Monday, January 13, 2014

Awards-Nazi Award nominations: Cinematography

I'm kicking off this year's Awards-Nazi Award nominees with my favourite of all categories, Best Cinematography. There was a lot of great work to pick from this year, and inevitably I had to leave some excellent work off my final five (some that will probably be Oscar recognized anyway).

Check out my top five below, accompanied by my favourite shot from each.

The Grandmaster (Philippe Le Sourd)
My mind wandered a lot during this film, but not my eye. Le Sourd's luscious photography is some of the most delicious eye candy of the year, particularly the bravura train station sequence (below), which sensually captures the intricate fight choreography.

Gravity (Emmanuel Lubezki)
What more can really be said at this point? The technological innovations that Lubezki spearheaded are worthy of a sci-tech honour, but the artfulness of his compositions cannot be understated either. That first shifting POV shot (below) is something we've never seen before.

Inside Llewyn Davis (Bruno Delbonnel)
Delbonnel's soft, desaturated photography (filling Roger Deakin's enormous shoes without missing a beat) beautifully puts the winter into Llewyn's discontent. The cold practically emanates from the screen, and I don't think anyone's every shot a cat this well. Ulysses is ready for his closeup Mr. Delbonnel.

Prisoners (Roger Deakins)
Evoking the bleak late-autumn atmosphere like a film noir in colour, Deakins' foreboding images are as integral to the slow-burning tension of this piece as Villeneuve's tightly wound direction. That scene at the gas station stuns (notice in the shot below how he throws in a Dutch angle without actually tilting the camera? Genius.)

Rush (Anthony Dod Mantle)
Where Howard's direction is anonymous, Mantle adds a much needed dash of auteur style, invigorating the racing sequences with typically inventive flare by putting the camera not only inside the cockpits, but inside the engine, under the wheels, in front of the spoilers, and even in the drivers' helmets.

Just missed:
12 Years a Slave (Sean Bobbit)
Ain't Them Bodies Saints (Bradford Young)
Frances Ha (Sam Levy)
Her (Hoyte Van Hoytema)
Spring Breakers (Benoit Debie)

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