

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  • Riley
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    #1201856707

    My article about Emmanuel Lubezki “four-peating”:

    With the domestic release of Knight of Cups in April and the limited release of “Last Days in the Desert” last month, Emmanuel Lubezki is officially in the hunt for a fourth consecutive Oscar for Best Cinematography. Following five unsuccessful bids, he has been on a roll:

    1995: Lost for A Little Princess to Braveheart
    1999: Lost for Sleepy Hollow to American Beauty
    2005: Lost for The New World to Memoirs of a Geisha
    2006: Lost for Children of Men to Pan’s Labyrinth
    2011: Lost for The Tree of Life to Hugo
    2013: Won for Gravity
    2014: Won for Birdman
    2015: Won for The Revenant

    Lubezki has fared even better at the American Society of Cinematographers Awards, having won his last five nominations there, significant because only cinematographers vote on those awards.

    1999: Lost for Sleepy Hollow to American Beauty
    2006: Won for Children of Men
    2010: Won for The Tree of Life
    2013: Won for Gravity
    2014: Won for Birdman
    2015: Won for The Revenant

    Oscar winners are voted on by all branches of the academy, but the nominations are decided by the individual branches, so even if Knight of Cups or Last Days in the Desert fail to strike a chord with the academy at large, cinematographers can carry Lubezki to a nomination. Consider thirteen-time Oscar nominee Roger Deakins, who has never won, but is so beloved by fellow cinematographers—four ASC Awards—that he receives nominations for films like Prisoners (2013) that score no others.

    Given its middling reviews, poor box office and early release date, Knight of Cups is an atypical Oscar contender, but Lubezki’s stature might compensate. 2008 was the last year that he was snubbed with a film in contention (Burn After Reading). Knight of Cups teams Lubezki with director Terrence Malick for the fourth time. Their first two collaborations—The New World (also starring Christian Bale) and The Tree of Life—contended at the Oscars for Best Cinematography. Their third—To the Wonder—was snubbed, but Lubezki’s work on Gravity swept the same season.

    A nomination for Knight of Cups would be one of merit too, as even the film’s detractors celebrate its cinematography. The Los Angeles Times wrotethat “The only thing that keeps Knight of Cups from terminal artistic overreach […] is the knockout cinematography.” A two-star review for the Chicago Sun-Times similarly praised Lubezki, “There’s never a moment when Knight of Cups isn’t something to behold, visually.” Both The Telegraph and The Boston Globe named Lubezki the true “star” of the film; The Village Voice went so far as to say that “Lubezki’s work on Knight of Cups is better than his work on The Revenant.”

    Reviews have been similarly glowing for his lighting on Rodrigo García’s better-received biblical drama Last Days in the Desert starring Ewan McGregor. Gold Derby sister publication Variety called it “the most astonishing technical achievement” of the film and contrasted it with Lubezki’s other work, writing that it put “aside the bravura long takes of Gravity and Birdman.” The Film Stage also noted a stylistic departure, writing that Lubezki “doesn’t employ the continually roving camera style on display in his Malick collaborations, but rather glides along patiently.” Still, Lubezki’s cinematography was once again labelled “the real star of the picture,” this time by The Guardian.

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    FilmGuy619
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    #1201857077

    Yeah, I don’t think it’s happening. Especially if Roger Deakins is in the conversation. He’s seriously overdue.

    One thing that I do want to see in this category, though, is for a woman to finally be nominated. I mean, c’mon, in its 88 year history, no woman has ever been nominated. I hate to resort to tokenism but if a female cinematographer is in contention, they should have that woman make history.

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    Riley
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    #1201857080

    I like this year because it will provide the ultimate test for both Lubezki and Deakins’s name recognition. The former is coming off of three consecutive wins, but only has a couple of immediately-forgotten spring releases in contention. The latter would be a lock if Hail, Caesar! had been a fall release, but it came out in February.

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    Teridax
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    #1201857353

    I actually think John Toll will win his 3rd Oscar for Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. Exactly the kind of showy, really technical Cinematography (see; Gravity, The Revenant, Birdman, Life of Pi, etc.) they always like to award, especially as of late.

    Roger Deakins would have to have his film be a BP frontrunner if wants any hope of winning. No Country For Old Men was probably the closest he ever came, even winning the 2nd of his 3 Baftas, but he ultimately wound up splitting his vote with himself for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, allowing Robert Elswit’s own magnificent work in There Will Be Blood to prevail.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by  Teridax.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by  Teridax.
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    Alex Meyer
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    #1201858163

    I definitely feel Emmanuel Lubezki’s work on Knight Of Cups is the best cinematography of the year so far.

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    benutty
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    #1201858325

    I’m with Teridax, this is going to Toll.

    The Cinematography Oscar win has *very little* to do with the cinematographer, that’s why Lubezki was able to win three in a row and Deakins hasn’t been able to win any.

    Lubezki won his Oscars because of the LOUD narrative that was being spun in all three instances.

    Gravity was about the new technology
    Birdman was about the one take fake
    Revenant was about the use of natural light

    These narratives started early and expounded upon relentlessly by the media all season long.

    We are already getting that narrative for the technology used in making Billy Lynn. Toll has already locked this Oscar up and it has nothing to do with his name.

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    M
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    #1201858414

    Yeah, I don’t think it’s happening. Especially if Roger Deakins is in the conversation. He’s seriously overdue.

    One thing that I do want to see in this category, though, is for a woman to finally be nominated. I mean, c’mon, in its 88 year history, no woman has ever been nominated. I hate to resort to tokenism but if a female cinematographer is in contention, they should have that woman make history.

    But her name wouldn’t be on the ballot. People only vote with the film title for the category. Hence overdue DP’s being denied wins.

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    M
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    #1201858416

    In a just world, The Neon Demon, would be a nominee and potential winner.

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    Riley
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    #1201858440

    I bet that it is worthy, seeing as Only God Forgives was. Names are indeed pretty irrelevant for wins, but not nominations. John Toll is far out front.

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    M
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    #1201858449

    I bet that it does, seeing as Only God Forgives did. Names are indeed pretty irrelevant for wins, but not nominations. John Toll is far out front.

    Only God Forgives received zero Oscar nominations.

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    Riley
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    #1201858467

    Sorry, I phrased that poorly. I was speaking to it deserving to be a nominee.

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    manakamana
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    #1201858678

    It doesn’t feel like a particularly strong year in this category, though Lubezki still feels like a bit of a longshot. The last time he was nominated for a movie that got no other nominations was another Malick movie, The New World, from 2005 — but that had a lot more to do with nature and landscapes and was also better received. Hail Caesar would be a more likely option for Deakins, but it’s subtler work than his work on stuff like Prisoners or Sicario were and it doesn’t seem like HC will come back with the same force that something like The Grand Budapest Hotel did a few years ago (which had an 88 MC score vs. Caesar’s 72).

    I think these four make sense:
    Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (I agree with people that Toll would be the frontrunner, working successfully in different frame rates, 3D, and already being a respected name)
    The Birth of a Nation (honestly looks pretty ugly to me but it’s still looks distinctive enough and seems like it’ll be a big player across the techs)
    Café Society (Storaro coming back and going digital, and getting excellent reviews for it, is a strong enough narrative for this branch in this year)
    Silence (Prieto lensing the Japanese countryside in a meditative Scorsese passion project leaves no reason not to predict this at this point)

    For a fifth slot I’m pretty stumped, I guess I would predict Arrival or whatever it’s called if I expected more from it in general (Bradford Young is arguably due for his first nomination at this point). La La Land also seems possible, but it’s hard to say until we see more from these movies. One I would look out for is The Witch, which I think will have more of a critical resurgence at the end of the year and has really striking cinematography using only natural lighting and stuff like candles/fire/lanterns. Darius Khondji for The Lost City of Z would make sense if that comes out this year, and Loving also looked pretty nice from what I’ve seen. If you look at the new list of invitees, there’s a lot of new foreign flavor that could also push it over the mark for something from the international stage — so you could also see total wildcard choices like American Honey (handled by A24), Cemetery of Splendor, The Handmaiden, but we’ll see.

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    Noé
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    #1201859384

    Not Deakins nor Lubezki will be nominated this year. Neither have cards to play.

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    Riley
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    #1201859398

    Toll has already locked this Oscar up and it has nothing to do with his name.

    For sure; name is only a factor for the nomination.

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    Noé
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    #1201859434

    Lubezki won his Oscars because of the LOUD narrative that was being spun in all three instances.

    Being as reductive. winners of most categories have won because of their narratives. That’s award season.

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