The nominees are:
Blade Runner 2049, Roger Deakins
Darkest Hour, Bruno Delbonnel
Dunkirk, Hoyte von Hoytema
Mudbound, Rachel Morrison
The Shape of Water, Dan Laustsen
This is, I think, one of the more interesting categories this year and quite hotly contested. We can, I think, safely eliminate Darkest Hour. Yes, Bruno Delbonnel has grown into an Academy favorite but I doubt Darkest Hour is gonna make much headway in anything apart from Actor and Makeup.
Then we have Dunkirk and The Shape of Water, two Best Picture nominees that fit the profile of technical juggernauts, the type that can sweep the below-the-line categories with ease. Both have plentiful elements that fit the profile of past winners in this category. I bet the tech categories will largely be a battle between these two films. One of them could certainly take it.
HOWEVER, the two other nominees though not Best Picture-nominees, certainly have excellent chances to take the prize. Blade Runner 2049 is Roger Deakins' 14th Oscar nomination without a single win. He is deeply admired within the industry and also among cinephiles as one of the greatest working cinematographers and it's ridiculous he still doesn't have a statue. Then we have Mudbound which sees the history-making nomination of Rachel Morrison, the first female to ever be nominated in this category. She's getting extra attention as a nominee because of that factoid. Add to that the #MeToo/#TimesUp women's rights movement that's happening PLUS she also lensed the big Marvel blockbuster movie Black Panther which will be released during voting period, she's certainly a formidable contender. Both Deakins and Morrison, beyond the extenuating factors surrounding them. actually. IMO at least, both deliver exemplary win-worthy work in their respective nominated films.
Despite what the ASC Awards may say, I think this is one Oscar category that will be a nailbiter until the envelop is opened. It's a genuine four-way race.
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