After wins this weekend at the American Society of Cinematographers and BAFTA, “Blade Runner 2049” appears to be well-positioned for the Oscars. Nothing is a sure thing with hard-luck 13-time loser Roger Deakins, but if he pulls this out, this would be the first time in 12 years that a non-Best Picture nominee beat a Best Picture nominee for Best Cinematography.
The last film to do this was “Memoirs of a Geisha” (2005), which edged out Best Picture nominees “Brokeback Mountain” and “Good Night, and Good Luck,” and non-Best Picture contenders “Batman Begins” and “The New World.” The following year’s Best Cinematography field was comprised entirely of non-Best Picture nominees — “Pan’s Labyrinth” beat “The Black Dahlia,” “Children of Men,” “The Illusionist” and “The Prestige” — so that is the last time a non-Best Picture nominee won the category. Since then, every cinematography champ has vied for the top award.
“Blade Runner 2049,” which has five below-the-line nominations, has a wide 1/2-odd lead for Deakins to finally snag his first win in our combined odds, but it’s up against three Best Picture nominees — “The Shape of Water,” “Dunkirk” and “Darkest Hour” — and “Mudbound,” which produced the first female nominee in the category’s history in Rachel Morrison. “Mudbound” (14/1 odds) and “Darkest Hour” (80/1 odds), are longshots, but “The Shape of Water” (13/2 odds) and “Dunkirk” (7/1 odds) are very possible upsets, especially the former. “The Shape of Water”’s Guillermo del Toro is the Best Director favorite, while “Blade Runner 2049” helmer Denis Villeneuve was not nominated, and Best Director and Best Cinematography have matched the last five years. And seven years ago, a Christopher Nolan film, “Inception,” shot by Wally Pfister, beat Deakins, who competed for “True Grit.”
Counting “Blade Runner 2049,” nine of Deakins’ 14 nominations have come for non-Best Picture nominees, including the last five. Only one of his nominated films has won Best Picture: 2007’s “No Country for Old Men.” That year Deakins was a double nominee for also lensing “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,” but lost to Robert Elswit for “There Will Be Blood.”
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