How a film look is just as important as the screenplay, the sound, the acting , the directing and sometimes even more. A Cinematographer’s job is to make the images the director has in her or his mind come to life on the big screen and it’s never an easy task While there were certainly tons of movies that should have been picked for this list like First Man, Suspiria, Upgrade, Thoroughbreds, Assassination Nation, and Black Panther. Here are the five nominated movies from least to most likely to win on February 24th for the Academy Awards.
Never Look Away – Caleb Deschanel
Nominated six times without a single win. Caleb Deschanel certainly has pulled his weight in this industry and has done some really good work. The only issue with his work is that he never stands out among his peers. All of the movies he shot have a similar look to them. He doesn’t have a trademark style like Roger Deakins , Emmanuel Lubezki and many others. The lighting in certain shots are very beautiful but they just don’t stand out from the others on this list. Add to the fact that this is the only nomination Never Look Away has and it’s clear that this will have 0 percent chance of winning.
A Star is Born – Matthew Libatique
Matthew Libatique got his start working with director Darren Aaronofsky on the movie Pi(1998) and has shot all of his movies ever since. Even got a nomination for his work on Black Swan(2010) He has gone on to work on other movies such as the first two Iron Man features(2008 and 2010) and most recently Venom(2018). His work on A Star is Born(2018) is very good. Take the moment when Lady Gaga’s character first performs “Shallow” and pay attention to the lighting. It shows a wide arrangement of color on her face to help express the emotions she is going through. Starts off on blue to help represent fear and than to red to show her desire to perform. When she gets on stage and starts singing. The look of it gets brighter the more her vocals get louder. It’s a great scene and while there are many that are good. The whole thing just doesn’t compete with the other nominees
Cold War – Lukasz Zal
Filmed in black and white on a 1:37:1 aspect ratio. Cinematographer Lukasz Zal certainly makes good use of the limited space and it has some very striking images throughout it’s 90 minute run time. It’s the kind of movie Academy members notice because each shot looks like it could be shown at a modern art museum. Even if the movie itself wasn’t that good. I wasn’t a fan of the director’s previous effort Ida(2013), but I respected the look of it very much.
The Favourite – Robbie Ryan
This movie is beautiful to look at. Every shot in every scene is just astounding. It reminded me of Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon which won this award in 1976, Not just because both movies are dark comedies set in a historical setting. But because of how similar their lighting is too each other. Robbie Ryan shoots this using as much natural light as he can or at least looking like it’s shot that way. There are even moments when Candle light is used while characters are in motion that is just mind boggling at how that was all put together.
Roma – Alfonso Cuaron
If you are putting together your Oscar Ballots this weekend. Roma is the one movie destined to win at the awards show on Sunday. This is a beautiful personal film from Director and cinematographer Alfonso Cuaron and the fact he did both jobs makes him s guarantee win. Shot in black and white on a much bigger aspect ratio of 2:11:1. Roma has some of the most beautiful shots you will see all year. From the opening where you see a plane just barely visible in the puddle of water to the moment when a riot breaks out on the street from the perspective of a shop window. Ending on a upward shot as the lead character makes her way to the roof of her home. This movie is stunning. If you missed this in theater, I feel bad for you. Don’t get me wrong you can still enjoy this on the small screen but it just doesn’t have the same impact if you do. If this movie does win in this category and best director. It could very well get the win for Best Picture.
What do you think of all the nominees? Which ones do you think has a chance of winning at the Oscars. Let me know below in the comments and be sure to check out all of the other great posts that other LAMB members have written about by visiting this page