The Worst Oscar Omissions for Best Cinematography

The Worst Oscar Omissions for Best Cinematography


Chapman’s liberated location work is a stunning time capsule of New York City at peak 1970s squalor. You can practically feel the steam and grime sweating off the screen. It’s also a brilliant documentary of the mind for its disturbed protagonist Travis Bickle, envisaging his warped paranoid perspective. And while Chapman received an Oscar nomination for his stunning black and white work on Martin Scorsese’s ‘Raging Bull’ it would have been equally justified here. Charles Laughton’s Depression era gothic fairy tale was a true one-off, that flopped on its 1955 release. It’s now rightly seen as a hallucinatory classic in large part due to Cortez’s stunning imagery, all entirely his own lighting concept. A master of monochrome who shot Orson Welles’ ‘The Magnificent Ambersons’ Cortez’s expressionistic use of light and shadow here conjures up a film that unfolds as if dreaming itself onto celluloid before your very eyes. Though it’s art direction and special effects were Oscar-nominated, everything else about Ridley Scott’s in 1982 sci-fi noir was overlooked including Cronenweth groundbreaking visuals With its strong backlighting and smoke infused Asian neon aesthetic ‘Blade Runner,’ defined the look of dystopian cinema … Not to mention advertising and music videos for years to come. In 2018, Rachel Morrison became the first female oscar-nominated director of photography an accolade long overdue. Kuras should have made the cut a decade earlier for her brilliance balancing of the mundane and the mind-warping in Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufman’s memory erasure masterpiece. Gondry’s desire for natural light handheld shooting and practical effects, often in-camera, meant constant innovation. Kuras developed a unifying look that makes the everyday appear extraordinary and vice-versa grounding raw emotion amid wild shape-shifting surreality I With a 1970s resume including both ‘Godfathers,’ ‘All the President’s Men’ and ‘Annie Hall’ Willis is the DOP Don of new American cinema. Nicknamed the “Prince of Darkness,” he transformed the art of under exposure in color cinematography. ‘The Godfather’s’ bold use of shadows and blackness emphasized the Mafia’s shady inscrutability, kept Marlon Brando’s makeup viable, and ruthlessly charted Michael Corleone’s descent into evil. Amid the film’s multiple awards and nominations, it’s incredible that Willis wasn’t recognized. Defining the look of a moviemaking golden age deserves the prize especially since Willis received precisely zero oscar recognition for his revolutionary 70s work.

14 thoughts on “The Worst Oscar Omissions for Best Cinematography”

  1. Godfather was told to scrap by Paramount Pictures as the film looked very dark (exposure). Also there were many things which could stop the director from making it. The Godfather became very successful at the box-office since then people are talking about its great cinematography.
    Reference: Godfather Documentary.

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