Best Cinemaqtography 1969

1927/28 through 1997

What was the best Oscar nominee for Best Cinematography of 1969?

Anne of the Thousand Days (Arthur Ibbetson)
0
No votes
Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (Charles Lang)
2
12%
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Conrad L. Hall)
13
76%
Hello, Dolly! (Harry Stradling, Sr.)
2
12%
Marooned (Daniel L. Fapp)
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 17

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Precious Doll
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Re: Best Cinemaqtography 1969

Postby Precious Doll » Tue Jun 20, 2017 7:47 am

I must admit that one of the qualms I have about voting in the cinematography category is that I have only viewed some of the films on video tape which really does any film a visual disservice. Thank goodness DVD/Blu Ray came along so people can now see them better at home than ever before.

Voted for Butch Cassidy, which ironically was the only film of the 5 that I have actually seen on the big screen.
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Re: Best Cinemaqtography 1969

Postby FilmFan720 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:28 pm

This is as uninspiring a group of nominees as this category has ever put together. It is a series of genre films that tend to sparkle when shot well -- period dramas, musicals, westerns, and a space adventure -- but there is little interesting going on in any of these films. I voted for Butch Cassidy, a film I like less than many others but certainly has a visual personality that is lacking in the competition.
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Re: Best Cinemaqtography 1969

Postby Mister Tee » Sun Jun 18, 2017 5:23 pm

These years have turned out surprisingly uninteresting to write about.

I guess Once Upon a Time in the West would have to be noted for its look, though I find the movie fairly boring -- somehow both slow-moving and sometimes over-cut. My vote among non-nominees would be squarely for The Wild Bunch, if only for that glorious frozen-moment-in-time shot of the bridge just about to collapse.

Hello, Dolly! -- Marooned -- Anne of a Thousand Days...the fact that the last of them would be my favorite of the batch tells you how highly I rate the group as a whole. Three big white elephants that couldn't have been more out of step with moviegoers' taste at the time. (Though, to be fair, they probably WERE in line with popular taste when they were greenlighted a few years earlier. Things changed FAST in the 60s.)

Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice did have a solid visual style, which prevented it looking like just a series of sketches (or, worse, a sitcom). The Esalen opening told us we were in a strange new world, even the wealthy LA interiors had a distinctive feel to them, and the Fellini-esque finale is also memorable.

But Butch Cassidy is easily the most impressive entry here, starting with its then-unique decision to desaturate the colors from the opening sequence, and continuing through its finding a different look for its multiple locales. The film isn't to be taken very seriously overall -- it's history retold as a series of one-liners -- but Conrad Hall provided its most praiseworthy element, and his win was deserved.

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Re: Best Cinemaqtography 1969

Postby dws1982 » Sat Jun 17, 2017 11:45 am

This era is tough for me because there's usually one obscurity that I missed. And in some cases, another one that I intentionally have put off. Such a weird category for so long.

Once Upon A Time In the West and Z would've made for great nominees, but I guess they probably didn't have a very good shot, even with Z getting several other nominations. They Shoot Horses, Don't They? probably had a better shot, and it wouldn't have been a bad nominee, and The Wild Bunch would've been a great nominee too.

Definitely think Butch Cassidy is the quality nominee of the three I've seen, but it's not something I'm going to vote on, obviously.

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Re: Best Cinemaqtography 1969

Postby Reza » Fri Jun 16, 2017 10:46 am

1. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
2. Anne of the Thousand Days
3. Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice
4. Marooned
5. Hello Dolly

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Re: Best Cinemaqtography 1969

Postby Big Magilla » Wed Jun 14, 2017 9:08 pm

Snick's Guy wrote:I meant to vote for butch - but accidentally hit bcta on my iPad by mistake

You can easily change your vote by clicking next to Butch. It will automatically take away your vote from Bob & co.
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Re: Best Cinemaqtography 1969

Postby Snick's Guy » Wed Jun 14, 2017 8:32 pm

I meant to vote for butch - but accidentally hit bcta on my iPad by mistake

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Re: Best Cinemaqtography 1969

Postby Greg » Wed Jun 14, 2017 3:44 pm

Big Magilla wrote:Haskell Wexler had won an Oscar for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, then was ignored for In the Heat of the Night and again for Medium Cool, his first feature film as a director. His deft mix of actual footage of the street riots surrounding the 1968 Democratic national convention and fictional story was a sit-up-and-take-notice event in 1969.


This really should have brought nominations to Wexler for his directing as well as for the cinematography and especially the film editing. Interestingly, Verna Fields, Medium Cool's editor, would go on to be recognized with a nomination for American Graffiti and a win for Jaws.
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Re: Best Cinemaqtography 1969

Postby The Original BJ » Wed Jun 14, 2017 1:56 pm

This slate leaves an awful lot to be desired.

Had it been an option, I'd probably rank Once Upon a Time in the West the highest -- every frame of that movie is just filled to the brim with interesting details as far as the eye can see, making for a fairly heavenly visual experience. But I get that that film wasn't as appreciated in its time as it is now, and that some other worthy efforts (The Wild Bunch, Medium Cool) were also a bit further afield from the central Oscar conversation. It makes a lot less sense that some widely nominated candidates with impressive photography (Midnight Cowboy, Z, They Shoot Horses) still couldn't make a run here.

Hello, Dolly! may well be the nadir of the sixties roadshow musical, and a big reason why is that it just wasn't mounted with any visual spark whatsoever. But maybe even that's too generous -- Funny Girl is at least cinematically competent, if uninspired. Hello, Dolly! is shot like no one even realized what genre this is, as if letting the camera just sit there awkwardly the whole time could possibly be the right approach for a lively musical comedy.

Anne of the Thousand Days is a bit less uncomfortable -- you at least get the sense the filmmakers achieved what they were aiming for, which is a monarchy drama mounted with as much pretty pageantry as possible. Of course, the end result isn't necessarily what I was aiming for out of an ideal viewing experience, and I find the camerawork, like the film as a whole, stodgy and uninspired.

Marooned is the second Sturges/Fapp collaboration to be nominated here in as many years, and I guess I'd characterize this as the slightly more responsible younger brother of Ice Station Zebra. Which is to say, it's still not really my thing, and it takes a while to get going, but I at least found the last half decently suspenseful. Some of the outer space shots are eye-catching enough to suggest a more primitive version of Gravity...but too much of the photography is on the ho-hum side, and after 2001 set the bar for space sagas so dazzlingly high, it's hard for this not to pale by comparison.

Simply by virtue of being one of the few films on this list with some cinematic personality, I guess I'd have to rank Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice in second, though this is a curious place to recognize that movie, which is far more of an acting/writing showcase than a photographic one. There are images throughout that effectively help set the mood, from the ethereal wellness retreat at the opening to the garish casino outing near the end, but nothing to kick this into win territory.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is by far the best choice. Its portrait of the American West is gorgeous in the classic sense, but with just enough modern elegance to signal that the genre was headed toward new territory than even the westerns of the mid-sixties would suggest. The interiors are full of evocative, smoky shadows, and the exteriors pop with beautifully captured landscapes, with numerous shots (the entire train sequence but especially the explosion, the plunge into the river, the final freeze frame) that are memorable both for the aesthetics of the images but also their role in propelling the energy of the story. Sometimes the obvious choice is the worthiest.

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Best Cinemaqtography 1969

Postby Big Magilla » Wed Jun 14, 2017 3:19 am

There was an infusion of new blood in the Academy membership at the 1969 awards, but apparently not in the membership of the cinematographer's branch where exciting and innovative cinematography was ignored in favor of nominating veterans well past their prime.

Arthur Ibbetson had photographed some of the best British films of the 1950s and early 1960s, Tunes of Glory and Whistle Down the Wind among them, and would later photograph the under-rated 1984 version of The Bounty, but most of his career was spent photographing routine to bad films, among which Universal's creaky Anne of the Thousand Days was one of the worst. The cinematography wasn't bad, but there was nothing award-worthy about it any more than there was anything award-worthy about most of the film's other 9 nominations. It's a shame it was his only nomination, but it was totally undeserved.

Charles Lang won his only Oscar for 1932's A Farewell to Arms. Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice was his seventeenth of eighteen nominations, some of which included deserved nods for Some Like It Hot and How the West Was Won, but there was nothing award worthy about this pleasant at best caper.

The great Harry Stradling, Sr. was nominated posthumously for the 14th time for the clunker that was the film version of Hello, Dolly!. His past glories included wins for The Picture of Dorian Gray and My Fair Lady and nominations for A Streetcar Named Desire and Auntie Mame, but there was nothing here that deserved a nod.

Daniel L. Fapp had been around since the 1940s but didn't attract awards recognition until the late 1950s, then reached his peak with West Side Story. Marooned provided his second unworthy nomination in two years, following Ice Station Zebra the year before.

Conrad L. Hall had been around since the late 1950s and received his fourth nomination for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid following his brilliant work on In Cold Blood for which he had been nominated two years earlier. His was the only acceptable choice and an easy winner in such company, but there were better choices.

No 1969 film had more striking cinematography than Midnight Cowboy, but the credit was all given to director John Schlesinger and not to first-time cinematographer Adam Holender.

Haskell Wexler had won an Oscar for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, then was ignored for In the Heat of the Night and again for Medium Cool, his first feature film as a director. His deft mix of actual footage of the street riots surrounding the 1968 Democratic national convention and fictional story was a sit-up-and-take-notice event in 1969.

Ditto Miroslav Ondricek's stunning work on Lindsay Anderson's If..... He would eventually earn Oscar nods for Ragtime and Amadeus, but here is where he should have first been singled out.

Gerry Turpin won a BAFTA for Oh! What a Lovely War, Richard Attenborough's directorial debut and far and away the best film he would ever direct. Turpin's cinematography opened up the jukebox musical and gave it a haunting look throughout.

Pasquale De Santis, who won an Oscar for 1968's Romeo & Juliet and Armondo Nanuzzi shared credit for the cinematography on Luchino Visconti's The Damned and should have shared an Oscar nomination as well.

Don't like my alternate picks? Then what about Z, The Wild Bunch, They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, Once Upon a Time in the West and Adalen 31 or five other films? With so much to choose from, it's a sad commentary on the cinematograhers' branch that they nominated what they did in this great year for film.
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