Cinematography is infinite in its possibilities… much more so than music or language. – Conrad Hall. Today we look at the films and cinematographers who have explored the infinite possibilities and bring us some of the more visually stunning films this Academy Awards season. We at BTG Lifestyle predict the winner of the Best Cinematography category at this year’s Oscars.
Dean – The Hateful Eight
As a student of film and filmmaking, I have always been impressed by how camera movement and placement can enhance the experience. Quentin Tarantino, despite being an auteur himself, is first and foremost, a student of film. One of the things he does best is knowing exactly how to frame his actors and settings so that we as an audience get exactly what we paid for. With the talents of skilled veteran Robert Richardson (and 3 time Oscar winner) by his side, this was only going to be visually stunning.
The Hateful Eight, although regrettably not his best work, is still a top contender when it comes to cinematography. To have a near 3 hour film take place mostly in one setting, your camera work needs to be on point and although the smart money is on The Revenant, I’ve got a feeling Richardson might just walk away with this one, given his pedigree and the outstanding work he has done with QT in the past having been nominated for Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained – but not winning for either. I feel like it’s third time’s the charm for Richardson and QT. It’s a gut feeling and I’m sticking to it.
Stephen – The Revenant
This one is going to go to Emmanuel Lubezki who will be winning his third consecutive Oscar for The Revenant, and making history as the first person to do so, ever. I saw The Revenant a few weeks ago, and while I had a few issues with the basic story and how thin DiCaprio’s character actually is (despite an amazing performance), the thing that stands out about the film is how stunning it looks, and how the camera moves.
From amazing landscapes to close ups on weather-beaten, endeavour-beaten faces, The Revenant looks like a fine photography project, except the pictures move. Let’s not forget that the majority of the film was also shot in natural light, and the texture this creates is on the screen in all its majesty.
Additionally, a similar style is used as in Birdman which was made to look as if it was done in one continuous shot. The Revenant does not go to the same lengths, but has lengthy shots that carry on for ages, often including scenes that dwarf the walk-and-talk moments in Birdman, containing many actors doing tons of action (mostly battle scenes).
It’s a much-deserved nod seeing Roger Deakins finally getting close to the Oscar he deserves for an amazing career with his nomination for Sicario, and Mad Max’s composition is what ensures it makes sense through all the chaos. But just one look at The Revenant and your jaw drops in awe, and that’s something none of the other films in this category manages to do.
Tendai – The Hateful Eight
This may be a wildcard pick but I am feeling strong about this. Not Tarantino’s best work but with his work with a new camera, he may have redefined movies again. Tarantino took a different approach in his 8th installment where it was more technical than ever before, and I feel this award should be engraved with his name.
From the horse carriage scene to the beginning of the “Tarantino death match”, the importance of cinematography could not be disregarded. And the winning shot was when Jennifer Jason-Leigh was covered in blood and gave her Oscar nominated speech.
What is your prediction for Best Cinematography?
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