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Oscars 2011: Best Cinematography Winner Wally Pfister Talks Inception, Acceptance Speech

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood February 28, 2011 at 5:15AM

Soundbites from the Backstage Interview with Inception's Best Cinematography winner, Wally Pfister:
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Thompson on Hollywood


Soundbites from the Backstage Interview with Inception's Best Cinematography winner, Wally Pfister:

"...there's a reason that I've been nominated for films with Christopher Nolan, because he's a brilliant filmmaker and he's got incredible vision and really, as I said up there, there's no way I accomplish what I've accomplished without the brilliant vision of Chris Nolan.  And along the other lines, we'll see what happens.  You know, I'm really thrilled in the moment right now with what I'm doing and we'll see whether I keep the day job or try something else.

Q: So you're filming on towards the complexity of dreams.  Did you ever have a personal dream that helped you, you know, visualize what exactly one of the particular scenes looked like?

A. "Most of my dreams are too filthy to talk about in an open room of women, so... no, yeah, when Chris wrote the screenplay and read it, really realized it could relate to a lot of what he was talking about in the dream world and sort of, you know, envision it and figure it out.  So, it was yeah, it was very inspiring. Did that answer your question? "

Q. After winning the ASC Award and tonight winning the Oscar, how do you feel as a cinematographer and personally as an individual creative person?

A. "I'd like to ask the question in the room, is there any reporter in here who hasn't said the phrase, 'How do you feel?'  Anybody, raise your hand and if you've never said, 'How do you feel.' I'm just fucking with you.  How do I feel?  I'm blown away.  This is unfucking believable.  You know, I walked out there and it's the most surreal moment in my life.  And you know, I've worked very hard, you know, to do what I did in the movies and just to get this, you kind of go, 'What do I do now, what's next?"' Did that answer your question?  

Q. Some scenes from Inception had gone through the 3D post conversion process, but it was axed before it was publicly released.  What are your thoughts on 3D and would you ever go into making a 3D film?

A. "I'm personally not a big 3D fan.  It doesn't really work for me.  I don't like the glasses, I don't like the dark image, you know, through there.  And it's it feels a little gimmicky to me.  That's my own personal preference, I'm not a big fan of that.  We like to, in terms of the immersion for the audience, we like to do things like film things in IMAX and put it on a much larger canvas and higher resolution rather than three dimensional.  So in turns of what's happening with Inception, you know, Chris and I are like minded in that way.  I don't know whether they're going release a DVD version in 3D or not, but that's definitely, it's just not something I'm that interested in as a filmmaker."

ONSTAGE SPEECH: "Good God, what have you done? Thank you so much, this is a phenomenal honor for me. Thank you to the Academy for this great honor and for the respect you have shown for all cinematographers. I got to take a breath here for a minute. Breathe it in for a second. Where's that thing that shows you how much time, there it goes. None of what I did would have been possible without the incredible vision of my master Christopher Nolan. His work...you're taking up my time. His work has inspired me for 12 years and continues to, he's a brilliant filmmaker as we all know. Much thanks to Emma Nolan, to Warner Brothers, to my fantastic union crew, and my family, Anna, Nick, Claire, and Mia and to my Mom and Dad. Thanks so much!"

This article is related to: Awards, Directors, Oscars, Chris Nolan


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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.