Best Cinematography 2007

1998 through 2007

Which nominee contained the Best Cinematography of 2007?

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Roger Deakins)
11
73%
Atonement (Seamus McGarvey)
1
7%
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Janusz Kaminski)
1
7%
No Country for Old Men (Roger Deakins)
0
No votes
There Will Be Blood (Robert Elswit)
2
13%
 
Total votes: 15

dws1982
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Re: Best Cinematography 2007

Postby dws1982 » Sun Jul 15, 2018 3:55 pm

I considered not voting because I think all of these films are solid contenders, and it's hard to really make a case for why one is notably stronger (or weaker) than the others.

In the end, I went for Atonement, partially because I (correctly) suspected that it wouldn't have any votes, and partially as a vote for a movie that I've really come to appreciate in recent years. Initially, I didn't much care for it, but after re-watching it a year or two back, my opinion changed dramatically. Yeah, the Dunkirk shot is showing off, but with the distance of nearly a decade, it played much better, and I think it's really impressive, both in scope and execution. But even without that, it's a worthy winner--it's just an expertly-shot film. Several images still stick out in my mind: James McAvoy standing in a field at dusk, or another shot of McAvoy walking through a field of poppies, or when he comes across the field of dead bodies, that shot of McAvoy in front of a movie screen showing a romantic scene, or that scene with Romola Garai and the (I think) French soldier.

This is a great list, but I'm glad to get Atonement on the board with a vote.

Deakins still has at least two, maybe three, more votes coming from me. Kaminski has had the bad fortune of competing in really strong years, so his one vote for Schindler's List will probably be it for me, and unfortunately Elswit will have to go without my vote.

Who would I have put in? Of mainstream contenders, I agree with Zodiac and Into the Wild. Way back in 2008 when I made my list, I had Gone Baby Gone, and also The Lives of Others (not eligible), The Darjeeling Limited, The Assassination of Jesse James, and Regular Lovers (probably not eligible) on my shortlist. Don't know exactly what it would like today, but it was a very solid year.

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Re: Best Cinematography 2007

Postby Mister Tee » Sun Jul 15, 2018 2:32 pm

I've been slow getting to this because 1) it feels like a recent discussion (don't tell me it's 11 years ago; life can't be flying by that quickly) and 2) most of what I'd say has already been said. So, briefly:

Notebooks tell me I had Zodiac and Into the Wild as chief alts, but there's nothing much wrong with the slate as is.

Atonement, like all Joe Wright movies, does too much calling attention to itself -- the Dunkirk tracking shot just about cries out "Look how impressive I am" -- but this is Wright's best work, and the cinematography overall makes a strong contribution. It may run last for me, but in a year this good, that's nothing to be ashamed of.

I wasn't as taken with The Diving Bell and the Butterfly as some critics, but it's a very solid piece of technical work, and Kaminski helps Schnabel find interesting visual expressions of the Amalric character's mental state. It's an admirable achievement.

Had this not been the year of Deakins' double-header, I imagine No Country for Old Men, with its southwest vistas as well as its tacky motels, would have been solidly in contention for this prize. But, as accomplished as the work is, it so obviously pales next to Deakins' other entry that it feels like a distant also-ran.

In keeping with the traditions of the decade, There Will Be Blood is a film whose win simultaneously made me happy and disappointed me. Elswit is an excellent cinematographer -- his work on other Anderson movies and Good Night and Good Luck made that clear -- and here he finally was dealing with the wide-open spaces the Academy so likes to honor. I watched There Will Be Blood again recently, and it's just a terrific looking movie. It pains me to take away Elswit's prize.

But do that I must, because Deakins' work on The Assassination of Jesse James is just exceptional. The film has the sort of affinity with nature we usually associate with the finest Malick films, but it also manages to provide the solid narrative that is Malick's weak spot. There are more memorable images in this film than one can keep in mind at one time -- in effect, the entire film is an Oscar reel. Deakins has merited Oscar wins on multiple occasions -- including this year, when voters finally came through for him. But I don't know he's ever deserved it as much as he did this time around, and he easily gets my vote.

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Re: Best Cinematography 2007

Postby The Original BJ » Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:49 pm

If someone were to make the case that this is the best Oscar Cinematography lineup ever... I'm not sure I'd put up much of an argument. There were other exciting options as well -- I'm Not There and Zodiac probably most worth mentioning -- but it seemed pretty obvious these would be the five nominees, and it's hard to fight strenuously against any of this branch's selections this year.

Atonement is certainly the most old-fashioned/traditional nominee, but I'd say the visuals were a cut above what you'd find in many more staid period lit adaptations. Exciting individual shots immediately leap to mind -- Knightley in the green dress outside at night, the ambitious Dunkirk tracking shot -- and the film on the whole has a pleasing gossamer glow to it. Not a game-changer, but solid work.

Much as I've enjoyed much of Kaminski's work with Spielberg, it was great to see the cinematographer branch off in a totally different direction this year. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly has a premise that it's tough to imagine could ever lend itself to an exciting visual experience, but Kaminski finds consistently varied ways to shoot the real-life sequences, and soars with imagination in the fantastical moments. Not the most beautiful nominee here, but one with impressive artistry nonetheless.

For me, No Country for Old Men was the weaker of the two Deakins nominations this year, but even saying that seems unfair to the work here, which is quite terrific in its own right. The Coens' great modern western is unimaginable without the arid Texas landscapes, the dramatically lit nighttime chase sequences, and the precisely composed interior shots, none of which would have looked as great without the contribution of their longtime photographic collaborator. But as I said, not even his peak this year.

Robert Elswit's win this year brought me enormous pleasure, partly because I had been rooting for him to win for Good Night, and Good Luck, but also because There Will Be Blood was a dazzling piece of cinematography, another film which used the landscape of the Old West to such stark, dramatic effect. This is a deeply mysterious movie, whose long, wordless passages wouldn't work without the entrancing visuals -- the haunting shots of imposing oil derricks rising out of the ground, the stunning bursts of fire in the sky, the low-watt quality of the interior lighting. I think this is the finest winner in this category this decade.

But I don't think it's quite as impressive as The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, the entirety of which resembles a centuries-old daguerrotype come to life, with evocatively photographed images that carry with them whatever the opposite of nostalgia is -- a kind of painful recollection of tragedies that linger in the memory. The exteriors are breathtaking -- from Pitt in the fog on the railroad tracks to the almost Malickian shots of wheat fields -- but I think the interiors are pretty beautifully lit and composed as well -- the titular assassination, for instance, has a chillingly spare simplicity to its look that's hugely memorable. I think this achievement is the peak of Roger Deakins's first-rate career, and even in this stellar lineup, my easy choice for the win.

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Re: Best Cinematography 2007

Postby mlrg » Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:31 am

This is an amazing lineup.

Voted for Deakins but any of the other nominees would be a great winner as well.

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Re: Best Cinematography 2007

Postby Reza » Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:28 am

Big Magilla wrote:It will probably strike some of you as blasphemy, but I hardly remember anything about [i]The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford


You've done well to have forgotten this painfully dull film - took me four excruciating days to finish watching it just to see Casey Affleck's nominated performance. Give me any of the westerns from the 1950s anytime over this fanboy wet dream.

However, the cinematography of Roger Deakins is the sole highlight. Voted for it here.

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Re: Best Cinematography 2007

Postby Precious Doll » Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:24 am

Certainly a very strong lineup with only No Country For Old Men that felt rather second-hand. I voted for There Will Be Blood but honestly the other three wold have made very respectable winners.

Being such a stellar year omissions abound: Zodiac, Silent Light, Cashback, Les Chansons d'Amour, Noise, The Witnesses, Honeydripper, Eastern Promises, The Romance of Astrea and Celadon & The Edge of Heaven/
"I have no interest in all of that. I find that all tabloid stupidity" Woody Allen, The Guardian, 2014, in response to his adopted daughter's allegations.

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Re: Best Cinematography 2007

Postby Big Magilla » Tue Jul 10, 2018 3:31 am

I haven't seen any of the nominees in years, but I remember well the look of There Will Be Blood, No Country for Old Men and Atonement and vaguely the look of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. It will probably strike some of you as blasphemy, but I hardly remember anything about The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

Oddly enough, the Casey Affleck film from 2007 that I remember much more vividly is Gone Baby Gone which I re-watched the other day. That one was shot by John Toll who was already rewarded enough with Oscars for Legends of the Fall and Braveheart and a nomination for The Thin Red Line so it's understandable why he was ignored. Other films worth considering, though, might have been Zodiac (Harris Savides), Into the Wild (Eric Gautier) and Michael Clayton (Robert Elswit). BAFTA did nominate Savides, but for American Gangster, not Zodiac. They had nominated Gautier for The Motorcycle Diaries a few years earlier. Elswit was already in the mix for There Will Be Blood.

If I had to make a change, I would say include Gautier for Into the Wild and take out Roger Deakins' second nomination for Assassination as I take cover from the brickbats. Given a second choice, I would say put in Savides for Zodiac and take out Janusz Kaminski for Diving Bell.

In the end, though, I have to agree with the Academy for choosing Robert Elswit for There Will Be Blood which remains my favorite film of the year.
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Re: Best Cinematography 2007

Postby Sabin » Mon Jul 09, 2018 9:23 pm

I'm going to be busy for the next few weeks so I won't have time to write the intros, which in a year like 2007 is just as well. Great year, great lineup. None of these nominees were really in doubt, which is pretty remarkable considering the number of heavy hitters past and future that sat on the sidelines. Ridley Scott, Todd Haynes, Ang Lee, Tim Burton, and David Fincher all had movies and at no point were they ever in serious consideration here. I’ll single out I’m Not There, which has such a variety of looks. Also worthy of mention (and probably the likeliest fifth nominee): Into the Wild. In a year devoid of a traditional nomination leader, Sean Penn’s fourth feature looked like a heavy. It’s full of gorgeous outdoor cinematography. Instead, it stiffed with two. I hold out hope that French cinematographer Eric Gautier will have his breakthrough with the Academy at some point.

I'm going to cast my vote for Roger Deakins for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford despite the fact that I think that it employs the lens effect a few too many times to diminishing thematic results. But this largely plotless film completely threw me for a loop. One of my best friends from Columbia College and I were fresh to Los Angeles (less than two months) and we snuck a small bottle of Black Label into the Hollywood Arclight as we did far more often in those days. Neither one of us was especially excited to see it. By the end of the movie, we were in disbelief at how good it was and so much credit is due to the cinematography. For me, this is the one Deakins should be remembered one.

If I can't honor my favorite film of 2007 for Best Picture, there's no shame in honoring it here.
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Re: Best Cinematography 2007

Postby dws1982 » Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:53 pm

An incredibly strong lineup. I'll have to put some thought into this one, because I could honestly make a case for any of these as the winner.

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Best Cinematography 2007

Postby Big Magilla » Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:34 pm

Here we go...
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