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2011 Oscar Predictions: Cinematography

That’s right folks. The gold dust for the 2010 Oscar winner list has barely settled, and I’m already attempting to figure out the 2011 Oscar nominations might look like. Why? It’s more of a curiosity factor than anything else, seeing what’s out there, what we can look forward to – so for the next nine days, I’ll unveil my predictions in nine categories, beginning with the category for Best Cinematography.

That’s right folks. The gold dust for the 2010 Oscar winner list has barely settled, and I’m already attempting to figure out the 2011 Oscar nominations might look like. Why? It’s more of a curiosity factor than anything else, seeing what’s out there, what we can look forward to – so for the next nine days, I’ll unveil my predictions in nine categories, beginning with the category for Best Cinematography.

I typically begin these things with what I think will be the 5 noms and then give some educated guesses as to some of the dark horse picks (I’m limiting myself to no more than seven). Hint – the person in the picture above would be my early, odds on favorite for the win.

Of course, we love to know your thoughts on what named and more importantly what’s missing. Drop a quick name below.

Wally Pfister, Robert Elswit, Roger Deakins, Eric Gautier

Five Noms:

Wally Pfister for Inception
Comment: I’m expecting there to be a fourth nom for the Pfister and Christopher Nolan partnership that predates to Batman Begins and which also includes The Prestige and The Dark Knight. Pfister is technically apt with the action sequence, and even the tub scene (see trailer) is worth mentioning. This category always has a Hollywood blockbuster type – and this is that film.

Eric Gautier for Miral
Comment: The Into the Wild and Motorcycle Diaries DP has never been nominated — if Julian Schnabel ‘s film becomes the “miracle” film at Cannes this year, then this could have enough traction to pull off a first nom for Gautier.

Robert Elswit for The Town 
Comment: Nominated for Good Night, and Good Luck and winner for his gorgeous work in There Will Be Blood, if Ben Affleck’s The Town falls in line with the Mystic Rivers and The Departeds and manages to find critical praise upon its release, then Elswit could receive some kudos. 

Emmanuel Lubezki for The Tree of Life
Comment: The fifth time should be the charm for Lubezki who reunites with Malick with who he was the DP for The New World. Previous noms includes Alfonso Cuarón’s A Little Princess and Children of Men with a nom for working with Burton on Sleepy Hollow. Life sure sounds like an epic and ambitious film – 

Roger Deakins for True Grit
Comment: Always a bridesmaid, Deakins has received eight nominations and not all were with the Coens. His work in nominated No Country For Old Men gives us a pretty good idea of how this may turn out.

Dark horse picks:

Anthony Dod Mantle for 127 Hours
Comment: Forget about Slumdog with Boyle, the stunning beauty behind Antichrist was mouthwatering. Mantle is the man of the hour – the great outdoors is his terrain, but would he be limited by the number of locations?

Rodrigo Prieto for Biutiful
Comment: Nominated once before for Brokeback Mountain, the cobblestone streets in this film better receive a lush treatment for this to get any traction.

John Mathieson for Brighton Rock 
Comment: With Robin Hood also in contention, I’m going with Mathieson’s work in this period pic. He has been nominated twice before for Gladiator and The Phantom of the Opera.

Newton Thomas Sigel for The Conspirator
Comment: Robert Redford’s period drama could have all the trimmings but I imagine it might not dazzle visually.  

Tom Stern for Hereafter
Comment: Working with Clint Eastwood has it perks – Stern received a nom for the period pic Changeling. I’m thinking the odds of seeing the name Eastwood at the Oscars yet again are high, but will a thriller translate into a best cinematography nod? 

Claudio Miranda for Tron Legacy
Comment: Despite the cool looking, just released trailer, sci-fi remains a very hard sell for this category. Miranda received a previous nomination for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Russell Boyd for The Way Back 
Comment: Last time Boyd teamed up with Peter Weir, he won the award for Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. I’ve seen stills, I’m thinking the return to the various outdoor locales could benefit this team once again – but it’ll need a distributor to back it.

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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