2018 Oscars: Cinematography

Okay it’s February, which means it’s time to talk Oscars. The winter Olympics gives us an extra week this year, so my annual Oscar coverage will be coming to you Mondays and Thursdays from now until the big day on March 4. Then it’ll be time to put the blog on vacation for a bit and write something else for a while.

Next up…

“Blade Runner 2049,” Roger Deakins
“Darkest Hour,” Bruno Delbonnel
“Dunkirk,” Hoyte van Hoytema
“Mudbound,” Rachel Morrison
“The Shape of Water,” Dan Laustsen

Who will win: Blade Runner 2049
Who could win: Dunkirk
Who should win: Blade Runner 2049
Who should be here: “John Mathieson,” Logan

Here’s a complete list of the 14 films that Roger Deakens has been nominated for:

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
Sicario (2015)
Unbroken (2014)
Prisoners (2013)
Skyfall (2012)
True Grit (2010)
The Reader (2008)
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)
No Country for Old Men (2007)
The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001)
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
Kundun (1997)
Fargo (1996)
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

…and yet there’s exactly 0 gold statues sitting on his mantle. If you, dear reader, have seen Blade Runner 2049, you’ll know that changes this year. The visuals of Blade Runner 2049 were stunning in their scope, beauty and warmth. His mix of blacks and oranges along with the neon colors from the original film gave it an updated look while staying true to form. In short, Blade Runner 2049 was the most visually exciting film of the year.

It’s too bad, because Hoyte van Hoytema’s stark, cold visuals in Dunkirk dod so much to help Nolan’s vision come alive. The opening scene alone – with the flyers falling down on one of our heroes, was Oscar-worthy in and of itself. But the steely grey tones combined with the stunning battle sequences make this film truly sing.

Rachel Morrison is the first woman in history to get nominated for an Academy Award for Cinematography, and boy does she deserve it. Her photography of the Mississippi delta is so beautiful that for a second I contemplated moving there (then I remembered the heat and such). 

I’d like to have seen John Mathieson get a nod for Logan. His warm shots of a decaying country told so much of the story without having to put it into words. Seldom does a photographer contribute so much to the actual telling of a story, rather than just helping to tell it, as Mathieson does here. If the main character wasn’t an immortal superhero, I bet he’d have made the cut.