Secrets of the 5 Cinematography Oscar Nominees

You couldn’t ask for five better examples of state of the art cinematography, all of which convey complex states of mind and are shot in visually compelling ways. There’s the frenzied, “continuous-take” of Birdman, the fairy tale elegance of The Grand Budapest Hotel,  the sublime black-and-white Ida,  the abstract/Impressionism of Mr. Turner and the brutal yet spiritually uplifting Unbroken.

1. Birdman: Frontunner Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki goes for two Oscars in a row with another experimental breakthrough, this time with Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu. “I didn’t want to make a gimmicky film for no reason or just to do it in one take to show off. But Alejandro’s script had the seed of the idea in it and was perfectly written, it reads like one continuous take, where you go into the madness of Riggan Thomson [Michael Keaton] and the collapse of his life. So it did make sense. I think it works,” Lubezki said.

2. The Grand Budapest Hotel: Wes Anderson evokes a sense of exuberant fun as well as bittersweet nostalgia for Eastern Europe between the World Wars, and Robert Yeoman infuses it with a host of glam lighting choices that reflect the director’s fairy-tale approach. And, appropriately, enough, it’s the only one of the five movies that was shot on film. “I think it addresses a grand old Europe that was extinguished by the forces of evil, really, with the colors that we used, the lighting that we used and even the miniatures give it a romanticized quality that embellished it so that when the zig-zags come in and take over, it hits home a little bit harder.

5. Unbroken: 12-time Oscar nominee Roger Deakins creates a powerful dance of light and dark in Angelina Jolie’s impassioned biopic about Olympic runner-turned war hero Louis Zamperini. “I felt strongly that the opening dogfight should be centered on the character’s perspective. I didn’t think we should go much outside the plane. For me, I’ll be quite honest, there are two or three shots that I wish weren’t there because I really felt the strength of the scene was being with the character. And if you don’t know what exactly’s going on, that’s great because that’s how the character was experiencing things. Of all the parts of the film, I’m really quite pleased with it. You do get the sense of what it was like to be in one of those tin cans,” Deakins said.

Read the rest at TOH/Indiewire.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Cinematography, Clips, Movies, Oscar, Tech, Trailers

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