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2011 - Best Cinematography


  1. Janusz Kaminski (War Horse)
      Two-time Academy Award winner Kaminski – a Spielberg-regular (Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan etc.) - is pretty much a lock at this point, because even if the film disappoints critics (highly unlikely), the cinematography will be still spectacular for sure, definitely top5-worthy.
  2. Emmanuel Lubezki (The Tree of Life)
      Four-time Academy Award nominee Lubezki is one of the most sought-after cinematographers in the business, he worked with the Coen Brothers (Burn After Reading), Mike Nichols (The Birdcage), Michael Mann (Ali), , Tim Burton (Sleepy Hollow) and most notably Alfonso Cuarón (The Little Princess, Great Expectations, Y tu mamá también, Children of Men). This is his second collaboration with Terrence Malick and he received a nomination the first time around (The New World) although he failed to win...second time the charm ?
  3. Jeff Cronenweth and Fredrik Backar (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)
      Cronenweth received his first nomination last year for Fincher's previous film (The Social Network) and he has a considerably baitier and more challenging job this time around, one he will probably excel...and one he could even win for.
  4. Robert Richardson (Hugo Cabret)
      Two-time Academy Award winner Richardson (Platoon, Born on July 4th, JFK, The Aviator, Inglourious Basterds) tackles some baity, flashy material this year and the Academy tends to reward 'flashy' in this category, so once again, he has a remarkably good shot at making the top5.
  5. Eduardo Serra (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II)
      Two-time Academy Award nominee Serra (The Wings of the Dove, The Girl with a Pearl Earring, Blood Diamond) has the edge over a lot of contenders because his film is the final part of a mega-franchise and even if for some reason, the Academy opted to ignore it in the big ones, it will be definitely a player in the technical categories..
  6. Wally Pfister (Moneyball)
      Last year's winner, Pfister is once again in consideration this year with one interesting distinction : this is the first time he is up for an Oscar WITHOUT Nolan in his corner. He was nominated 4 times, ALL four for Christopher Nolan-films, Pfister has shot all of his films since Memento. Having said that, Moneyball is a sports drama and that always provides a lot of challenges for a cinematographer, so considering he WILL nail it – just look at his track trecord – he could make the top5 for the second consecutive year.
  7. Darius Khondji and Johanne Debas (Midnight in Paris)
      Khondji is one of the most consistent cinematographers out there (Delicatessen, The City of Lost Children, Se7en, Evita, Panic Room, Cheri) so if he and his partner REALLY captured the essence of Paris, they could get this EASILY.
  8. Peter Suschitzky (A Dangerous Method)
      It might just be the year of the first Academy Award nomination of Cronenberg's regular cinematographer.
  9. Roger Deakins (In Time)
      IF he gets in, it will be his 10th (!!!) nomination and as much as I would love to say that kind of 'overdue' factor could seal the deal, in his case, it probably won't UNLESS In Time becomes the first sci-fi in a long time the Academy opts to embrace in a big way.
  10. Chris Menges (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close)
      Two-time Academy Award winner Menges was nominated for a Daldry-film (The Reader) the last time, so they definitely have a succesful professional relationship and if this film actually emerges as THE one to beat – it has everything a frontrunner could ask for – Menges will be once again a strong contender.


  1. Guillaume Schiffman (The Artist)
      He could be the newcomer in the category, but first, his film has to be well-received in the US...and a best picture nomination wouldn't hurt, either.
  2. Pawel Edelman (Carnage)
      A Polanski-regular whose sole nomination was for The Pianist although he did outstanding work on The Ghost Writer and Ray, as well. Usually the Academy doesn't go for quiet dramas in this category BUT it could be a rare challenge for the cinematographer. Think Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf...and that not only received a nomination in this category, it even WON !
  3. Adriano Goldman (Jane Eyre)
      He is a promising, relatively unknown cinematographer whose work WILL be recognized sooner or later. His film was visually stunning and unique and he had a big part in achieving that. In his case, it will come down to the studio, Focus Features : if they opt to give Jane Eyre the Oscar-push it deserves, Goldman could sneak into the top5, as well.
  4. Benoit Delhomme (One Day)
      IF the film is beloved by critics AND audiences alike, his – probably – understated work could be considered seriously.
  5. Dariusz Wolski (The Rum Diary)
      He is probably a good friend of Johnny Depp becasue all I can see looking at his CV, are Depp-films : they worked together on the Pirates of the Caribbean-trilogy, Sweeney Todd, Alice in Wonderland and now The Rum Diary. He has never been nominated before but if the film will be 'big' enough, this year could be 'the one' for him.
  6. Chris Blauvelt (Meek's Cutoff)
      The film is visually stunning and critically acclaimed...only that damn early release date.
  7. Manuel Alberto Claro (Melancholia)
      Cannes-reviews praised his work, the question is how much the 'scandal' hurt the film AND unfortunately – as always – campaign money will be a crucial factor, as well.
  8. Hoyte van Hoyterna (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy)
      He came close last year (The Fighter) and has been doing great work for a while now (Let the right one in), so IF the film becomes a player, so could he.
  9. Phedon Papamichael (The Ides of March)
      IF the film becomes a top player...IF.
  10. Phedon Papamichael (The Descendants)
  11. Newton Thomas Sigel (Drive)
      He has been around for three decades now and delivered some great work (Superman Returns, X-Men, X2, The Usual Suspects, Three Kings, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind) over the years, so a career nomination is definitely a strong possibility thanks to the outstanding Cannes-reviews.
  12. Dean Semler (In the Land of Blood and Honey)
      The Academy Award – winner Dean Semler has some outstanding work on his resume (Dances with Wolves, Apocalypto, Secretariat), not to mention that this is a war film and those usually have the edge in this category. Bottom line : he could get in EASILY.
  13. Barry Ackroyd (Coriolanus)
      The late-bloomer Ackroyd received his first nomination two years ago for The Hurt Locker and had done some excellent work before that, most notably United 93 and Palme d'Or winner The Wind That Shakes the Barley. If the film still has some buzz in December, so will he.
  14. Eric Gautier (On the Road)
      And here I thought he already has 2 nominations for Into the Wild and The Motorcycle Diaries...shockingly, he doesn't. Maybe this time...
  15. Rodrigo Prieto (We bought a Zoo)
      Despite a remarkably versatile filmography that includes working with some of the most interesting directors of today's cinema - Julie Taymor (Frida), Curtis Hanson (8 mile), Spike Lee (25th hour), Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (21 grams AND Babel AND Biutiful), Oliver Stone (Alexander AND Wall Street II), Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain AND Lust and Caution), Pedro Almodóvar (Broken Embraces) – he was nominated only once, for Brokeback Mountain. He could have a strong year considering Cameron Crowe's latest AND Water for Elephants which might not have become a huge hit, but it delivered decent numbers and even critics who didn't like it, ackowledged the beautiful visuals.
  16. José Luis Alcaine (The Skin I live in)
      Although he frequently works with the Academy-favourite Almodóvar, so far Alcaine hasn't received a nomination. This year could be it since The Skin I live in looks like one of Almodóvar's visually most challenging to date.
  17. Steven Soderbergh ? (Contagion)
      OK, so obviously I got something wrong, but I just can't find out for sure WHO was the cinematographer on this one, so I'll just assume that it's usually when it comes to a Soderbergh-film...
  18. Robbie Ryan (Wuthering Heights)
      He has definitely breakthrough-potential : he also shot Andrea Arnold's two previous films (Red Road, Fish Tank) and this one definitely has more potential in this category. Think Pride and Prejudice and add a lot of crucial landscape shots!
  19. Elliot Davis (The Iron Lady)
      He had a long and interesting career including films like Out of Sight, Thirteen, I am Sam and Twilight and although his name is not exactly the first that comes to mind when I think about this film's Oscar potential, then again, last year I also thought Firth, maybe Rush will get nominations for The King's Speech, and that will be it. It's once again the biopic of a controversial British leader...aaand it's the Weinsteins and their (in)famous campaigning actually could get Davis in the category just like they did Danny Cohen last year, who though did a good job, it was far from top5-worthy...especially in a year that was „so strong” on paper that outstanding contenders like Shutter Island, The Way Back, Secretariat, 127 hours and Deathly Hallows Part I, couldn't get ANY traction in this category.
  20. Ben Smithard (My Week with Marilyn) will come down to the Weinstein-push, otherwise it looks like an 'actors' film'.

  1. Seamus McGarvey (We need to talk about Kevin)
      He is brilliant (Atonement, The Hours) so if he could give We need to talk about Kevin the wonderfully unique visual world, he provided for Atonement and The Hours, he should be definitely a contender...even if due to the 'smallness' of the film, he won't be.
  2. Larry Fong (Super 8)
      The film is getting good reviews, so that's a plus, but his CGI-heavy, not necessarily good previous films (300, Watchmen, Sucker Punch) doesn't really help his case. The problem with these visual effects-extravaganzas, that the – mostly laic – Academy voters probably have no idea how much of it can be credited to the cinematographer.
  3. Stephen Goldblatt (The Help)
      Two-time Academy Award-nominee Goldblatt (The Prince of Tides, Batman Forever) has some impressive recent credits on her resume (Julie and Julia, Closer), so once again IF the film surprises and makes the bp top10...
  4. Adam Stone (Take Shelter)
      This could be his big break because based on the trailer, he probably did an outstanding job here.
  5. Oscar Faura (The Impossible)
      He nailed Agora and The Orphanage so if the film actually gets a 2011-release date AND critics love, he could be a player in the end.
  6. Caleb Deschanel (Dream House)
      Could five-time Academy Award nominee Deschanel – father of Emily and Zooey – FINALLY get his long overdue Oscar ? Probably not...too bad, he is one of the best in the business.
  7. Caleb Deschanel (Killer Joe)
  8. Alwin H. Kuchler (Hanna)
      I think he did an excellent job here and had the film come out later, he could have been a contender, but unfortunately the film as a whole will fade due to the VERY early release date
  9. John Mathieson (X-Men : First Class)
      Two-time Academy Award-nominee Mathieson is an excellent cinematographer, having said that, he won't be nominated this year or at least it is highly unlikely considering the Academy rarely embraces CGI-heavy films in this category.
  10. Anna Foerster (Anonymous)
      Although it is a period piece and the Academy LOVES to nominate those here, I just don't see it.
  11. Mike Cahill (Another Earth)
      The film looks visually stunning and considering Cahill did pretty much everything here (writing, directing, editing etc.) the Academy has a lot of options to nominate him IF they fall in love with the film.
  12. Terry Stacey (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen)
      On paper it's highly unlikely, but if the film gets some unexpected traction, who knows ?
  13. Haris Zambarloukos (Thor)
      Although he did a remarkable job here, the Academy will have probably no idea whether he should be credited or the VFX department.
  14. Dariusz Wolski (Pirates of the Caribbean 4)
      And what gives, ANOTHER Depp-film on Wolski's resume but this time around the movie will probably have to settle with mentions in visual effects and maybe the sound categories.
  15. Rodrigo Prieto (Water for Elephants)
      I consider his work in this film DEFINITELY Awards-worthy, but it came out too early and didn't make the impact it should have in order to survive a long precursor-season.
  16. Don Burgess (Source Code)
      Academy Award-nominee Burgess has a remarkably versatile filmography (Enchanted, Polar Express, Spiderman, Cast Away, Forrest Gump) and this excellent sci-fi film also boosts his profile, but unfortunately t will probably not get the kind of acclaim it definitely deserves.
  17. Jon Willems (Limitless)
      Up until now, he hasn't showed much potential and though he won't be a contender this year, it is definitely a good start in case he ever wants to get an Oscar nomination.
  18. Robert Elswit (Mission Impossible 4)
      He won a few years ago for There will be blood IF this film improves on its predecessor, who knows how far a 'name' cinematographer could go ?
  19. Mauro Fiore (Real Steel)
      He won for the CGI-heavy Avatar, so IMO he shouldn't be ruled out for the CGI-heavy Real Steel.
  20. Zsigmond Vilmos (Bolden!)
      The film is so ridiculously under the rader that I'm starting to think it's some kind of April Fool's Joke. It needs some buzz ASAP!

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