Mister Tee wrote
So glad Pulp Fiction didn't get a nomination. I haven't watched the film since it's cinema release but there was nothing visually impressive about it as I recall.
How'd my name get in there attached to Precious Doll's quote?
I'm not quite sure why everybody's so lament-y about Ed Wood. I thought its critics' sweep was pretty much a "we just LOVE black-and-white" endorsement; I didn't see it as among the more special uses of the format.
I do agree on Heavenly Creatures (I was for Peter Jackson before it was cool), and will endorse Sabin's expectation that Interview with the Vampire would have made the cut. Vampire -- a $100 million grosser, not so common that year among serious movies -- seemed in line for at least multiple below-the-line nods (cinematography, art direction, costumes, make-up, maybe score), but got only the one, suggesting a real animus toward the film. (It might well have won make-up, if cited.)
I also never felt Pulp Fiction was visually memorable. If another best picture contender was to be squeezed in, Quiz Show was more notable.
The three-hour-ness of Wyatt Earp kept me from watching the film until just a few months ago, in prep for this discussion. It's hard to know just what the idea behind the film was -- being revisionist, certainly, but that mainly amounted to making Wyatt a snarly, ornery cuss for much of the running time, and reducing the legendary gunfight to a back alley exchange of gunfire. (That was the OK Corral? Why did it even have a name?) Roizman has some pretty shots, but in the service of little.
I guess Sabin makes a decent point that Gump, with its visual effects trickery, would have been in the mode of late aughts/early teens winners, but at the time I didn't even consider it as a possibility. I've always landed in the middle of the bi-polar reactions to the film, neither loving nor reviling it, but as a visual matter I didn't think it showed any distinction.
Legends of the Fall was another "I called it!" for me back in that era, and BJ is correct, it seemed right in the mode of recent winner A River Runs Through It. (Only, a bigger financial success.) It was easily the more impressive of John Toll's back-to-back wins, but miles short of the achievement for which he SHOULD have won a few years down the pile.
ASC got aboard the Deakins bandwagon way early by choosing him here. I don't think Shawshank should be dismissed cavalierly here -- there are some famous shots, and the film has an impressive look overall. I'm not voting for it, but I honor its work.
Like most, though, I've found it an easy choice to go with Red. The Three Colors trilogy is, in the end, a major achievement, and Red is much of the reason (Blue is a decent but maybe second-tier art film; White is surprisingly prosaic, though engaging -- yet I was glad I'd seen the other two prior to seeing the culminating work that is Red). I haven't seen the film in almost a quarter-century, and my memories of it are shimmery -- the feelings it evoked are fresher in my mind than much about the plot. And, as BJ recounts, the visuals are very much a reason for this -- you have a sense of Kieslowski and Sobocinski working hand-in-hand to create a near-surreal environment. The film was never likely to win at the Oscars, but I'm happy to see that here we're giving it its due here.