Saturday, February 24, 2018

Oscar Winner Predictions: Best Cinematography

The competition: Blade Runner 2049 (Roger Deakins), Darkest Hour (Bruno Delbonnel), Dunkirk (Hoyte van Hoytema), Mudbound (Rachel Morrison), The Shape of Water (Dan Laustsen)

Previous winners: La La Land, The Revenant, Birdman, Gravity, Life of Pi, Hugo, Inception
My winner: Announcing shortly after the Oscars!
The facts: Deakins is the most-nominated cinematographer not to have won, with thirteen previous bids, most recently in 2015 for “Sicario.” Delbonnel has four previous nominations, last up for “Inside Llewyn Davis” in 2013. The other three are all first-time nominees, and Morrison makes history as the first woman ever nominated in this category. Deakins took home his fourth ASC Award either this month, though his past three ASC wins have all translated to Oscar losses. Since the ASC has existed, its winner has only gone on to win the Oscar thirteen out of thirty-two times, and five times in the past decade. “Blade Runner 2049” took the BAFTA, where all but “Mudbound” were nominated. A Best Picture nominee has won this award every year over the past decade, which doesn’t bode well for “Blade Runner 2049” and “Mudbound.”
Who should win: I’m not sure why exactly “Mudbound” is here since its aesthetics weren’t all that memorable to me. “Darkest Hour” amplified its story – and its lead character – with the way that it was filmed. “Dunkirk” jumped between three equally dazzling settings and would certainly be an unobjectionable choice. “The Shape of Water” was gorgeous and stylized in the way that it was presented, but I would go with “Blade Runner 2049” for its astonishing visual portrait of the future.
Who will win: “Dunkirk” and “The Shape of Water” will likely be rewarded in other technical categories, but that strengthens rather than weakens their chances here. I think “Darkest Hour” can be safely counted out, but watch out for Morrison to become the first woman nominated and the first woman to be win for “Mudbound.” I’d say that “The Shape of Water” has the best chance of knocking out what I hope and believe will be the winner, Blade Runner 2049.

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