August 23, 2017 at 4:05 pm #1202193188
I think Paul Sheehan wrote an article on this category, but I thought it was worth starting a thread. Apologies if there already is one, I couldn’t find one.
I’m not going to bother with a whole list of contenders; we all know who they are, we’re pretty savvy. Here are my earliest Oscar predictions (and for what it’s worth, I have a good track record in this category, correctly predicting 5/5 for three years running, although I don’t think I ever had all five locked down this early in the game).
Blade Runner 2049 – Roger Deakins (duh)
Call Me by Your Name – Sayombhu Mukdeeprom
Darkest Hour – Bruno Delbonnel
Dunkirk – Hoyte van Hoytema
Wonderstruck – Edward Lachman
Out of those five I’m least confident in Call Me by Your Name, despite its status as a top-tier Best Picture contender. The cinematographers’ branch sometimes doesn’t mind snubbing BP frontrunners even when the cinematography is acclaimed (see 12 Years a Slave). There are many alternatives, but I can’t seem to fully convince myself of any particular one at this point, so I’m keeping CMBYN for now. The other four I’ve listed I have pretty good faith in making it all the way, and even if Wonderstruck doesn’t end up factoring in much elsewhere, the film is half b/w, half colour and Lachman is respected.
As for the winner, I guess it’s between Deakins finally winning on his 14th nomination, or Hoytema on his first; frankly I was more impressed visually by the Blade Runner trailer than by the entirety of Dunkirk, even after seeing it in the biggest IMAX screen in the UK. Hoytema’s work on 65mm is undeniably impressive, but am I a heretic for suggesting that Dunkirk might not have been drastically different artistically had it been shot digitally? Indeed, a review from Slant Magazine seems to echo my sentiments, albeit more harshly:
‘Dunkirk’s muted color scheme further saps the story of its potential power. As ever, it’s odd that Nolan should be such a fervent champion for shooting on celluloid when so many of his images are monotonous and filmed in a color and lighting range that’s more typical of digital. In spite of this, Dunkirk does boast a few images on par with the strongest Nolan has ever filmed.’August 23, 2017 at 10:13 pm #1202193418
Dunkirk was the second film for which I paid the premium for 70 mm (in an older theatre), after The Hateful Eight. Not worth it!August 24, 2017 at 8:05 am #1202193863
I hope they don’t give it to Roger Deakins for Blade Runner 2049 simply because of the fact that he’s still never won. Personally, as of right now, I would give it to Hoyte Van Hoytema for Dunkirk, not only for the beauty of the imagery, but for the angles he used as well, especially in the aerial sequences featuring Tom Hardy fighting the Nazi pilots. Plus, Hoytema has been snubbed several times in the past, notably with Her and Interstellar, two films which could have given the actual winners of those years Gravity and Birdman a run for their money (even though I absolutely adore Emmanuel Lubezki’s work as a cinematographer).
Blade Runner 2049 looks like it will jump back too much between really bright and really bleak imagery, if the trailer is an accurate representation of the movie.September 3, 2017 at 3:39 pm #1202202841
Dan Laustsen is getting great ink for his work on The Shape of Water. As the movie seems to be a legitimate contender, I’ll replace my CMbYN prediction with this.September 3, 2017 at 8:45 pm #1202202982
What’s the word been on Darkest Hour’s cinematography? I wonder if Kaminski or Storaro do anything interesting in The Post or Wonder Wheel.
It’s SO cool that they hired Mukdeeprom to do CMBYN and I would LOVE to see him nominated. I get your reasoning that this branch can be a bit clubby but with the influx of international members it’s possible that more voters will be familiar with his past Thai work plus those who were voting for it as fans of the film itself. But it gets tough when the field gets really crowded like it was when 12YAS was snubbed.
I definitely think The Shape of Water is in good shape, and it’s hard to see this category without Deakins, Hoytema or Lachman (even, as you said, if Wonderstruck is DOA). Sometimes this branch does take a look for other options that are nowhere else in the Oscar conversation, so I can see something like Lost City of Z being a contender as well (perhaps, sadly, at Mukdeeprom’s cost).
These tech categories are so hard for me without seeing the films that I’ll probably get around to them in an official sense a little later once everything’s at least screened. But this one does seem to be taking shape early.September 4, 2017 at 1:53 am #1202203168
What’s the word been on Darkest Hour’s cinematography?
‘Working for the first time with DP Bruno Delbonnel, Wright frames the House of Commons from angles that suggest 18th-century painting, and pushes the contrast to such an extreme that the look — with its deep shadows and near-blinding highlights — recalls black-and-white films of the era. At the same time, he innovates, breaking from the walk-and-talk political-drama template introduced by “The West Wing” (from which “House of Cards” and so many others still borrow) in favor of a more dynamic, omniscient camera, with which he navigates the halls of power.’
Peter Debruge, Variety
‘[…] the majority of [the film’s] action is confined to parliamentary halls and underground war rooms. Cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel shoots the former like he’s Janusz Kaminski, thick blades of blinding sunlight beaming in from every window (all the better to capture the cigar smoke). He shoots the latter like Britain’s nerve center is an immaculate diorama, the camera gliding with purpose between rooms, down hallways, and across the blank spaces between sets like an episode of “The West Wing” as directed by Wes Anderson.’
David Ehrlich, Indiewire
Also Delbonnel always seems to be nominated whenever he has a major mainstream project. He even got in for a Harry Potter film; not even Cuarón’s film in the series managed that.September 4, 2017 at 2:21 am #1202203194
If CMBYN is shot on the same kind of film as Jackie or Moonlight, I would out it in 4th. This is how I see it:
1. Deakins (Blade Runner 2049)
2. Hoytema (Dunkirk)
3. Lachman (Wonderstruck)
4. Mukdeeprom (Call Me By Your Name)
5. Sela (Atomic Blonde)
6. Laustsen (The Shape of Water)
7. Delbonnel (Darkest Hour)
8. Papamichael (Downsizing)
9. Sandgren (Battle of the Sexes)
10. Matthew Libatique (mother!)September 4, 2017 at 6:05 am #1202203264
Delbonnel’s name definitely carries loads of weight, that said I do think each of his nominations were real highlights of his already great career (including Half-Blood Prince which is the only one of the HP films that even attempts more painterly cinematography) so I think I’ll have to see Darkest Hour for myself to see if it really matches up against that, Amélie, A Very Long Engagement and Llewyn Davis to be convinced.September 4, 2017 at 8:18 am #1202203321
2. Blade Runner 2049
I wouldn’t be surprised with a tie between these two
3. The Shape of Water
4. Call Me by Your Name
5. WonderstruckSeptember 4, 2017 at 4:22 pm #1202203583
So far I think “Dunkirk”, “Darkest Hour”, and “Blade Runner 2049” are all locks, and “The Shape of Water” and “The Papers” seem like the next most likely.
Hayne’s films get nominated when the film as a whole does well, and “Wonderstuck” is looking like it’s going to get swallowed up this season. “Call Me By Your Name” might suffer the same fate; hard to tell if this film is going to actually hit big, or if oscar pundits just live in a big gay bubble.September 4, 2017 at 7:15 pm #1202203729
Shape of WaterSeptember 4, 2017 at 7:37 pm #1202203736
“Call Me By Your Name” might suffer the same fate; hard to tell if this film is going to actually hit big, or if oscar pundits just live in a big gay bubble.
I can send you a bunch of reviews praising every aspect of the film, if you’d like, but I think it’s pretty safe to say that CMBYN won’t suffer. It’s been a hit at every single film festival it’s made an appearance at and has received continuous praise and universal acclaim since its premiere at Sundance in January. So, if you ask me, I don’t think it’s, “hard to tell if this film is going to actually hit big”.