Best Cinematography – 1975

Official Nominations: Barry Lyndon. The Day Of The Locust. Funny Lady. The Hindenburg. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.

One of these is not like the others. The Academy just had to nominate a Streisand movie for something so Funny Lady gets five nominations, this the least deserved. I don’t know if One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest really needs to be here either, but The Hindenburg is worthy even if it isn’t all that great a film. The Day Of The Locust is the only real competition here – while the set design is the highlight, the overall look of the film is strong enough to stand out. Barry Lyndon is the only choice here, with John Alcott and Kubrick working in tandem to create one of the most beautiful looking films of all time – from gorgeous interior lighting to the wide exteriors of various locations it’s of the easiest wins in this category.

My Winner: Barry Lyndon

My Nominations: Bite The Bullet. The Passenger. Barry Lyndon. Jaws. Picnic At Hanging Rock. Deep Red.

There are a number of notable snubs this year – Jaws being the most obvious  omission. When I was young, the visions of Amity, the visions of the beach and the ocean were my first glimpses of what North America Summers really looked like – in Northern Ireland it’s grey 90% of the year, so those hazy visuals were like  dream. Where the look truly excels from a technical standpoint is the variety of shots – not only the famous zoom to Brody, but the underwater creeping shots, the on the surface bobbing, the longer shots conveying the isolation of the three men in the ocean, and more. From a purely visual point of view, The Passenger may be the only film this year to rival Barry Lyndon, with long shots which are never less than stunning and make you wonder how they were achieved.

Bite The Bullet is all but forgotten now, a shame given it was directed by Richard Brooks and features Gene Hackman, James Coburn, Jan Michael Vincent, and Candice Bergen. It’s basically a bunch of different characters involved in a cross country horse race – think Cannonball Run but without the comedy and cars, but it looks great and showcases plenty of stunning locations. Deep Red, while not as visually stunning is certain later work, features Dario Argento honing his style alongside Luigi Kuveiller. Finally, Picnic At Hanging Rock dazzles not only because of its uncertain ending and chilling tone, but because of the way the cinematography complements the ambiguity, everything looking idyllic and dreamlike.

My Winner: Barry Lyndon

Let us know your winner in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Best Cinematography – 1975

  1. John Charet April 18, 2019 / 1:23 am

    I would choose John Alcott’s work on Barry Lyndon as well. Interesting piece of trivia for you: Alcott photographed a majority of the scenes without electric light. Most it was done by use of candle light. Interesting isn’t it? 🙂 Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    • carlosnightman April 18, 2019 / 7:26 am

      It’s that painstaking dedication which pays off beautifully

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