Despite an incredible career that has included everything from “The Shawshank Redemption” to “Sicario,” famed cinematographer Roger Deakins has never won an Oscar despite 13 nominations. Deakins was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Society of Cinematographers in 2011 and is a former member of the academy’s Board of Governors (2004-2007), which makes his Oscar snubs even stranger. Click through our photo gallery above highlighting all of Deakins’ losing Oscar bids and discover who edged him out each time.
On the Academy Awards ballot, the below-the line categories do not name the contender (just the film title) which could be one of the many reasons why Deakins is still without an Oscar. Deakins has also been burned by Best Picture winners, as four times their cinematographers have taken him down by going along for the ride: Deakins’ “Fargo” 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 six 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), “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).
If there was one film where Deakins came the closest to victory it was probably “No Country for Old Men” (2007). That film won four Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director (Joel and Ethan Coen), Best Supporting Actor (Javier Bardem) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Joel and Ethan Coen).
“No Country for Old Men” lost four Oscars that year: Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing. Making this loss particularly painful for Deakins was that he claimed victory at the BAFTA Awards over the eventual Oscar winner Robert Elswit (“There Will Be Blood”).