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Entries in Roger Deakins (34)

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
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...

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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...  

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