This year, the American Society of Cinematographers nominated Roger Deakins (“Blade Runner 2049”), Bruno Delbonnel (“Darkest Hour”), Hoyte Van Hoytema (“Dunkirk”), Rachel Morrison (“Mudbound”), and Dan Laustsen (“The Shape of Water”) for Best Cinematography. While it would be easy to simply predict these five at the Oscars, it’s unwise to count out a number of prior nominees and first time contenders.
There are plenty of Academy favorites who could take down this field. Two-time contender Edward Lachman (“Far From Heaven” in 2002 and “Carol” in 2015) could find himself back in the race for blending black-and-white and color in “Wonderstruck.” The same goes for three-time winner Vittorio Storaro (“Apocalypse Now” in 1979, “Reds” in 1981, and “The Last Emperor” in 1987), who fills the screen with eye-popping reds and blues in “Wonder Wheel.” One should never count out Janusz Kaminski either. The two-time victor for “Schindler’s List” (1993) and “Saving Private Ryan” (1998) could get penciled in for reuniting with Steven Spielberg on “The Post.”
Previous nominee Philippe Le Sourd (“The Grandmaster” in 2013) could also find himself back in the hunt for “The Beguiled.” Two-time contender John Mathieson (“Gladiator” in 2000 and “The Phantom of the Opera” in 2004) and Matthew Libatique (“Black Swan” in 2010) are also hoping to return with “Logan” and “Mother!”
Perhaps the likeliest disrupter is newcomer Ben Davis, who scored a career-first BAFTA nomination for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” While it’s tricky to break into the Oscar race for the first time, it certainly helps to be associated with a popular film. Just ask Anthony Dod Mantle (“Slumdog Millionaire”), Barry Ackroyd (“The Hurt Locker”), Danny Cohen (“The King’s Speech”), Guillaume Schiffman (“The Artist”), or any other DP who received their first bid for a Best Picture winner.
Another first-timer could be Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, who reaped Critics Choice and Independent Spirit bids for “Call Me by Your Name.” Likewise Alexis Zabe, who has competed at various critics groups for “The Florida Project,” and Masanobu Takayanagi, who’s making a late-breaking run with the expressionistic western “Hostiles.” And veterans Darius Wolski and Michael Seresin could finally break through with “All the Money in the World” and “War for the Planet of the Apes,” respectively.
Toby Oliver (“Get Out”), Nicolas Karakatsanis (“I, Tonya”), Steve Yedlin (“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”), and Matthew Jensen (“Wonder Woman”) are also strong competitors. And Paul Thomas Anderson (“Phantom Thread”) could do what Steven Soderbergh has yet to do by becoming the first director nominated for shooting his own film.
Be sure to check out how our experts rank Oscar contenders in this and the other top races. Use the drop-down menus at the top of each page to see the other categories. Then take a look at the most up-to-date odds before you make make your Oscar nomination predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on January 23.