Best Cinematography 1993

1927/28 through 1997

Which of the nominated films of 1993 had the best cinematography?

Farewell My Concubine (Changwei Gu)
2
13%
The Fugitive (Michael Chapman)
0
No votes
The Piano (Stuart Dryburgh)
4
25%
Schindler's List (Janusz Kaminski)
10
63%
Searching for Bobby Fischer (Conrad L. Hall)
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 16

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Re: Best Cinematography 1993

Postby Big Magilla » Fri Apr 06, 2018 7:31 pm

Voted for Schindler's List.

The Piano and Farewell My Concubine were also worthy contenders. In fact, I'd go far as to say the cinematography was the strongest component of both those films.

My choices for the other two slots would be The Remains of the Day and The Age of Innocence, but some of the film mentioned by others such as Blue and The Secret Garden were good choices as well. The cinematography of both Searching for Bobby Fischer and The Fugitive was certainly competent, but I didn't find anything in either film that would compel me to give them even runner-up status.
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Re: Best Cinematography 1993

Postby Mister Tee » Fri Apr 06, 2018 4:24 pm

The Original BJ wrote:P.S. Mister Tee, I would still be interested in reading your thoughts on the '92 race, if you still have time/interest in chiming in on that thread from way back.

There's a minor story involved as to why I haven't so far. Will try to get to it this weekend.

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Re: Best Cinematography 1993

Postby Sabin » Fri Apr 06, 2018 12:37 am

There was a time when I was torn as to which film deserved to win, The Piano or Schindler's List. I think the reason is it became easy to dismiss the choice Steven Spielberg made to shoot in black and white. But it's so much more than that. Not since the fucking shark has Steven Spielberg paid more attention to how he is filming a character as Oskar Schindler -- and justly so. This character owes just as much to Liam Neeson's excellent performance as the visual choices in the film. They shoot him as a movie star. They hold him in silhouette. I've never understood how Janusz Kaminski (whose prior credits included the most straight to video films you've ever heard of) managed to earn Steven Spielberg's trust to shoot this project, but I happily take this opportunity to honor one of the most fruitful and evolving collaborations in film history.
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Re: Best Cinematography 1993

Postby The Original BJ » Thu Apr 05, 2018 10:47 pm

The Age of Innocence is the most obvious omission -- that's a simply gorgeously shot film. But it was such a strong year there were plenty of other good also-rans, most of which have been listed -- The Remains of the Day, The Secret Garden, Blue, A Perfect World.

The Fugitive is muscularly shot, and its sense of visual scope probably went a long way in helping the movie feel like a movie, and not just big-screen television. But it's not nearly artful enough a contender to win.

Searching for Bobby Fischer is the kind of good-in-general movie that it's nice to see rewarded with at least one Oscar nomination for the books. And it's a solidly photographed effort -- Conrad Hall deserves a good deal of the credit for making a film about chess so visually dynamic. But it's another nominee that just doesn't wow enough to get into win territory.

We've gotten into a period where East Asian cinema was really soaring, and most of these films looked stunning. Farewell, My Concubine is definitely on the bloated side -- at some point, you start to wonder just how many historical events you need to see its characters live through -- but it looks great. The scenes of history are shot with majestic scope, and the theatrical sequences are beautifully lit and composed. A solid nominee.

For me, it comes down to the year's two big behemoths, and in many other years this decade, I'd have gone easily for The Piano, with its splendidly evocative images. So many shots from the film have become iconic -- the piano on the beach, Paquin dancing in the surf, the finger chop, the entire climactic sequence culminating in that slow motion shot of Hunter emerging from the water. You can practically feel the weather and the elements throughout the film, and the way the cinematography captures the environment of this specific place with such artistry is a major achievement.

But I don't see any reason to take the prize away from Schindler's List. The images in Spielberg's film have burned into my memory in a manner that makes them feel less like shots from a movie, and more like pictures that are no different than the actual images of the Holocaust I've experienced in books and museums. And yet, for all of the film's docudrama-style realism, the photography is clearly the work of a visual artist as well -- the scenes of Schindler's society life, the evacuation of the ghetto, the chaos of the camps, and the memorable shots of the red coated girl, are all photographed with a precise starkness that delivers maximum emotional impact. Balancing this blend of cinema verite with expressive stylization is no easy feat -- that Kaminski pulled it off so well while tackling such tremendous subject matter makes him easily worthy of the year's top cinematography honors.

P.S. Mister Tee, I would still be interested in reading your thoughts on the '92 race, if you still have time/interest in chiming in on that thread from way back.

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Re: Best Cinematography 1993

Postby dws1982 » Thu Apr 05, 2018 8:58 pm

I'd add Blue, which should've been eligible (it was nominated for a few Golden Globes, which usually has the same eligibility as the Oscars). Also, John Duigan's underrated Wide Sargasso Sea. I don't know that I would go all the way to a nomination for it, but Gettysburg has a handful of visually arresting moments and well-shot battle scenes. A Perfect World is another very well-shot Eastwood/Green collaboration, but I think the films that they bookended it with have even more impressive cinematography.

I'd go for Schindler's List easily out of the nominees here, but it really is a strong lineup for a strong year.

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Re: Best Cinematography 1993

Postby Mister Tee » Thu Apr 05, 2018 4:36 pm

1993 was a bountiful year in pretty much every respect, so it's not surprising we have a mostly very strong slate. My most-lamented omissions are ones people have already cited -- The Age of Innocence and The Secret Garden -- though I'd also throw in Fearless, which had some indelible images.

It's hard to ever begrudge Michael Chapman a nomination, but it feels ridiculous for him to score for this clean-but-perfunctory effort while missing for Taxi Driver.

The nomination for Searching for Bobby Fischer indicated that cronyism was still alive and well in the branch, as Conrad Hall became the latter-day William A. Fraker. But at least his nominated work, including here, was consistently solid, even noteworthy, if not quite prize-worthy.

I found Farewell, My Concubine a pretty tiresome movie in general (every time someone intoned "Why must the concubine die?", I felt like shouting back ""Because she's a symbol!"). But, as in many of the Asian works nominated in this category over recent decades, the visuals are ravishing. A commendable nominee.

Unless I'm forgetting something, Schindler's List is the only black-and-white film to win this prize since the elimination of the separate categories in 1967. I wouldn't dispute that Schindler is impressively well-shot, but I don't think it's of the transcendent level of such black-and-whiters as Manhattan, The Man Who Wasn't There or Good Night and Good Luck. Which is to say, I think its ability to win here (while the others lost, or failed to even be nominated) was based more on its association with a best picture juggernaut than its singular achievement. I don't sneer at its victory, but my own vote goes elsewhere.

Those who've followed along through these many categories may recall I'm not an overall fan of The Piano, and they may thus be surprised to hear me say I'm voting for it here. I've always found The Piano a wildly overrated film...but that's largely because I've always found its mail order bride/hired hand plot wildly derivative (from They Knew What They Wanted/The Most Happy Fella, Wild is the Wind, even sort of Desire Under the Elms), its exaltation of of the noble-savage natives a colonialist embarrassment, and its heavy-handed symbolism worthy of an over-zealous poetry major. However...in my view, Jane Campion's direction partly rescued the film simply by the power and beauty of her images. Dryburgh's cinematography was a key element there, and it gets my vote. I can't do anything about the fact that the film won for, by me, its most egregious element -- its screenplay -- but I can offset that by citing its most impressive facet.

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Re: Best Cinematography 1993

Postby Precious Doll » Wed Apr 04, 2018 2:55 am

This is a really impressive line-up for a really impressive year in general.

Even the nomination for Bobby Fischer was understandable and there is no reason why a small scale drama can't look great, which Bobby Fischer did.

Though a strong line-up my choice was an easy one: The Piano, Jane Campion's highly original work that is exemplary in every respect. I waited it a few months ago for the first time in years and it's lost none of it's power and of course, looked great.

Some other notable omissions were Map of the Human Heart (from another New Zealand director), Shadowlands, The Secret Garden & Three Colours: Blue (which probably wasn't eligible until 1994).
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Re: Best Cinematography 1993

Postby Reza » Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:33 pm

Three of the films on the list have outstanding cinematography - Farewell, My Concubine, The Piano and Schindler's List.

I'm surprised The Age of Innocence (Michael Balhaus) and The Remains of the Day (Tony Pierce Roberts) missed out.

Also very good were The Scent of Green Papaya (Benoît Delhomme), The Secret Garden (Roger Deakins) and Sleepless in Seattle (Sven Nykvist).

Voted for Farewell, My Concubine.

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Re: Best Cinematography 1993

Postby mlrg » Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:32 pm

Voted for Schindler’s List.

The Age of Innocence should have been nominated

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Best Cinematography 1993

Postby Big Magilla » Tue Apr 03, 2018 1:46 pm

We're back!

I suspect the actual winner is one most of us will agree with, but what about the nominees? What should have been nominated and wasn't?
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