For this article, we will examine how the directors of photography stack up against each other.
The discipline of making lighting and camera choices when recording photographic images, the Cinematographer works with the director to decide the overall look of the film. And when a movie breaks the conventions of the day, the results can move cinema in different directions forever. Even something simple like John Carpenter’s Halloween, the first major film to use the Steadicam (then called the Panaglide), can change the course of cinematic history.
Purists have lamented the rise of digital intermediate technology, where the director and cinematographer can fine-tune the look of individual scenes and even single frames by computer, is quickly killing the fine art of cinematography, but until the Academy creates a Best DI category, this is what we’ll have to deal with.
1) If you were also nominated for a BAFTA for Best Cinematography, you’ve won the Academy Award 35 of the past 39 years (89.7%). Advantage: Blade Runner 2049, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, The Shape of Water
2) If your film was not the lowest grosser of the five nominees, you’ve won here 33 of the past 39 years (84.6%). Advantage: Blade Runner 2049, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, The Shape of Water
3) If your film is also nominated for Best Director, you’ve won here 31 of 39 (79.5). Advantage: Dunkirk, The Shape of Water
4) If your film is also nominated for Best Picture, you’ve won here 31 of 39 (79.5). Advantage: Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, The Shape of Water
5) If your film is also nominated for Best Production Design, you’ve won here 30 of 39 years (76.9%). Advantage: Blade Runner 2049, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, The Shape of Water
6) If your film takes place in the past, you’ve won here 29 of 39 (74.4%). Advantage: Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, Mudbound, The Shape of Water
7) If you have previously been nominated for an Oscar for Best Cinematography, you’ve won here 23 of 39 (59%). Advantage: Blade Runner 2049, Darkest Hour
8) However, if you’ve won the American Cinematographer Society Award for Theatrical Release, you’ve only gone on to win the Oscar 13 of the 31 times the ASC has been giving out awards (41.9%). “Advantage”: Blade Runner 2049
By the Numbers…
It’s a toss-up between two first-time nominees, while the best cinematographer alive will probably go home empty-handed for the 14th time. Seriously, who the f**k does Roger A. Deakins have to kill to get some Oscar glory?
Blade Runner 2049 (Roger A. Deakins): +1, +2, -3, -4, +5, -6, +7, +8 (160 of 304, 52.63%)
Darkest Hour (Bruno Delbonnel): +1, +2, -3, +4, +5, +6, +7, -8 (184 of 304, 60.53%)
Dunkirk (Hoyte van Hoytema): +1, +2, +3, +4, +5, +6, -7, -8 (223 of 304, 73.36%)
Mudbound (Rachel Morrison): -1, -2, -3, -4, -5, +6, -7, -8 (80 of 304, 26.32%)
The Shape of Water (Dan Laustsen): +1, +2, +3, +4, +5, +6, -7, -8 (223 of 304, 73.36%)
(And yes, I intentionally fooled you for the header picture. Got to keep you guessing, right?)
Thank you for taking the time to check us out.
All articles in this series:
Best Picture of the Year
Best Actor and Best Actress
Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress
Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Foreign Language Film
Best Animated Feature
Best Production Design
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Best Costume Design
Best Sound Effects and Best Sound Mixing
Best Documentary Feature
Best Visual Effects