‘Blade Runner 2049’: Oscar at last for cinematographer Roger Deakins after 13 losses?

Singled out for special mention in the rave reviews for “Blade Runner 2049” is cinematographer Roger Deakins. While the lenser of the original 1982 film, Jordan Cronenweth, won prizes from both the New York and Los Angeles film critics as well as the BAFTA, he was snubbed by the cinematography branch of the academy.

Deakins, who has lost all 13 of his Oscar bids to date, is all but certain to reap a nomination for “Blade Runner 2049.” According to our Oscar predictions, he is locked in a tight race with “Dunkirk” lenser Hoyte van Hoytema. While he has never contended at the Academy Awards before, this Dutch cinematographer could have an edge over Deakins. Remember, on the Academy Awards ballot, the below-the line categories do not name the contender (just the film title).

Indeed, Deakins was bested in four of his previous races by the cinematographers of the Best Picture winner: for “Fargo” he lost to “The English Patient” (1996); “Kundun” was edged out by “Titanic” (1997), “The Reader” was defeated by “Slumdog Millionaire” (2008); and “Unbroken” lost to “Birdman” (2014).

And seven of his films lost out to Best Picture nominees: “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” lost to “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (2000); “The Man Who Wasn’t There” was edged out by “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” (2001); “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” was bested by “There Will Be Blood” (2007); “True Grit” was pipped by “Inception” (2010); “Skyfall” was edged out by the technically impressive “Life of Pi” (2012); “Prisoners” was defeated by “Gravity” (2013); and “Sicario” was bested by “The Revenant” (2015).

Deakins did contend for his work on the 2007 Best Picture winner “No Country for Old Men” (2007). However, he was also nominated that year for “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.” The Oscar went to Robert Elswit (“There Will Be Blood”) who had lost to Deakins at the BAFTAs.

Indeed, Deakins has three BAFTAs in all; his other wins were: “The Man Who Wasn’t There,” 2001; and “True Grit,” 2011). And he has prevailed three times at the American Society of Cinematographers Awards: “The Shawshank Redemption,” 1994; “The Man Who Wasn’t There,” 2001; and “Skyfall,” 2012).

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