The nominees for the Academy’s cinematography Oscar range from longtime rock stars of the trade like Robert Richardson (“Django Unchained”) and Roger Deakins (“Skyfall”) to Spielberg’s right-hand collaborator Janusz Kaminski (“Lincoln”) to two previous Variety 10 Cinematographers to Watch, Claudio Miranda (“Life of Pi”) and Seamus McGarvey (“Anna Karenina”).
Richardson — who established his rep with Oliver Stone on such films as “Born on the Fourth of July,” “JFK” and “Natural Born Killers” before cultivating fruitful collaborations with Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino — has been nominated by the Academy eight times dating back to 1987’s “Platoon” and has won three Oscars, the most recent for last year’s “Hugo,” which was shot in 3D, a first for Scorsese.
Just as Richardson has been a 10-time bridesmaid among his peers in the American Society of Cinematographers for the ASC’s top feature kudo, so has Deakins with the Academy. The Brit transplant might be the most respected working d.p. without an Oscar on his mantel, with “Skyfall” representing his 10th nomination from the Academy. Deakins is best known for his work with the Coen brothers dating back to 1991’s “Barton Fink,” but has done standout work for helmers as varied as Scorsese (“Kundun”), Frank Darabont (“The Shawshank Redemption”), Ron Howard (“A Beautiful Mind”) and Andrew Dominik (“The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”). “Skyfall” is Deakins’ third collaboration with director Sam Mendes.
Kaminski, a native of Poland who immigrated to the U.S. in the early 1980s, has won two Oscars for Spielberg films: “Schindler’s List” (1993), their first collaboration, which was mostly in B&W; and “Saving Private Ryan (1998). He has also done exemplary work with Cameron Crowe (“Jerry Maguire”) and Julian Schnabel (“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”). He has the distinction of being the first d.p. presenter at the Academy Awards.
Miranda, a Chilean, has worked repeatedly with David Fincher on films including “Seven,” “Fight Club” and “Zodiac” before graduating to the d.p. ranks on Fincher’s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (2008), for which he earned an Oscar nomination. “Life of Pi,” Ang Lee’s first film shot in 3D, is Miranda’s third feature as a cinematographer.
McGarvey, an Irishman, cut his teeth as a feature d.p. on Stephen Frears’ “High Fidelity” before working with Michael Apted (“Enigma”), Stephen Daltry (“The Hours”) and Stone (“World Trade Center”). “Anna Karenina” is his third collaboration with Joe Wright, whose “Atonement” (2007) earned McGarvey his one previous Oscar nom.
Cinematographers in tight race
Roger Deakin | Janusz Kaminski | Seamus McGarvey | Claudio Miranda | Robert Richardson