Oscars Lowdown 2014: Best Cinematography - Does a longtime bridesmaid finally get his due?
In the lead-up to the 86th annual Academy Awards on March 2, HitFix will be bringing you the lowdown on all 24 Oscar categories with multiple entries each day. Take a few notes and bone up on the competition as we give you the edge in your office Oscar pool!
We couldn't possibly cover the year in cinematography more than we already have, but to say it once more, it was a pretty astounding year for the form. Great work was left on the sidelines in this Oscar race, as the ASC couldn't even limit itself to just five nominees. True masters are at work here and I couldn't begin to complain about any of the inclusions (even if I am bummed about this or that contender that missed).
Nevertheless, it seems as though the Academy will do right by the most deserving of the year's nominees, as like in a number of below-the-line arenas this year, one film seems to be dominating the conversation.
The nominees are…
"The Grandmaster" (Philippe Le Sourd)
There's no question that Wong Kar-wai's latest is of a piece with his portfolio of work, by which I mean it's an extravagant and lush production captured with gorgeous photography. Even with the ASC nomination, though, it seemed like the film might have difficulty pushing past Best Picture players like "Captain Phillips" and "12 Years a Slave," but here it is. That's about as far as the merry-go-round is likely to go on this film (which also picked up a costume design nomination), but it's hardly alone on that front as this category has a pretty clear choice. (Check out our interview with Le Sourd here.)
"Gravity" (Emmanuel Lubezki)
That choice is "Gravity." And Emmanuel "Chivo" Lubezki, six nominations in, 20 years removed from his first American gig ("Reality Bites"), he's set up to finally win an Oscar. He's probably owed a couple at this stage, for "Sleepy Hollow," maybe. Certainly for "The New World," "Children of Men" and "The Tree of Life." "Gravity" is his crowning achievement to date, though, an impeccable vision against so many odds. It's a CG marvel, yes, but one with a visual identity owed completely to Lubezki, lest anyone think this win would be undeserved due to the impact of visual effects in the film. Warner Bros. has done a good job of making the technical prowess of this work stand above that fray, and by God, the man deserves it. (Check out our interview with Lubezki here.)