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Entries in Roger Deakins (32)

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  

Thursday
Jan072016

Sicario's Hell in Harmony

Chris here. Available this week on DVD/Blu-ray is Denis Villeneuve's Sicario, a controlled descent into the cartel battles being waged between the Mexican and American borders. Like the ongoing war on drugs, Villeneuve's film presents a complex landscape of violence wherein rulebooks have been forsaken - and on both sides. It's a masterful piece of filmmaking (recently nominated by the PGA, ADG, and WGA), and Villeneuve has assembled an intimidating group of craftspeople working harmoniously to create a living hell.

Front and center is Emily Blunt's idealistic and by-the-book agent Kate Macer, straining composure and grasping for opportunity while in over her head. Blunt is ferociously present and flummoxed, giving as much subtlety and nuance as she has in her broader roles like The Devil Wears Prada. She's so believably rattled that you're reaching for fistfuls of cigarettes along with her. It's a performance that deserves to be right in the thick of the Best Actress conversation, even in such a deep field as this. While many have claimed her to be far too passive, her lack of control is just another element of Villeneuve's all-pervasive synthesis.

more after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jan062016

ASC Nominations for Best Cinematography & Adjacent Oscar Histories

John Seale and George Miller on the set of Mad Max Fury Road. Two 70somethings showing everyone how its done. The American Society of Cinemotagraphers have voted on the best of 2015's theatrical features. It's a year that can only be described as a filthy rich in terms of this artform. One only has to peruse the work of lower profile contenders that didn't make it to feel staggered by the abundance of worthy creative work being done in the field. 

But the rising talents -- and even some of the older giants -- in this arguable new golden age of the artform will have to wait another year for ASC and possibly Oscar honors. The guild went with a murderer's row of international legends this year. The ASC Nominees hail from five different countries (UK, Poland, Mexico, their average age is 62½  and between them they've amassed 31 Oscar nominations, 5 Oscar statues, 8 BAFTAs, and 5 Spirit Awards. That's a whole lotta statuary honoring their influential careers. 

Cinematography history and more on the nominees after the jump...  

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Nov252015

Chris Gives Thanks

Greetings from Chris! As the newest member of Team Experience, I'm so grateful to be able to share my point of view with you loyal readers in a space for our collective obsessions, unique observations, and global perspectives. Thank you all!

So, I am thankful for

...all of the vibrant and fully-realized women in minor roles that populate Brooklyn. Any one of them could have their own film, and I want Jessica Pare's sales manager to be my bestfriend/life coach.

..."This makes me wish they had been able to find my father's remains" in Trainwreck.

...Jason Robert Brown. We got The Last Five Years on big (but mostly VOD) screens this year, but if his masterpiece "Parade" was getting the big screen treatment, this list would be entirely comprised of that news.

more...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Oct072015

Cheers, Frannie. And Other Links

Awards Daily pays tribute to Jane Fonda (Youth) and Lily Tomlin (Grandma) as we all should. Weekly. (Daily? Hourly?)
People introduces new princess 14 year old Auli'i Cravalho who voices Disney's Moana
Jezebel "Today we are all Frances McDormand drinking wine on a toilet" Amen!


Interview Magazine has really been really topping itself lately. Now they've got Jeff Bridges talking to the iconic cinematographer Roger Deakins (Sicario). Thus begins the hard push to get him his long overdue Oscar I suppose. We interviewed him for True Grit and he was a good chat!
The Bitter Script Reader thinks The Martian screenplay is a great example of how to write obstacles for characters that engage the viewer in the same "oh shit" living of them as plans fall apart
Film School Rejects tears up over Room and appreciates the Mother & Child thread running through many films this year
i09 is (rightly) horrified by what Frank Miller has done to Superman in a new comic book cover
Variety thinks its time Oscar voters caught up to Love and Mercy and Straight Outta Compton

Taylor (left) and Rodriguez (right) the stars of TANGERINEP.S. First Trans Actress Oscar Campaign
You may have heard (from everywhere) that Magnolia Pictures is launching the first ever Oscar campaign for transgender actresses - the spirited girls from the awesome Tangerine (a film which we've recommended often). TFE actually broke this news first (albeit in early "we might do this" planning stages) but we were asked to remove the reference to it, post publication, from our James Ransome interview since he wasn't supposed to talk about just yet. We get no respect I tell you -- even when we heartily support a film from its first screening!

Anyway, if you haven't seen the film yet do so the first chance you get. Kitana Kiki Rodriguez (who plays vengeful hot-tempered Sin-Dee) will be pushed for Best Actress and Mya Taylor (her much calmer best friend Alexandra) will be campaigned as a Supporting Actress but... you know how these same gender movies go, that's total Category Fraud bullshit since you can't have one without the other. They're like a trans Thelma & Louise only with less of a crime spree and no wheels of their own; these girls have to settle for the indignities of public transport (those bus scenes. LOL) and walking in L.A.