Best Cinematography 2017

Of the 2017 Oscar nominees for Best Cinematography, which was best?

Blade Runner 2049 (Roger Deakins)
Darkest Hour (Bruno Delbonnel)
No votes
Dunkirk (Hoyte Van Hoytema)
Mudbound (Rachel Morrison)
The Shape of Water (Dan Lausten)
Total votes: 21

The Original BJ
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Re: Best Cinematography 2017

Postby The Original BJ » Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:14 pm

The Lost City of Z would be my top alternate; I also think Call Me By Your Name and The Florida Project would have been perfectly praise-worthy as well. And I'm not sure what quite to do with Phantom Thread -- even PTA seems to admit he isn't a cinematographer in the traditional sense, which is why he didn't take a credit -- but it's a beautifully shot movie nonetheless. A very strong year.

Precious Doll's use of the word "dusty" is actually a great way to describe Darkest Hour -- it wasn't without visual flourish, but I didn't always feel that was in service of the material (those overhead shots just get distracting), and some of the images do have a stale, musty quality to them.

I did see Mudbound in a theater, and I was happy I did, because the film was such a visually lyrical work, capturing the weather and landscape of the film's Mississippi environment with real authenticity. A very solid nominee.

I also splurged for Dunkirk in IMAX, and similarly felt the decision was worth it -- the movie's visual scope is undeniable, but there's also some real beautiful artistry in even the more quiet shots (like the opening image of the men walking through the empty town, papers flying around them). In a weaker year, it might have had an easy path to the trophy.

The tough thing about a poll like this is that it doesn't always reflect our levels of enthusiasm for the candidates we didn't choose. Because I bet most of us wouldn't have rated this race Blade Runner by a blow-out, not with a film as visually entrancing as The Shape of Water on the ballot. I found the film's mash-up of photographic influences hugely appealing -- it has the look of a classic sci-fi thriller by way of a Sirk melodrama -- and it would have been a perfectly acceptable winner.

But like most, I voted for Deakins, both as career tribute but also on merit. Blade Runner 2049 was full of stunning images, creating a majestic world that felt of a piece with the earlier film while providing a singular look that was all its own. I echo what Mister Tee wrote in his review -- that it almost got ridiculous just how many stunningly-lit set pieces we were treated to throughout the course of the film's running time. One of Deakins's top achievements, and if he had to wait this long to win, this was nonetheless a thoroughly deserving time for him to have done so.

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Best Cinematography 2017

Postby Mister Tee » Mon Oct 01, 2018 2:53 pm

It's been hard to work up the energy to discuss something so near in the rear-view mirror, but, briefly:

Call Me by Your Name and The Lost City of Z would have been splendid substitutes, but the slate isn't blemished in any way. As much as I don't care for Darkest Hour, Bruno Delbonnel always makes a solid contribution.

Like most, I only saw Mudbound on a home screen, but Rachel Morrison's work was impressive even there. The barrier-breaker got there on merit.

Mid-summer, you have to figure van Hoytema thought he was on his way to an Oscar -- an acclaimed war film with some dazzling aerial shots would be an easy winner many years. This may be the strongest third-place finisher ever.

In all honesty, both The Shape of Water and Blade Runner 2049 could have swept cinematography/production design without serious argument: both created unique universes and provided rich visual detail/splendor. A split seemed a Solomon-like decision, and, because of Deakins' storied history, I'm of course hugely happy it went the way it did. I'll leave it that way -- but with a hat tip to Laustsen, and a wish that a make-up Oscar awaits him somewhere down the line.

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Re: Best Cinematography 2017

Postby FilmFan720 » Sun Sep 23, 2018 3:50 pm

Sabin wrote:I would not have guessed that this race would be unanimous.

Sorry, I just ruined that! Although Blade Runner is a close second, after my choice Mudbound, and I’m happy Dealins won finally and for something worthy.

My other nominees would be Florida Project, Darkest Hour, and War for the Planet of the Apes.
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Re: Best Cinematography 2017

Postby dws1982 » Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:57 am

Blade Runner 2049, although I would rate Dunkirk a very close second.

My picks for the year:
1- The Lost City of Z
2- A Cure For Wellness
3- Blade Runner 2049
4- Dunkirk
5- Phantom Thread

I would rate Mudbound as a very worthy nominee, and I think Call Me By Your Name, Good Time, and the underrated Thank You For Your Service would've all been deserving as well.

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Re: Best Cinematography 2017

Postby Sabin » Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:45 pm

I would not have guessed that this race would be unanimous.
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Re: Best Cinematography 2017

Postby Precious Doll » Wed Sep 19, 2018 12:44 pm

I voted for Blade Runner 2049 but I feel The Shape of Water is a very close second. Dunkirk and Mudbound were also very worthy nominees. Its such a shame that almost everyone has only had the opportunity to Rachel Morrison's beautiful cinematography on a small screen. Thanks Netflix :evil:

What the hell that ugly dusty lensing of Darkest Hour is doing in the list of nominees is a mystery.

Omissions: See You Up There, Phantom Thread, The Lost City of Z, Call Me By Your Name, Kedi, Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, Wonderstruck, Summer 1993, Vazante & Loveless.
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Re: Best Cinematography 2017

Postby Big Magilla » Wed Sep 19, 2018 10:50 am

I cast my vote for the so far unanimous choice of Blade Runner 2049.

I thought, perhaps, that some who voted for Deakins earlier might want to spread the wealth but that's apparently not the case.

Dunkirk would be my second choice.

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Best Cinematography 2017

Postby Sabin » Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:43 am

And here we are. Any lineup that includes Darkest Hour can’t be put on the list of the great, but a historic grouping for at least a couple of reasons. One of them is the inclusive of Rachel Morrison for Mudbound. Her cinematography utilizing shallow depth of field is the most interesting aspect of this too lumbering an adaptation.

Earlier in the year, it looked as though Hoyte van Hoytema might win for Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan’s crosscutting World War II film shot on IMAX. The best I can say for Van Hoytema is that he executes Nolan’s vision well. There aren’t images that leap to one’s mind like The Dark Knight or evoke the unknowable like Interestellar, but it’s fine execution of a vision I didn’t particularly care for.

This award was always going to be between Blade Runner 2049 and The Shape of Water and thank God it went the way it did. While I prefer Skyfall overall, Blade Runner 2049 is a smorgasbord of stunning imagery. Although I don’t think this was a film we ultimately needed, there are minutes on end I will never forget. I had written down Dan Lausten as my predicted winner until the morning of the nomination because, hey! A Guillermo Del Toro period-fantasy upset a dystopian future before in this category. And The Shape of Water is certainly very lovely to look at. I would argue it was lovelier to look at the first time I saw it when it was Amelie.

It’s hard to guess which film might sneak in and past what. While Darkest Hour certainly looks like the weakest nominee, it’s not hard to imagine Academy voters not “getting” Mudbound. But the likeliest contenders to do so might be Ben Davis who grabbed a BAFTA nomination for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri for its strong framing and lovely sense of time of day. I think Call Me By Your Name’s Sayombhu Mukdeeprom might be likelier for evoking those gorgeous summer days in Italy.
"Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough." ~ FDR

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