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Cinematographers Pick Seven Feature Nominees; Which Will Make Final Oscar Five?

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood January 8, 2014 at 12:23PM

For my money, the sequence that lands "Inside Llewyn Davis" a cinematography Oscar nomination is on the Number One train, shot from the POV of the cat as subway stops flash by. Bruno Delbonnel is one of seven directors of photography selected by the American Society of Cinematographers to compete for their top motion picture honor.
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"Inside Llewyn Davis"
CBS Films "Inside Llewyn Davis"
Roger Deakins
Roger Deakins

For my money, the sequence that lands "Inside Llewyn Davis" a cinematography Oscar nomination is on the Number One train, shot from the POV of the cat as subway stops flash by. Bruno Delbonnel, who also landed a cinematography nomination from the BAFTAs, is one of seven directors of photography selected by the American Society of Cinematographers to compete for their top motion picture honor. Traditionally, the ASC selects five nominees, but they had a three-way tie this year. Five of these will likely land in the final five on Oscar nominations morning, January 16.  

The nominees are:

Emmanuel Lubezki
Emmanuel Lubezki

• Sean Bobbitt, BSC for 12 Years a Slave

• Barry Ackroyd, BSC for Captain Phillips

• Philippe Le Sourd for The Grandmaster

• Emmanuel Lubezki, ASC, AMC for Gravity

• Bruno Delbonnel, ASC, AFC for Inside Llewyn Davis

• Phedon Papamichael, ASC for Nebraska

• Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC for Prisoners

The winner will be revealed at the awards ceremony on February 1, at the Hollywood & Highland Ray Dolby Ballroom.

Notable omissions here are Best Picture contenders "The Wolf of Wall Street," "American Hustle," "Saving Mr. Banks," "Dallas Buyers Club," "Her," and "Blue Jasmine." Mexican Emmanuel Lubezki is considered the frontrunner for the Oscar for his dazzling 3-D digital work on Alfonso Cuaron's "Gravity." Lubezki also won ASC Awards for Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" (2012) and Cuaron's "Children of Men" (2007), and was also nominated in 2000 for Tim Burton's "Sleepy Hollow."  Last year's win for Claudio Miranda (3-D "Life of Pi") raises the issue of considering digital vs. 35 mm photography

Denis Villeneuve's "Prisoners," while it has not come up in many award conversations, marks some of the best work of revered British cinematographer Roger Deakins. (I look forward to sharing my conversation with him.) This nomination brings Deakins’ ASC total to 12. While he won last year for "Skyfall" and for 1995's "The Shawshank Redemption" and the Coens' 2002 black-and-white "The Man Who Wasn't There," after nine Oscar nominations he has never won. 

Delbonnel earned top honors for "A Very Long Engagement" (2005) as well as a nomination for "Amelie" (2002). Ackroyd was previously nominated for "The Hurt Locker" (2010). Papamichael earned previous nominations in the television movie and miniseries category for "White Dwarf" (1996) and "Wild Palms" (1994), respectively. This is the first ASC nomination for Bobbitt and Le Sourd.

This article is related to: Awards, Awards Season Roundup, Awards, Gravity, 12 Years a Slave, Roger Deakins, Emmanuel Lubezki


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.