Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Drive are my two strong substitutions. (In the latter case, I close to hated the film, but couldn't deny its visual panache.)
War Horse was, I suppose, pretty but, like the film overall, it left me wondering, to what end? My general feeling about the film is that Spielberg went into it without really knowing why he was making it, and left it the same way. It's hard to generate notable work with a lack of focus, and the same goes for Kaminski's work.
The Artist is the only black and white film of this era for which none of us has show much support, which I guess is a statement. I feel about the camera work in the film much as I do about the film overall: it's a nifty little thing, worth a look, but not long-lasting in the memory.
I'm bigger on Fincher's version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo than most others here. I think it's a vast improvement on the Swedish version, and, while cinematography is not as strong a contributor to the film's general strength as, say, the editing, Cronenweth's work is very solid and noteworthy.
Hugo is, as I've said here many times, one of the great visual marvels of this millennium -- but most of the achievement can be credited to the production design team. Richardson's work was hardly dismissable -- in many years, it'd be a completely unobjectionable choice. But here its win was a letdown.
Because The Tree of Life was just working on another level. Many of Malick's films, for me, are too ethereal, too inward-directed to reach an audience.. But here he found a perfect balance -- off in art-land, but with a firm hold on reality that made his film moving as well as gorgeous. And Lubezki's cinematography seems a full partner in that achievement. The film offers many spectacular images, but they don't seem pretty-for-pretty's-sake -- they are deeply felt images that convey feeling related to the "family and how it grows" narrative. This was an emotionally powerful film, one told mostly through pictures. Lubezki's sensational work is vital to that effort, and far and away the best work seen that year, if not in the entire decade.