The thing about cinematography, though, is that I always worry that I'm undiscerning in my choices and not really making the right choices vis-a-vis what stands for good photography in film. Case in point, in 2011 when fairly everyone seemed certain that the photography on The Tree of Life was without a doubt the best of the year I was more intrigued by the darkness of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Hugo (even with Richardson's love for those golden hues, but I love his work generally, anyhow). This preamble, in addition to being a weird case of me arguing against my choices, (and warning you that the consensus choice for this category is not mine) is just one in a long line of questions I encounter when making my year-end citations - to what degree is it all subjective, and to what degree are there elements which objectively comprise good photography (or anything). Is objectivity even possible?
Nonetheless, onward I go with my ballot for Cinematography. Like last year, I hate to whittle down so many great films to a ballot of five so a long, long list of my favourite shot films with a single shot to represent each ending up with my #1 at the end. (My favourite photography work in 2012)
(Apologies for the varying sizes of images. Unavoidable.)
And, yes, I'd recommend a ballot with five of any of these 22 films. Good work all throughout.
#22 No (Sergio Armstrong)
#21 Upstream Color (Shane Carruth)
#20 Side Effects (Steven Soderbergh)
#19 The Bling Ring (Christopher Blauvelt, Harris Savides)
#18 The Past (Mahmoud Kalari)
#17 Her (Hoyte van Hoytema)
#16 The Great Beauty (Luca Bigazzi)
#15 Spring Breakers (Benoît Debie)
#14 12 Years a Slave (Sean Bobbitt)
#13 Rush (Anthony Dod Mantle)
#12 World War Z (Ben Seresin)
#11 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Andrew Lesnie)
....the top ten after the jump....
#10 Prisoners (Roger Deakins)
#9 The Place Beyond the Pines (Sean Bobbitt)
#8 The Great Gatsby (Simon Duggan)
#7 Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (Bradford Young)
#6 Gravity (Emmanuel Lubezki)
this. Still, who really cares about the right way of loving something its goodness is fairly clear either way you spin it. And, goodness knows few things make me fall in love with cinematography as much as tricks with light and darkness.
#5 The Lone Ranger (Bojan Bazelli)
#4 Mother of George (Bradford Young)
#3 Great Expectations (John Mathieson)
#2 The Grandmaster (Philippe Le Sourd)
ise-en-scène which, to some extent, might make me wonder if it's the cinematography specifically that I'm thrilled with. But, I think it was Michael who said quality of the film aside, it is ridiculous to deny the visual splendour of this one, and he's right. Sure, the film has ace costume design, visual effects and production design but Le Sourd's camera is doing spectacular work making all those elements stand out. From the opening in the rain all the way through the years his camera is doing top-tier work.
#1 Inside Llewyn Davis (Bruno Delbonnel)
What was your favourite photography of 2013? Did it miss my long long-list?