Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Roger Deakins is about as close to being a household name as you can get for a cinematographer. That's a relative term, obviously: the man or woman on the street probably can't pick him from a line-up. But anyone with even a little bit of cinephile DNA will know that Deakins is one of the top Directors of Photography in the world, a man who's collaborated with the Coens (most regularly), Martin Scorsese and Andrew Dominik, who's lensed Bond movies and Oscar winners, and who's seemingly incapable of making  an unattractive movie.
He's also an eleven-time Oscar nominee, and a zero-time Oscar winner, marking him among the most prominent permanent awards bridesmaids around. Deakins was nominated for "The Shawshank Redemption," "Fargo," "Kundun," "O Brother Where Art Thou," "The Man Who Wasn't There," "No Country For Old Men," "The Assassination Of Jesse James," "The Reader," "True Grit," "Skyfall" and "Prisoners," but has been beaten every time. Could 2014 finally be his year? Deakins teamed up with Angelina Jolie for WWII biopic "Unbroken," which looks to be an Oscar frontrunner (though it's still unseen, and will be one of the last awards seasons contenders to be unveiled), and is certainly one of the hottest prospects to take the Cinematography award this year.
But it's not going to be plain sailing: there's plenty of stiff competition, including last year's winner, another long-time nominee who finally took the trophy, and could well end up with a second this time around. So, having looked at the acting and directing races in recent weeks, we wanted to spotlight who's in the mix for the Cinematography Oscar award. Take a look below, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Right at the front of the pack right now is last year's winner, Emmanuel Lubezki. It took the great Mexican DP six attempts, with nominations for "A Little Princess," "Sleepy Hollow," "A New World," "Children Of Men" and "The Tree Of Life" preceding last year's victory for "Gravity," but "Birdman," his first team-up with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, is a strong candidate for another trophy this year. "Gravity" earned attention for its seamless opening twenty-minute take, among other things, but Lubezki outdid himself here with a film digitally stitched together to look like one continuous shot (while being as beautifully framed and lit as ever). It's the kind of technical accomplishment that always does well with the cinematographers branch. It's probably the deadest of the certs for a nod right now, and we suspect only Deakins could end up defeating it.

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