‘The Batman’ cinematographer Greig Fraser closes in on 3rd Oscar nomination following ASC bid

Many were pleased to learn of Greig Fraser’s (“The Batman”) inclusion among the American Society of Cinematographers’ five nominees for the 37th annual ASC Awards. The reigning Oscar and ASC champ for “Dune” is the fourth DP nominated by the guild for lensing Gotham City. Stephen Goldblatt (1995’s “Batman Forever), Wally Pfister (2005’s “Batman Begins” and 2008’s “The Dark Knight”) and Lawrence Sher (2019’s “Joker”) also received bids for their work on the most awarded comic book franchise in history. Perhaps what has always distinguished the DC property for voters are the undertones of classic noir that this iteration in particular emphasizes. 

SEE over 200 interviews with 2023 awards contenders

From the apparent seams and stitch work on the title character’s mask to director Matt Reeves’ haunting vision of urban decay, this is a rough, grimy take on the Caped Crusader, whose pulp origins Fraser evokes through rusty hues of red and orange rather than the cool blues and silvers used by Christopher Nolan’s trilogy. Furthermore, Pfister’s wide-format minimalist photography has been exchanged for tighter and more densely packed visuals. It’s almost as though Fraser is training our eye to watch the film through his recurrent framing of scenes through binoculars.

If “The Dark Knight,” in its clean and expansive shots, emulated Michael Mann’s “Heat,” Reeves’ gothic, rain-soaked reboot is reminiscent of early David Fincher, particularly “Se7en” and “The Game.” Narrow hallways and cluttered apartments, paranoiacally flavored with callbacks to ‘70s thrillers by production designer James Chinlund (whom Reeves worked with on two “Planet of the Apes” films), set the scene for some of the film’s most striking moments. 

SEE The 9 most stunning film and TV transformations of 2022: Tom Hanks (‘Elvis’), Colin Farrell (‘The Batman’), Lily James (‘Pam & Tommy’)…

The highly praised nighttime car chase draws its tight, rigid photography from William Friedkin’s “The French Connection.” For IndieWireJim Hemphill writes, “The fact that the camera placement is so inextricably linked to Wayne’s psyche makes the sequence thrillingly kinetic. [Reeves] wanted the car chase in ‘The Batman’ to be an extension of the title character’s obsessiveness, just as the one in Friedkin’s classic reflected the compulsions of Popeye Doyle.”

While it’s been disquieting to read takes online downgrading the significance of Nolan and Pfister’s films in the presence of a shiny new object, Fraser deserves credit for aesthetically individuating this Gotham from other acclaimed versions and evolving the visual language of superhero epics. He is currently ranked seventh in our combined Oscar odds for Best Cinematography, up three notches from his placement of 10th prior to the ASC Awards nominations being announced. In addition to his ASC and Oscar wins for “Dune,” Fraser has an award from the former and a nomination from the latter for 2016’s “Lion.” A combination of the cinematographer’s afterglow from his recent victory, the strong correlation between the ASC and the academy’s past lineups (77% of nominees match up), and past Best Cinematography bids for “Batman” adaptations make Fraser one to look out for as we approach the unveiling of the Oscar nominations on January 24th. 

PREDICT the 2023 Oscar nominees through January 24

Make your predictions at Gold Derby now. Download our free and easy app for Apple/iPhone devices or Android (Google Play) to compete against legions of other fans plus our experts and editors for best prediction accuracy scores. See our latest prediction champs. Can you top our esteemed leaderboards next? Always remember to keep your predictions updated because they impact our latest racetrack odds, which terrify Hollywood chiefs and stars. Don’t miss the fun. Speak up and share your huffy opinions in our famous forums where 5,000 showbiz leaders lurk every day to track latest awards buzz. Everybody wants to know: What do you think? Who do you predict and why?

SIGN UP for Gold Derby’s free newsletter with latest predictions

More News from GoldDerby