Friday, March 14, 2008

One Category at a Time - Part 11 - Cinematography

So here's my shot at next year's cinematography nominees (this is always one of my favourite catgeories):

Australia (Mandy Walker)
Capturing the wide open Australian outback, as well as the intimate love story that takes place within, will be the task at hand for Mandy Walker. In her favour, she has vast and glorious vistas and landscapes with which to awe us. The shots promise to be breathtaking. Working against her, breathtaking wilderness didn't help Eric Gauthier earn a nomination for his work on Sean Penn's Into the Wild this past year. Is the Academy finally starting to vote for the actual photography and not just the scenery?

Blindness (Cesar Charlone)
I'm not quite sure what this movie can offer in terms of dazzling screen images, but I'm taking a leap of faith simply because of Cesar Charlone. Charlone was previously nominated for his remarkable hand-held camera work on Fernando Meirelle's City of God, unfortunately losing out to the decent yet inferior photography of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. Until Blindness comes out, I'll just have to daydream about what sorts of new and inventive tricks he has up his sleeve.

Defiance (Eduardo Serra)
Two-time Oscar nominee Eduardo Serra (Girl with a Pearl Earing, The Wings of the Dove) will give us the window through which we see Edward Zwick's Defiance. The story of three Jewish brothers fighting for survival in the forests of Belarus during WWII will likely feature intense, gritty battle sequences (what Edward Zwick film doesn't?) and plenty of thick greenery to keep the lens filled.

Red Cliff (Yue Lu)
It's epic. It's violent. It's an Asian period piece. This seems like a pretty good formula for a cinematography nomination. Yue Lu, nominated in 1995 for the crime drama Shanghai Triad, will try to wow us again with this saga of ancient warfare between powerful empires. As with costume design and art direction, the sheer size and scope of this picture gives it an early edge, but it's very easy for these sorts of films to disappoint. Take a chance on it for now, but don't expect anything if the film flops.
The Dark Knight (Wally Pfister)
The Academy made a very smooth move in nominating Wally Pfister two years ago for his work on Batman Begins, the first installment of Christopher Nolan's revision of the Batman series. He followed that up with a nomination for The Prestige the year after. Now that he has everybody's attention, he'll get to show off his knack for dark, rich photography to a much larger audience in what could likely be this summer's biggest money-maker. But will the cinematographers bite on this franchise twice? It would sure put a smile on my face!

Time to take your shot. Who'll be the cinematographers of the year?

Next category, adapted screenplay.

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