Christian Berger

RECENT SCORES: Austrian go-to d.p. for fellow countryman Michael Haneke was Oscar-nommed this year for the helmer’s “The White Ribbon” — and won the ASC theatrical release prize for that black-and-white drama’s austere imagery. “Ribbon” also copped him a nom at the 2009 European Film Awards, where he was previously nominated for Haneke’s “Hidden” in 2005.

COMING UP: Slated to shoot Austrian production “Die Blutgrafin” (“The Blood Countess”), a drama/horror film starring Tilda Swinton and Isabelle Huppert. “It’s not easy getting Isabelle and Tilda in front of the camera at the same time,” he quips. Meanwhile he’s busy promoting his Cine Reflect Lighting System.

Roger Deakins

RECENT SCORES: The seven-time Oscar nominee and multiple ASC and BAFTA winner (“No Country for Old Men”) regularly shoots for the Coen brothers. Served as visual consultant on “Wall-E” and “How to Train Your Dragon” and signed a two-year deal with DreamWorks Animation — validating idea that even with advances in digital technology, the role of the d.p. remains critical, as trained eyes are needed to evaluate lighting, angles and focus in every medium. Deakins believes technology is closing the gap between live action and toons: “Animated films are now produced in a virtual world using many techniques of live action but with none of the restrictions to camera movement or lighting in the real world. Conversely, live-action filmmakers are increasingly turning to digital techniques to free themselves from such restrictions.”

COMING UP: Re-teamed with Coens for their remake of “True Grit,” skedded for Christmas release, with Jeff Bridges in the John Wayne role.

Wally Pfister

RECENT SCORES: Teamed with director Christopher Nolan on six films, from “Memento” in 2000 to “Inception,” today’s dream-action puzzler. “Our collaboration seems to get better and more streamlined with each film,” says the d.p. Global blockbusters “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight,” along with “The Prestige,” earned Pfister three Oscar noms. He also got ASC noms for the two Batman films.

coming up: Pfister is currently prepping “Moneyball” with Bennett Miller, who helmed 2005’s “Capote.” The project stars Brad Pitt and is based on an off-kilter book about baseball by Michael Lewis. Skedded for 2012: the next film in Nolan’s Batman series. Still up in the air is whether it’ll be shot in 3D.

Robert Richardson

RECENT SCORES: The two-time Oscar winner has been the frequent d.p. of choice for three top helmers. He received his sixth Academy nom in 2010 for Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds,” for which he also garnered his ninth ASC nom, and copped Oscars in 1992 for Oliver Stone’s “JFK” and in 2005 for Martin Scorsese’s “The Aviator.”

COMING UP: Richardson recently traveled the world to shoot “Eat Pray Love,” starring Julia Roberts and James Franco and helmed by “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy, and is currently prepping for Scorsese’s “Hugo Cabret.” “It’s my first experience with 3D as well as my first digital capture for a feature,” he says.

Profiles written by Iain Blair, David Cohen, Peter Debruge, Jack Egan, Marj Gallas, Karen Idelson, Chris Morris and Bruce Shutan.