Categories One-by-One: Cinematography

dws1982
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Re: Categories One-by-One: Cinematography

Postby dws1982 » Sat Feb 25, 2017 8:02 pm

Finally saw Lion, which completed this category for me. (Also completed Picture, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, and Adapted Screenplay.) There's still some films and categories I won't be able to complete, but just seeing it put me in a better spot.

I think this is a solid lineup, and even if my vote would go for Silence, the obvious fifth-place, any of the other four would be acceptable winners. As Tee says, Moonlight is the type of movie that gets critics awards for Cinematography, but Oscar voters tend to go for something bigger. The Avatar and Inception wins (plus Gravity, etc.) might tilt you toward Arrival, but visually speaking, Arrival is almost subdued compared to those films. If it were poised to be more than afterthought in the race, it might make a bigger play, but without ASC, BAFTA, or anything major in terms of precursors, I'd put it third, at best, here. Lion, I think, will get most of its votes for the lost-in-Calcutta sequences in the first half, but I think Fraser deserves credit for his work in those later sequences as well, because it's not easy to get visual interest out of scenes of a guy on Google Earth, and I think Fraser pulls it off. Lion does seem to be peaking right now, so maybe it could pull in an award or two. Even so, I'd put Supporting Actor and Adapted Screenplay higher in terms of likelihood.

Like most others, I'm settling on La La Land here. It's got what voters see as degree-of-difficulty points in certain musical numbers ("Another Day of Sun" comes to mind most of all), plus scenes that just look good enough (Planetarium sequence, "City of Stars") for voters to land on it.

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Cinematography

Postby nightwingnova » Sat Feb 25, 2017 6:47 pm

The voters from Brutally Honest Oscar Ballots favor Moonlight. If Moonlight should win, it would be a sign that Oscar voters are becoming more sophisticated.


nightwingnova wrote:Having learned that voters have difficulty voting for good work if they dislike a film, Silence is out.

I agree with Mister Tee that Moonlight doesn't register well with folks usually impressed by the wow factor but less likely to appreciate complex and nuanced visuals.

Again, I'm hearing mixed reactions to Arrival - so its daunting, expansive views and intensely intimate focus on facial emotions is out. Sublime work, though.

I'm narrowly predicting La La over Lion because of the much greater love for the former; and though its cinematography is nuanced for most of the film, the visuals are bright and moving unlike the down beats of Moonlight.

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Cinematography

Postby nightwingnova » Sat Feb 25, 2017 5:11 pm

Having learned that voters have difficulty voting for good work if they dislike a film, Silence is out.

I agree with Mister Tee that Moonlight doesn't register well with folks usually impressed by the wow factor but less likely to appreciate complex and nuanced visuals.

Again, I'm hearing mixed reactions to Arrival - so its daunting, expansive views and intensely intimate focus on facial emotions is out. Sublime work, though.

I'm narrowly predicting La La over Lion because of the much greater love for the former; and though its cinematography is nuanced for most of the film, the visuals are bright and moving unlike the down beats of Moonlight.

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Cinematography

Postby Mister Tee » Thu Feb 23, 2017 3:34 pm

On nominations day, I had a sense La La Land could sweep through the main techs the way Titanic and The English Patent did. The only thing that shook me from that thesis was the BAFTA outcome -- BAFTA has predicted the Academy choice in tech categories to a startling degree in recent years, and they were very sparing in giving below-the-line prizes to La La.

But even they gave it cinematography. Honestly, I think the twilit sky over the pier during City of Stars won this award single-handedly.

But BJ is correct: we've discounted the ASC choice in the past (notably/recently 2010), so we can't just cast Lion aside.

Would that they'd picked Arrival instead, for its daringly gloomy look. I'd be much happier with an upset there.

I think Moonlight has the kind of cinematography more likely to win critics' prizes than score with Oscar voters. Not enough of the pretty.

I'm heavily expecting La La Land, but BJ has persuaded me to be expectant when this envelope is opened.

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Cinematography

Postby Big Magilla » Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:56 am

I'm looking at this one from a different perspective.

Of the thirteen possible wins for La La Land, I'm thinking it's only going to win seven, but Best Cinematography seems to me to be one of its strongest categories. That opening sequence catches the eye more than any other sequence in any other nominee. That is likely to be enough for most voters.

If there is an upset, I would think Moonlight, Lion or Arrival would take it in that order.

Moonlight is going to win Adapted Screenplay if nothing else. Those looking to throw a bone to Lion have Best Supporting Actor and those looking to throw one to Arrival have Best Sound Editing.

Conspicuous by their absence are ACE drama nominees Hacksaw Ridge and Hell or High Water, which edged out Silence and Lion, allowing Arrival to win. The fifth nominee, Manchester by the Sea, was probably nominated for their drama award because La La Land was nominated for comedy, which it won. Hacksaw Ridge's likeliest shot at a win is Best Sound Mixing, which could finally earn Kevin O'Connell an Oscar on his 21st nomination. Hell or High Water is likely to go home empty-handed unless Jeff Bridges pulls off a surprise second acting win.
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Categories One-by-One: Cinematography

Postby The Original BJ » Thu Feb 23, 2017 2:02 am

If there's one category where my take seems most off from the general consensus of the race, it's this one. For many people, they're putting this prize in ink for La La Land, and brushing off any further discussion. (Well, we're at the point in the year where a lot of people are declaring nearly every category locked, which annually strikes me as crazy, given how much wiggle room there always is.)

This isn't to say that La La Land couldn't very well win as part of a down-ballot sweep for the movie. It's certainly qualified -- that opening one-take wonder is a wow, the star-lit Griffith Observatory dance is lovely, and the sunset on the pier gives off an almost painterly glow.

But it's worth noting that the film hasn't exactly dominated Cinematography prizes this year, and given the overall strength of the movies nominated alongside it, I think there's a decent chance something else ends up the victor. (It almost feels like the inverse of the Costume Design race -- whereas nothing there feels like a winner, almost everything here does.)

And that ASC loss, especially, sticks out. Looking back through the last decade or so, there have been plenty of races where the guild prize went to an offbeat choice, and then the Oscar went to something more central to the Best Picture race. Skyfall was just an ASC bump en route to the Oscar we all assumed would go to Life of Pi, The White Ribbon was clearly too outre for an Academy that would rally behind Avatar, and A Very Long Engagement was just too minor a film to upset the down-ballot Oscar dominance of The Aviator.

BUT...there are also a few cases where the ASC winner provided more of a clue to the eventual Oscar winner than we thought. The year Inception won ASC, most pundits predicted the Oscar would finally go to Deakins for True Grit, only to see Inception repeat its victory. And many people bet on Best Picture nominees Brokeback Mountain or Good Night, and Good Luck in that year, assuming Memoirs of a Geisha would have to be content with Production/Costume Design prizes, but that repeated its ASC victory as well.

AND...there are also years when the ASC winner was a widely-nominated Best Picture candidate that could have easily carried over to the Oscars -- Seabiscuit and The Thin Red Line certainly fit this bill -- only to have Oscar make a lateral move to another widely-nominated movie (in those cases, Master and Commander and Saving Private Ryan).

All of this is to say, this year's ASC winner strikes me as a candidate that's still very much in the hunt -- foreign landscapes have often carried movies to victory here, and the first portion of Lion provides those in spades. The moment with Saroo and the butterflies seems like one of the most traditionally "pretty" sequences of photography in any of these films.

But the other Best Picture nominees aren't weak candidates either. Moonlight swept through the critics' prizes, and it practically reminds viewers of its cinematography credentials with its title, as numerous key scenes (the beach tryst, the diner reunion) take place under beautifully captured moon glow. And with eight nominations, it's clear voters are fond of the movie, and might want to find a place down-ballot to reward it too.

Also with eight nominations, Arrival! There was a run a few years back -- Avatar, Inception, Hugo, Life of Pi, and Gravity -- where the Cinematography Oscar consistently went to the big effects picture, and Arrival, with its stark images of those pods floating in air, and the evocatively lit interiors in the alien communication scenes, could very well follow in those films' footsteps. Arrival is another movie that seems clearly well-liked, and voters might be looking for a place to make sure it goes home with something.

The only nominee that seems totally out of the race is Silence. I think there's no reason to think that this film, however impressive some of those foggy sequences and ostentatious overhead shots might be, will take its one nomination all the way to the podium.

So, in conclusion...not making a prediction just yet. It could very easily be La La Land, as everyone has predicted. But, the last musical to win Best Picture that was widely predicted to sweep the Oscars missed here, and the competition just seems too strong to my eyes to bet the farm on any one candidate just yet.


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