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Entries in Emmanuel Lubezki (26)

Monday
Nov212016

Tree of Life Revisited

This weekend a friend of mine invited me to join him for a screening at BAM of Terence Malick's The Tree of Life with a live orchestra. 'But that's only for silent films,' I thought. I said yes right away more to spend time with my friend than to see the film again which I had very much admired but not quite loved in 2011.

Seeing it again five years later proved unexpectedly rewarding. Perhaps it was the huge screen - the first time I'd seen it was on a tiny arthouse screen in Manhattan. Perhaps it was the live accompaniment of a huge orchestra and choir but it felt newly electric...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Feb202016

Undersung Works by the Oscar Nominated Cinematographers 

Jose here. The five gentlemen nominated for the Best Cinematography Oscar have amassed a more than respectable amount of accolades, they boast a collected 37 Oscar nominations between the 5 of them, with Edward Lachman being the least nominated having only two (both for his previous collaborations with Todd Haynes) and Roger Deakins being the perpetual bridesmaid with 13 career nominations and no wins (not that he needs them anyway, he has 3 BAFTAS and 3 ASC Awards to console him).

Even if these folks get nominated for awards all the time, some of their work has been received coolly by awards bodies. Unbelievable, I know. So, here are 5 “undersung” achievements by this year’s nominees...  

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Monday
Feb152016

ASC and BAFTA Go Cuckoo for Chivo 


Jose here. In what turned out to be a surprise to absolutely no one, Emmanuel Lubezki managed a historical threepeat from the American Society of Cinematographers who gave him yet another award for his use of natural light in The Revenant (he also won his third straight BAFTA).

Chivo is now the ASC’s biggest winner having earned five awards (out of six nominations) since 1999 (he has only lost for Sleepy Hollow) Somewhere Roger Deakins must be thrilled Lubezki didn’t have any movies out in 2012 (technically To the Wonder came out, but it sadly went by dismissed by most groups), since that year he won his third award for Skyfall and “prevented” Chivo from winning the award every year since 2011 (the Oscar-less Deakins more than doubles Chivo’s ASC nods though, having earned 14, the highest for any ASC member).

Considering Chivo is now the hands on favorite for the Oscar (in what will be yet another rare consecutive threepeat) it might be fruitless to point out that other than for the last two years, ASC and Oscar have had quite some disagreements; since the year 2000, ASC has awarded eight cinematographers their top prize while Oscar has gone a different route. All of those winners were also nominated for the Oscar though, so it’s unlikely we’ll see a Robert Richardson upset this year since ASC went for Janusz Kaminski’s work in Bridge of Spies instead. As The Revenant keeps steamrolling its competition, I can’t help but wish for a glamorous spread of Judy the Bear in Vanity Fair or Vogue sometime soon. Photographed by Chivo of course.  

 

Thursday
Feb112016

Interview: Chivo on The Revenant, Great Auteurs, and Instagram Spying

For a man who's won two consecutive Oscars and could well make history with a third in as many years, Emmanuel Lubezki is a surprisingly humble fellow. The Mexican cinematographer, better known these days as "Chivo" since everyone is familiar with extraordinary gift and using his nickname now, shakes off my initial gushing as we meet. He is quick to cite assistants and crew members and focus pullers for the magic. But I press on. I really want to know hear how it feels for him to be a legend in his field, a two time Oscar winner and someone who's name is spoken with a certain reverence. He shakes this off, too, adamantly but graciously "I don't know what you're talking about! I don't feel that at all. But thank you!"

Some of his innocence about the kind of reviews he regularly receives could be chalked up to how completely immersed he gets in each picture. His work isn't over when a film wraps since post production can also be lengthy with different prints for IMAX and such. He's been inside The Revenant for a year. 

 I'm just coming out of the cave where I've been, I'm just starting to come back to life. 

Our interview is after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jan282016

Personal Ballots Cont'd: Best Cinematography & Production Design

We're almost done with the Oscar Correlative categories in the Film Bitch Awards. Then it's on to the silly & fun but still seriously chosen "extra" categories. Here are my choices for the best men behind the camera (always men. sigh) and the men and women designing and decorating those sets and the film's overall visual palette for your eye-candy pleasure. 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
The big Oscar question this year is "Can Emmanuel Lubezki" win a third consecutive Oscar for The Revenant. He's dominated the category the past two years with Gravity (2013) and Birdman (2014). It won't be the longest consecutive winning streak ever -- that belongs to Walt Disney who won consistently in short film categories for seemingly ever in the early days of Oscar -- but it will be the single longest streak in modern history if he pulls it off. But the category already has something for the record books: With his 13th nomination Roger Deakins Sicario moves into a tie for 5th place for All Time Most Celebrated Cinematographer. He's now sharing the honor with George J. Folsey (Meet Me in St. Louis) who also never won an Oscar. Everyone higher on the list won the Oscar once or multiple times, all four of them; It's rarified air they're breathing. 

Deakins makes my own personal ballot this year but Lubezki just barely misses (I was more impressed with his work on The New World which also went all natural light on the frontier) because I had to make room for the emotionally expressive and flexible light of Phoenix (courtesy of Hans Fromm) and the jaw-dropping 'how'd they do that?' camerawork on Germany's Victoria. On the latter film the director was so impressed he gave DP Sturla Brandth Grølven billing above his own! 

Oscar Charts (now with trivia & predictions) & Nathaniel's Ballot  


BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
We've already discussed the stupendous achievements in this category by Ethan Tobman on Room and Judy Becker on Carol so no need to rehash other than 'what is with Oscar sometimes. How could they ignore them?' Oscar voters have an anything goes choice in this category, though. If they don't just check off Mad Max Fury Road in most of the craft categories it's easy to imagine any of the films as winners, don'cha think?

Finally I wanted to give a shout out briefly to Thomas E Sanders work on Crimson Peak which the Academy also passed on. The movie has a lot of problems -- Guillermo del Toro can't seem to stay out of his own way with so much gilding of every gothic lily -- but Allerdale Hall is wonderfully decayed and oppressively decorative and all around drafty and decadent. And those vats in the basement! 

Oscar Charts (now with trivia & predictions) & Nathaniel's Ballot