Best Cinematography 2013

For the films of 2013

Of the 2013 Oscar nominees for Best Cinematography, which was best?

The Grandmaster (Philippe Le Sourd)
No votes
Gravity (Emmanuel Lubezki)
Inside Llewyn Davis (Bruno Delbonnel)
Nebraska (Phedon Papamichael)
Prisoners (Roger Deakins)
No votes
Total votes: 18

The Original BJ
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Re: Best Cinematography 2013

Postby The Original BJ » Sun Aug 26, 2018 9:21 pm

12 Years a Slave is one of the more inexplicable omissions in this category in recent years, given all it had going for it -- Best Picture winner, beautiful exterior landscapes, innovative/iconic shots (the hanging, the soap sequence). I'd have easily nominated it. I also like the lovingly shot futuristic cityscapes of Her.

Prisoners feels like the kind of nominee that would make total sense as place-filler in a weak year -- the film's gloomy snowscapes create quite a strong sense of dread throughout the movie, and I remember many of us thinking it could be a cinematography contender when we saw it early that fall. Of course, this WASN'T a weak year for this category, so its nomination seems on the generous side, even if it isn't any kind of embarrassment.

Nebraska is Alexander Payne's most visually impressive film, and a great deal of credit for that should go to the cinematography, which makes the natural landscapes and dying towns of the Midwest a crucial visual backdrop for the film's action. I would still say that, like most Payne films, Nebraska's strengths are more in the writing/acting departments, but this is a solid nominee here.

Somehow, The Grandmaster wasn't on my radar at all until well into awards season, and I didn't see it until after the nominations on DVD. I wish I'd seen it on the big screen, because I found it a gorgeous and dynamically shot action effort, with the fight in the rain a clear visual standout. I think the remaining nominees are in service of more fully successful creative works, but I was happy to see a Wong Kar-Wai film FINALLY receive recognition in this category.

Although I've often loved Roger Deakins's work for the Coens, it's always nice to see filmmakers work with new collaborators, and Bruno Delbonnel's contribution to Inside Llewyn Davis gives the movie a pleasingly fresh look. The chilly, faded images provide such a melancholic counterpoint to the Coens' oddball sense of humor, and I too would cite the shot of Isaac in the fog as one of the more memorable of the year. I haven't yet "voted" for Delbonnel, but he's done a lot of strong work over the years, and I hope I'll be able to root for him some time in the future.

For me, Gravity was easily the year's most impressive visual triumph. As with Scorsese/The Departed, it felt like it HAD to finally be Lubezki's time, only we'd been let down so many times before to feel certain about it. But I thought this was a great win not merely based on overdue points -- while full of stunning images, what really sticks with me about Gravity is the emotional pull the visuals carry. Shots like Clooney floating off into space, or Bullock hanging on to the edge of a spaceship as debris swirls around her, are full of such overwhelming power, and serve as way more than moments to show off technical brio (though they certainly do that too). The clear choice, even in a worthy field.

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Re: Best Cinematography 2013

Postby Okri » Fri Aug 24, 2018 6:45 pm

Oh, AMPAS. Only you could make the deserved coronation of one of the most important cinemagicians of the 21st century less satisfying. For while I can wholeheartedly recognize Lubezki’s work on Gravity as the work of an immense talent, the whole cinematography category this year just needs an overhaul.

Firstly, get rid of Nebraska. I know we all love black-and-white, but this isn’t a particularly good use of the style . I’d also toss out Prisoners (which isn’t bad but Is still lesser Deakins) and The Grandmaster (so pretty, so pretty, kinda vacuous). I’d replace them with 12 Years a Slave, Her and Ain’t Them Bodies Saints.

Between Gravity and Inside Llewyn Davis, I’ll side with the Coens’ flick. The film is less than the sum of its parts, but oh what parts! Lubezki’s three Oscars are for variously meritable work (well, the first two anyway) but I just don’t feel as enthusiastic about them as I do his other nominated work from earlier.

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Re: Best Cinematography 2013

Postby Mister Tee » Wed Aug 22, 2018 2:52 pm

This is a rare year, where my tastes were largely aligned with those in the branch. The most logical substitute would be 12 Years a Slave. (And, parenthetically -- yeah, its omission from this and other categories didn't prevent its winning the top prize, but it may have stopped it being the sweeping Oscar juggernaut some pundits were predicting from September on.)

I think way more highly of Prisoners than a lot of people here; what do you guys have against police procedurals? As to the Deakins's possibly the least wow-ish of this group, but I"d single out that scene where the police make their discovery near the edge of the woods. For me, that's as impressively lit as the Shanghai scene in Skyfall, so I don't get why people so high on that earlier effort are so dismissive here.

This branch I guess is to be commended for continuing to promote Asian cinema, but unless one of these nominees ends up winning some day, it's going to evoke the same question as Uri notes in lead acting: why bother to keep nominating foreign efforts when you have no intention of letting them win? The Grandmaster is, like its predecessors here, quite impressive looking (though I can't say I like the movie all that much). Not a winner, but a perfectly fine contender.

Nebraska is the rare black-and-white movie of this era that didn't get something of an automatic push from critics' groups. It doesn't have the play-with-shadows showiness of efforts like Good Night and Good Luck, but the film's look seems of a piece with the gentler-than-usual tone that Payne attains. A worthy nominee.

The critics seemed by now to have decisively turned against CGI-aided nominees in this category (though some did come back for Roger Deakins this past year). Inside Llewyn Davis was certainly an excellent choice in the "limited to standard techniques" group. If you're looking for individual impressive moments, that shot of Llewyn hitchhiking in the fog on the road to Chicago has really stuck with me. In another year, I'd vote for the film.

But Gravity was a kind of obvious choice, both for Lubezki's by-then extreme overdueness, and for the grandeur of the visual concept. The film may have been all CGI, but I don't remember sitting there noticing the effects; rather, I was experiencing the feeling of floating weightlessly through space. A prime achievement, one I'm happy to endorse.

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Re: Best Cinematography 2013

Postby Big Magilla » Tue Aug 21, 2018 4:05 am

Because of a tie, ASC nominated seven films this year. Captain Phillips and 12 Years a Slave were the other nominees. Those two and Her were the most serious omissions. Snowpiercer was 2014 in the U.S. and not eligible.

Those three plus Gravity and Inside Llewyn Davis would be my top five picks.

Either I've never seen The Grandmaster or forgotten it if I have. Prisoners was well done, but not one of Deakins' best in my estimation and Nebraska , though it had its moments, was not my favorite Alexander Payne.

Gravity was the best of the films for which Lubezki finally won and I'm happy he did, but I have a soft spot for Inside Llewyn Davis, my favorite Coen Brothers film since Fargo and this time happily cast my vote for Bruno Delbonnel.

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Re: Best Cinematography 2013

Postby Precious Doll » Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:19 am

For me this was a tough choice between Inside Llewyn Davis & Nebraska. I voted for Nebraska.

Despite my dislike of The Grandmaster & Gravity I cannot deny the excellence of the cinematography of both films, though I baffled what Prisoners made the cut. Possibly a case of Roger Deakins being so overdue.

Omissions: Snowpiercer, The Counsellor, A Touch of Sin, Ida, The Great Beauty, Her, Labour Day, The Death of Reality - really a treasure of a year.
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Re: Best Cinematography 2013

Postby Reza » Mon Aug 20, 2018 3:08 pm

Voted for Nebraska.

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Re: Best Cinematography 2013

Postby Reza » Mon Aug 20, 2018 3:05 pm

Voted for Nebraska

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Re: Best Cinematography 2013

Postby mlrg » Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:47 pm

Voted for Gravity although Nebraska is my favorite film of the year

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Best Cinematography 2013

Postby Sabin » Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:45 am

I'll refrain from voting because I have not seen The Grandmaster. As it is my choice is Inside Llewyn Davis, a movie that has steadily climbed to near the top of my favorite Coen Brothers films and such a lovely thing to watch.

The winner was never in doubt. I don't think Emmanuel Lubezki was as due for a win as Roger Deakins but he is the only cinematographer of my lifetime whom I have heard people say wuz robbed (for Children of Men). Put aside that the film was a groundbreaking technical achievement. His reunion with Alfonso Cuaron was too perfect an opportunity to pass up. Of all the "Best Green-screen Lighting" Oscars that were won during this four year span, I have the easiest time begrudging this one. Three consecutive Oscars is a bit much though.

Roger Deakins' nomination for Prisoners makes substantially more sense today considering his three other nominations working with Villeneuve, but the film is still inconsequential and silly.

I like Nebraska quite a bit more than most of the people on this board. Alexander Payne is justifiably criticized for being a visually drab filmmaker. I didn't just find this film stunning, the visual choices allowed for new layers of melancholy to creep into Alexander Payne's filmmaking and soften some of his cruder instincts. I'll never understand the muted praise it received.

The critics largely split between Inside Llewyn Davis and Gravity. The ASC featured seven nominees this year, including the non-nominated Barry Ackroyd for Captain Phillips and Sean Bobbitt for 12 Years a Slave, which was clearly the big omission in this category. Remember on Oscar morning how we interpreted its lack of nominations for Best Original Score, Cinematography, and Sound Mixing as a sign of weakness? Just silly.
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