With the Golden Globes coming up this weekend, and the Oscar nominations only a couple of weeks away, we're entering the final stages of the seemingly-endless 2010 awards race, and yesterday saw some of the last of the major craft and guild nominations of the season. We covered the DGA noms yesterday, which saw David O Russell beat out the Coen Brothers for the fifth slot, and late last night the American Society of Cinematographers named their picks for the five greatest achievements in the field, and there's another surprise in store there.
Alongside the widely predicted, and well-deserved, nominations of Matthew Libatique for "Black Swan," Wally Pfister for "Inception," Jeff Cronenweth for "The Social Network" and Roger Deakins for "True Grit," Shane Meadows veteran Danny Cohen picked up a nod for his work on "The King's Speech." While the words "The King's Speech," 'awards' and 'surprise' haven't exactly been bandied about that frequently in recent months, Robert Richardson's work on "Shutter Island" or the duelling talents of Enrique Chediak and Anthony Dod Mantle on "127 Hours" had seemed more likely to pick up the fifth slot.
If nothing else, it suggests the esteem in which Tom Hooper's film is held all around town, across all branches, and why, despite its near unanimous victories across the critic's awards, "The Social Network" doesn't have its Oscar chances locked down yet. Nevertheless, Cohen could well see himself losing out when the Oscar nominees in the category are announced (some, including Kris Tapley at In Contention) believe that Cronenweth's work isn't a lock yet, either, due to a perceived Academy resistance to digital cinematography, but with the awards in the last two years going to digitally-shot films, "Slumdog Millionaire" and "Avatar," we're not sure this is still the case, and we'd be surprised not to see "The Social Network" among the eventual nominees.
Personally, there are films with no chance of a nomination that we'd rather see among the final five over "The King's Speech;" Greig Fraser's work on "Let Me In" or Andrij Parikh's on "Blue Valentine," for instance, but that was never going to happen. The ASC will announce their winner on February 13th, where they'll also give Roger Deakins a firmly-deserved lifetime achievement award. The American Cinema Editors will announce their nominees later in the week, the last major guild in the calendar, and we'll report on their picks then. If they nominate "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World," we'll buy them all a steak dinner.