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5 Films That Could Have (Should Have) Been Nominated for a Best Cinematography Oscar

By Indiewire | Indiewire January 17, 2014 at 1:23PM

Craft Truck shares their list of 5 cinematographers who were worthy of an Oscar nomination.
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"The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty

Yesterday, when the Oscar nominations were announced, we learned that Philippe Le Sourd ("The Grandmaster"), Emmanuel Lubezki ("Gravity"), Bruno Delbonnel ("Inside Llewyn Davis"), Phedon Papamichael ("Nebraska") and Roger A. Deakins ("Prisoners") all received nods for best Achievement in cinematography. They are all worthy Oscar contenders, but, frankly, we were surprised that Sean Bobbitt wasn't recognized for his work on "12 Years a Slave." We thought he was a sure thing.

Our friends at Craft Truck felt that there was so much good work in the cinematography field, that 5 other cinematographers could have (should have?) been nominated. They have written on the topic and shared their post with us below. Check out Craft Truck, an excellent source for insider's film production info, here and read their post below:

The nominations for Best Cinematography are all very well deserved and we're not questioning any of them. As time goes by the craft of cinematography keeps going. Here are some other pictures that are amazing achievements in cinematography and we think are worthy of looking at:

"The Secret Life of Walter Mitty"

Unlike many projects that incorporate a tonne of VFX to the point where analyzing the photography is not only difficult but probably useless, Mitty is an effects-heavy film that required pitch-perfect visual shooting of actors to incorporate into the very odd story.

It's clearly Stiller’s vision, one that has blood, sweat and tears all over it and regardless of whether you like the film or not, it's one very dazzling and emotional ride. Remember, this is a film about a man who leads THE most mundane life you've ever seen (cue the hard boiled egg and the toast) and the fantasy worlds he slips into. But think about how easy it would be to pull a 'Roger Rabbit' and make those two worlds so disparate from one another, and now think again about the trailer for the film: you don’t really see the transitions coming. They just happen.

Beyond the fact that everything looks stunning in the film, and it does, Stuart Dryburgh did a super-human job of making the entire visual feel of the film be integrated and connected and still have subtle changes in keeping with Mitty's imagination and ever-changing landscapes. There are also some crazy camera moves in this picture that could not have been easy to pull off, and again they integrate and marry well with several other still-frame aesthetics elsewhere in the picture. In a long career that’s included many great beautiful films, I think Mitty is one of Dryburgh's best outings and overall, a special film for photography.

"Mud"
"Mud"

"Mud"

Adam Stone is a badass. This guy has something to him that basically feels like a 70's photographer who just lays it all out there and makes things instinctively, not without technical knowledge but also not pushing any agenda or *forcing* technique, and just tells great stories with images. This film could not have been easy to make.

While everyone is going to fawn over the other McConaughey picture of the year, amazing as it is, this picture was really well done and the photography is a true champion. 

Look at how much of this is exterior, dawn, dusk, day, or night. Like 80% of it? The matching and consistency is amazing and more importantly it seems that Stone using the "God as Gaffer" really thought about framing first and lighting second (oh, and I should also mention that his lighting-second is better than most people’s lighting-first’s, if you know what I mean). The gunfight towards the end of the film takes place practically all at dusk and gets gradually darker. The photography work there is reminiscent of the sun-rising on No Country for Old Men and you can't get much better than that. Stone's work in this picture allowed for the rural south to be both small-town USA and a little bit of Robinson Carusoe, a little bit of magic tossed around for good measure.

The film is expertly told and the synergy between Stone and director Jeff Nichols is as though we’re watching Cronenberg and Suschitzky --  like they've been doing it for years.

This article is related to: Craft Truck, Cinematography, Awards, awards season, Academy Award Nominations, Academy Awards, Spring Breakers, The Place Beyond the Pines, Mud, Side Effects, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty







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