Best Cinematography 1982

1927/28 through 1997

What was the best cinematorgaphy among the 1982 Oscar nominees?

Das Boot (Jost Vacano)
6
35%
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (Allen Daviau)
6
35%
Gandhi (Billy Williams, Ronnie Taylor)
1
6%
Sophie's Choice (Nestor Almendros)
4
24%
Tootsie (Owen Roizman)
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 17

The Original BJ
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Re: Best Cinematography 1982

Postby The Original BJ » Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:39 am

I would concur that Blade Runner merited inclusion here -- its sci-fi noir look has proven incredibly influential over the past few decades.

I guess the thing you'd have to note about Tootsie is that, to its credit, it doesn't look like a sitcom, and some of the New York exteriors (particularly that iconic shot of Michael-as-Dorothy blending in among the throngs of people) have a pleasing vibrancy to them. But I agree that this nomination is basically an add-on to the Best Picture run -- it's just not visually distinct enough to merit much consideration here.

I'll offer a somewhat contradictory take than Mister Tee did on Gandhi in this category -- I actually think this is (along with Best Actor) one of the less objectionable places to recognize it. Not that I would ever go so far as to vote for it, as I generally agree that the visuals, like the movie as a whole, lack much in the way of personality. But it's a handsomely shot epic, with a decent sense of scope.

Sophie's Choice gets a lot of mileage out of the visual contrast between the two worlds it presents: the warm, free-spirited liveliness of postwar New York, and the bleached-out starkness of war-torn Europe. I think the remaining nominees are more ambitious efforts -- much of Sophie's Choice is a more contained chamber drama -- but I can see why it's attracted votes.

Das Boot is quite impressive from a craft standpoint -- the way the camera snakes through the tight quarters of the U-boat settings, finding a ton of variety in the compositions and lighting of a very contained environment, contributes to much of the movie's gripping nature. And the battle scenes are quite vividly captured. A very worthy nominee.

It's possible that childhood nostalgia is swaying me, but I find it hard to vote against E.T. and Elliott's iconic bicycle ride across the moon, a moment of visual storytelling that leaves me with a sense of wonder every time. And the film has plenty of magically shot images throughout, literally from the opening moments, with the flashlight-laden chase sequence as E.T.'s space shuttle takes off, to the beautiful bookend when E.T. says goodbye at the finale. I think all of Allen Daviau's nominations came for impressive work, but this is the place that makes most sense for me to honor him.

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Re: Best Cinematography 1982

Postby Precious Doll » Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:03 am

1982 was one of my most happiest years ever and I always look back over that year with such fondness. The long warm summer of that year spent at the beach and then going to the cinema in the late afternoon and evenings. Such a great time in so many ways. It would be great to relive that period forever in a constant loop. It seems like yesterday.

Film wise it was pretty impressive too.
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Re: Best Cinematography 1982

Postby Mister Tee » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:17 pm

dws1982 wrote:1982...the year of my birth. Which, I don't even want to think about how old I just turned, and instead I'll focus on being in more-or-less the best physical shape of my life, and the fact that I'm about to close on my first home.


You're ahead of me on both those scores...and neither of us want to think about how old I am.

dws1982 wrote:I'd put The Night of the Shooting Stars on my nomination list, but it was a 1983 release in the United States, I think.


Yes -- in fact, it won best picture/director from the National Society in '83.

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Re: Best Cinematography 1982

Postby Big Magilla » Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:32 pm

dws1982 wrote:1982...the year of my birth. Which, I don't even want to think about how old I just turned, and instead I'll focus on being in more-or-less the best physical shape of my life, and the fact that I'm about to close on my first home.

Congrats on that!
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Re: Best Cinematography 1982

Postby dws1982 » Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:09 pm

1982...the year of my birth. Which, I don't even want to think about how old I just turned, and instead I'll focus on being in more-or-less the best physical shape of my life, and the fact that I'm about to close on my first home.

I could be wrong, but this may be the earliest Cinematography lineup where all of the nominees are available on Blu-Ray. Which, for those of us who didn't get to experience these movies firsthand in theaters, I guess that's our best option.

In this category--like Mister Tee--I'm definitely getting a kick out of the fact that we have a close race, which I (at least temporarily) tied by putting Das Boot even with E.T. It definitely does an effective job at evoking the cramped, claustrophobic interiors of those U-Boats, which is maybe made even more striking when you get those occasional glimpses of a larger world. It's a very solid achievement. I think E.T. is a deserving nominee too, and would've been a good winner, although Daviau does have at least two other nominations that I like even more (although I'm not sure if they'll get my vote).

This isn't a bad lineup; I totally get the nominations for Gandhi and Sophie's Choice, even if I wouldn't have made them myself. The Tootsie nomination is the only one that I don't really understand beyond the general popularity of the movie.

I don't know that I have a lot to add to the "should've been nominated" conversation. Blade Runner for sure, and I might put in a word for Missing which is very well-shot, although in a more low-key way than most films usually nominated. I think Poltergeist has some memorable images, but I'm not sure that I would've gone all the way to a nomination with it. I'd put The Night of the Shooting Stars on my nomination list, but it was a 1983 release in the United States, I think.

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Re: Best Cinematography 1982

Postby Mister Tee » Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:46 pm

I have lots of substitutions -- the swoony chic of Diva (does anyone remember that movie, these days?), the literally pre-historic look of Quest for Fire, and the somber tones of The Verdict (a movie whose look far surpassed its script).

The two moments during the ceremony when it became clear Gandhi was going to be not only best picture but a massively crushing winner were this category and screenplay. The latter was utterly unforgivable, but this one came pretty close, too: generic epic sweep, no particular art.

Tootsie was a good-looking, bright comedy, but not the sort for which cinematography prizes are given.

Das Boot was something of an Nominations Morning surprise, racking up many more nods than expected, including here. I presume it got extra points for dealing with the cramped conditions of the U-boat. A worthy enough contender.

E.T. has plenty of beautifully-lit moments -- the famous bike-ride across the moon; pretty much the entire final half-hour. I actually went into the night expecting Daviau to win (as I did in 1991); it's a shame he never took the prize, given the top directors/films with which he worked.

But I go with the NY Critics' winner, Almendros' beautiful work on Sophie's Choice. He finds incredibly rich tones that evoke a time and place -- Brooklyn in the late 40s -- that had its own very specific character. The film has many flaws (most notably Pakulas's tendency to leave shots standing for what seem an eternity), but the two things that make the film worthy to this day are the amazing Streep performance and Almendros' vivid images.

And, hey: we finally have a non-landslide slate!

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Re: Best Cinematography 1982

Postby Precious Doll » Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:41 am

Back in 1983 I would have voted for Sophie's Choice, which looked glorious on the big screen. However, rewatching the film about 3 years ago I was unimpressed with just about every aspect of it. Sure, it looks nice when it needs to but I loathed the film enough to not tick any boxes for it.

I so much preferred other films from 1982 of this lot and so much so I'll abstain from voting.
“Those Koreans. They’re so suspicious, you know, ever since Hiroshima.” Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange) from American Horror Story: Season One

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Best Cinematography 1982

Postby Big Magilla » Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:50 am

I don't see any glaring omissions here, although one could easily make a case for Blade Runner, but that film did receive nods in the two disciplines for which it most deserved them - art direction and visual effects. Its cinematographer, Jordan Cronwnweth, would later receive his only nomination for Peggy Sue Got Married.

The actual nominees were good ones.

I agree with the general consensus that Gandhi was overstuffed with a stodgy screenplay, but its cinematography cannot be faulted. Billy Williams (Women in Love, Sunday Bloody Sunday) was a decent cinematographer who deserved a win for something. Ronnie Taylor had been the camera operator on Barry Lyndon and Star Wars so he was no slouch either. That said, it would not have been my choice.

I think the year's most amazing cinematography was that of Just Vacano within the confines of the WWII German U-Boat in Das Boot. It was his only nomination in a career later highlighted by some interesting work in RoboCop, Total Recall and Starship Troopers.

Hats off to the year's other nominees as well:

E.T. was Allen Daviau's first work for Spielberg, but not his last. He would later receive nominations for The Color Purple and Empire of the Sun, as well as two more for Barry Levinson's Avalon and Bugsy.

Nestor Almendros received his last nomination for Sophie's Choice, probably his best work aside from Days of Heaven, although he should have been nominated for 1984's Places in the Heart as well.

Owen Roizman is, of course, being honored this year for his career work, of which his lensing of Tootsie features some of his best work since The French Connection and The Exorcist.
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