Best Cinematography 2011

For the films of 2011

Of the 2011 Oscar nominees for Best Cinematography, which was best?

The Artist (Guillaume Schiffman)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Jeff Cronenweth)
No votes
Hugo (Robert Richardson)
The Tree of Life (Emmanuel Lubeszki)
War Horse (Janusz Kaminski)
No votes
Total votes: 22

Posts: 847
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:39 am
Location: United States

Re: Best Cinematography 2011

Postby Bog » Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:36 pm

dws1982 wrote:The Tree of Life--this year, and almost every other year. easy as it gets no?

As I believe I've said in multiple surprising as his 3 straight wins quivers in the shadow of the unjust nature of his 3 prior defeats, any ordering of which likely rank as numbers 1, 2, & 3 all time best losers in any Oscar my opinion.

Mister Tee
Posts: 7147
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC

Re: Best Cinematography 2011

Postby Mister Tee » Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:28 pm

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Drive are my two strong substitutions. (In the latter case, I close to hated the film, but couldn't deny its visual panache.)

War Horse was, I suppose, pretty but, like the film overall, it left me wondering, to what end? My general feeling about the film is that Spielberg went into it without really knowing why he was making it, and left it the same way. It's hard to generate notable work with a lack of focus, and the same goes for Kaminski's work.

The Artist is the only black and white film of this era for which none of us has show much support, which I guess is a statement. I feel about the camera work in the film much as I do about the film overall: it's a nifty little thing, worth a look, but not long-lasting in the memory.

I'm bigger on Fincher's version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo than most others here. I think it's a vast improvement on the Swedish version, and, while cinematography is not as strong a contributor to the film's general strength as, say, the editing, Cronenweth's work is very solid and noteworthy.

Hugo is, as I've said here many times, one of the great visual marvels of this millennium -- but most of the achievement can be credited to the production design team. Richardson's work was hardly dismissable -- in many years, it'd be a completely unobjectionable choice. But here its win was a letdown.

Because The Tree of Life was just working on another level. Many of Malick's films, for me, are too ethereal, too inward-directed to reach an audience.. But here he found a perfect balance -- off in art-land, but with a firm hold on reality that made his film moving as well as gorgeous. And Lubezki's cinematography seems a full partner in that achievement. The film offers many spectacular images, but they don't seem pretty-for-pretty's-sake -- they are deeply felt images that convey feeling related to the "family and how it grows" narrative. This was an emotionally powerful film, one told mostly through pictures. Lubezki's sensational work is vital to that effort, and far and away the best work seen that year, if not in the entire decade.

Posts: 3239
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 9:28 pm
Location: AL

Re: Best Cinematography 2011

Postby dws1982 » Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:31 pm

The Tree of Life--this year, and almost every other year.

The Original BJ
Posts: 4312
Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2003 8:49 pm

Re: Best Cinematography 2011

Postby The Original BJ » Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:44 pm

This year basically forced many of us to relive virtually the exact same scenario as our crushing '06 disappointment.

I can't say the bench of candidates this year was very deep either, though Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy certainly would have been a deserving inclusion.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is pretty pulpy material, but the cinematography was certainly a key element in elevating this adaptation from its more lurid origins into something impressively cinematic. There's a grace and elegance to the chilly images here that can almost make you think you're watching a more major work of film than you are. But while the craft achievement certainly livens up a so-so mystery plot, the photography isn't nearly as impressive on artistic terms as Cronenweth's work for Fincher the year prior.

I wasn't the biggest fan of War Horse, but the visuals certainly weren't the issue. As one would expect from nearly every Kaminski/Spielberg collaboration, the images are majestic and transporting, capturing the beauty of the European countryside and the haunting gloom of war-torn battlefields. The film may be old-fashioned to a fault, and certainly the photography is more classically beautiful than inventive, but this is at least one of the movie's more impressive elements.

The Artist isn't without some visual panache -- for a film with no dialogue, I doubt it would have caught on the way it did without some imaginative photographic moments. (Dujardin descending the staircase and being absorbed by the crowd immediately comes to mind.) But I'd say that 1) the film isn't nearly the B&W knockout as many such efforts we've considered over recent years, and 2) its photography doesn't bring out anything deeper than mere pastiche the way, say, Far From Heaven's visuals did.

Hugo is a gorgeous-looking film -- had it lost production design, I'd have been outraged. And the cinematography is totally worthy of runner-up status, with magical lighting, wildly energetic camera moves, and loving compositions that delight in the love for cinema that's central to the film's story. It's a visual wow through and through, and in many years, it would have been a choice I could have made enthusiastically.

But this year, I found it a disappointment, because (as in '06) I was so looking forward to a prize for Lubezki. I'm truly surprised that even those of you who haven't voted for The Tree of Life found its cinematography so unimpressive, because I think this is a tremendously photographed film, full of gorgeous natural lighting, heavenly beautiful landscapes (at one point, literally), and small moments of such delicate quality it's no exaggeration to think that the term "cinematic poetry" was invented just for them. This is the kind of movie that feels like it wasn't so much written on the page, as written with the camera, and I think it's a strong candidate for best cinematography of the decade.

User avatar
Precious Doll
Posts: 4293
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2003 2:20 am
Location: Sydney

Re: Best Cinematography 2011

Postby Precious Doll » Tue Aug 07, 2018 9:06 am

Another very easy choice, particularly with a film made with so much passion about the birth of cinema, it was impossible to go past Hugo - just gorgeous in every respect.

I'm with Magilla all the way on Tree of Life though in Malick's post Days of Heaven I prefer to refer to the narration as voice over because from The Thin Red Line onwards Malick has had actors reading out a whole lot of hogwash. By Tree of Life it didn't seem to matter because there was little value on what was showing on the screen. Sure it's beautiful but its empty and serves no purpose.

The Artist was appropriately shot in black and white but there was nothing noteworthy about its camera work to my eyes. War Horse was indeed a beautiful looking film, such a shame it didn't serve a better better one. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was a far lesser film that its Swedish original but it did look a lot better but hardly worthy of a nomination.

My omissions (some may not be eligible): Drive, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, We Need to Talk About Kevin, Water For Elephants, Elena, The Help & A Dangerous Method - all more worthy candidates than everything but Hugo.
"I want cement covering every blade of grass in this nation! Don't we taxpayers have a voice anymore?" Peggy Gravel (Mink Stole) in John Waters' Desperate Living (1977)

Posts: 1225
Joined: Tue Dec 07, 2004 11:19 am
Location: Lisbon, Portugal

Re: Best Cinematography 2011

Postby mlrg » Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:08 pm

The Tree of Life should have won the Oscar and gets my vote.

Big Magilla
Site Admin
Posts: 16750
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 3:22 pm
Location: Jersey Shore

Re: Best Cinematography 2011

Postby Big Magilla » Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:04 pm

I'll be the contrarian again!

I refuse to vote for a film that is nothing but a collection of pretty pictures in a contrived bunch of nonsense in which whatever dialogue there was is drowned out by either loud music or unnecessary narration. No Tree of Life for me.

I'll definitely go along with Robert Richardson's win for Hugo which was the best of the nominees in which the cinematography supported the story instead of the other way around. I also liked the cinematography for War Horse and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and would have preferred to see a nomination for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy over The Artist.

As to what could/should? have been nominated in place of The Tree of Life, I'll give you Drive or better yet, Of Gods and Men, In a Better World or Poetry.

Tenured Laureate
Posts: 8163
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am

Best Cinematography 2011

Postby Sabin » Mon Aug 06, 2018 11:07 am

Don't have much time to write this up, nor is this much reason to. Emmanuel Lubeszki is going to win this one in a cake walk as he deserves to. This was the biggest disappointment of an otherwise totally forgettable Oscar ceremony. Lubeszki won every award in sight for The Tree of Life but foolishly we thought that the film's three nominations was a sign of support rather than the fact that they just preferred it to... The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? Bridesmaids?

The ASC nominated The Artist, Hugo, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Tree of Life, and Hoyte van Hoytema for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, the clear omission from this category. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy showed up in three categories (and should have in more) and likely would have replaced The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (a film they clearly weren't enamored with, despite its Editing win) or the far more polarizing War Horse.
"Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough." ~ FDR

Return to “84th Predictions and Precursors”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest