Official Nominations: Cries And Whispers. The Exorcist. Jonathan Livingston Seagull. The Sting. The Way We Were.
The official winner this year was Sven Nykvist for Cries And Whispers – arguably a career award for his overall work with Bergman, though there is no doubting that the transition to colour use is stunning here. The Exorcist isn’t a film I typically think of when I think of award-winning cinematography, though once again there are a range of shots which encapsulate claustrophobia and heighten tension. Jonathan Livingston Seagull is not good, but again no getting away from how good it looks at times, while The Sting is at least notable for looking good, even if I attribute this more to the authenticity of costumes, sets, and music. Finally, The Way We Were seems like an unnecessary inclusion to drum up support for Streisand, Pollack, and Redford.
My Winner: Cries And Whispers
My Nominations: Cries And Whispers. The Exorcist. Enter The Dragon. Badlands. Don’t Look Now. High Plains Drifter. The Wicker Man.
Only two migrate to my list. Joining them is Bruce Lee’s biggest film Enter The Dragon, a film which still looks superb today with wonderful shots tracking the progress of the tournament from high above, interspersed with the close up work for the central fights. Malick’s debut Badlands is beautiful at regular intervals along with both Don’t Look Now and The Wicker Man which showcase optimal usage of location. Finally, another film whose power is derived in a great part from location is High Plains Drifter. I’d be happy with any of those last four films picking up the win.
My Winner: Badlands
Let us know in the comments which film of 1973 you think deserves the Best Cinematography award!
Official Nominations: Cabaret. 1776. Butterflies Are Free. The Poseidon Adventure. Travels With My Aunt.
Cabaret gets the expected nomination and win but there’s only one winner in this category for me. 1776 is not a film many will remember or know, a musical overshadowed by Minnelli, Fosse and co. It’s based around George Washington and all that stuff, but it’s a bit crap. I’ve no idea why Butterflies Are Free is nominated here and I could say the same for Travels With My Aunt.
My Winner: The Poseidon Adventure.
My Nominations: Cabaret. The Poseidon Adventure. Aguirre, The Wrath Of God. Cries And Whispers. Deliverance. The Way Of The Dragon. The Godfather. Images. The Last House On The Left.
Only the big two make it onto my list. Cries And Whispers would get the official win next year, but as it’s a 1972 film it makes my list here. The Godfather bizarrely was not nominated so we fix that mishap, The Way Of The Dragon deserves at least a nomination for Cinematography – maybe the only realistic category it deserved to get a shot in, and Aguirre is a gorgeous film underrepresented by The Academy. Images is a very interesting piece with an interesting look. The Last House On The Left is stark in imagery and tone but is a perfect example of making beauty out of something ugly. My win goes to Vilmos Zsignmond for Deliverance – he would get an official win later but his work here deserved attention.
My Winner: Deliverance
Let us know in the comments which film you pick as winner of the Best Cinematography of 1972!
Official Nominations: Fiddler On The Roof. The French Connection. The Last Picture Show. Nicholas And Alexandra. Summer of ’42.
A decent bunch to choose from this year, with Oswold Morris picking up the official win for Fiddler On The Roof. It’s okay, with a few particular shots which stand out but it isn’t something I feel should get the win, especially given the competition. The French Connection is a much better choice, the gritty style perfected and peppered with some scenes made more iconic by the camera work. The Last Picture Show with it’s gorgeous black and white’s giving a feel of both nostalgia and a sense of an era fading away is another fine choice, while Nicholas And Alexandra is the expected epic nomination of the year. Summer Of ’42 falls into a similar bracket with The Last Picture Show, except offering heated colour and shots which spread into the distance like a summer’s day which never wants to end.
My Winner: The French Connection
My Nominations: The French Connection. Summer of ’42. The Last Picture Show. A Clockwork Orange. Dirty Harry. Duel. A Fistful Of Dynamite. Vanishing Point. Walkabout.
I have to add a bunch of classics to my list – A Clockwork Orange being iconic for a variety of reasons, including John Alcott’s cinematography. Cinematography isn’t the first thing to pop into the mind when you think of Dirty Harry but it features consistently strong work throughout, while Duel is a film which relies heavily on how the camera moves and what it allows us to see. A Fisftul Of Dynamite is Leone and Western, this time with Giuseppe Ruzzolini helping out while Vanishing Point allows for free-flowing shots of cars and the stripped away highways of America. Finally, my winner is Walkabout with Nicholas Roeg showcasing the outback as equally dangerous, haunting, hypnotic, beautiful – a freedom which could swallow you whole.
My Winner: Walkabout
Let us know in the comments which film of 1971 you would pick as the winner of Best Cinematography!
Official Nominations: Ryan’s Daughter. Patton. Airport. Tora! Tora! Tora! Women In Love
Some good picks this year, but Lean’s film is really the only choice with Freddie Young picking up the official win for giving Americans false ideals of what Ireland looks like on an average day. The other movies are each fine efforts and each look great, but they don’t stand a chance here.
My Winner: Ryan’s Daughter
My Nominations: Ryan’s Daughter. Patton. Tora! Tora! Tora! The Conformist. Little Big Man. MASH. Zabriskie Point.
It’s a close one between Freddie Young and Vittorio Storaro. In the end, Ryan’s Daughter simply isn’t unique enough – while it looks great, it doesn’t do anything new – The Conformist takes its visuals to the next level making them an indelible part of the story and is unique. Storaro also did The Spider Stratagem and The Bird With The Crystal Plumage this year – the man is a beast. I add MASH and Little Big Man, but they have no hope of winning – the only other possibility being Zabriskie Point with Alfio Contini’s stunning work deserving of praise.
My Winner: The Conformist
Let us know in the comments which film of 1970 you think has the Best Cinematography!
Official Nominations: Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid. Anne of The Thousand Days. Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice. Hello Dolly. Marooned.
A clear winner this year, with Anne Of The Thousand Days, Hello Dolly, and Marooned more notable for their interior scenes. I’ve no idea what Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice is doing here.
My Winner: Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid
My Nominations: Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid. Battle Of Britain. The Gypsy Moths. The Italian Job. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The Wild Bunch. Downhill Racer.
I’ve only brought over one film from the official list and I’ve added a few which seem much more deserving than those who did get a nod. The Italian Job speaks for itself, with all those exterior car scenes looking wonderful – the same goes for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Battle Of Britain’s features stunning flying scenes photographed by Freddie Young, while in Downhill Racer Brian Probyn compares and contrasts the vast emptiness of the outdoors with the torment and void of its characters. The Wild Bunch of course gets a vote, while The Gypsy Moths does for skydiving photography what Battle of Britain did for aircraft.
My Winner: Downhill Racer.
Let us know in the comments which movie of 1969 is your winner for Best Cinematography!
Official Nominations: Romeo And Juliet. Ice Station Zebra. Star! Oliver! Funny Girl.
There is one obvious outcast here, and that one will obviously be my choice of winner. The other nominees each feel and look too much like stage adaptations to deserve a Best Cinematography win under my criteria so therefore my winner is Ice Station Zebra and Daniel L Fapp.
My Winner: Ice Station Zebra
My Nominations: Ice Station Zebra. Planet Of The Apes. Bullitt. Hell In The Pacific. Once Upon A Time In The West. The Charge Of The Light Brigade.
It’s bizarre that in a year filled with so many stunningly shot films that The Academy fell back upon its old traditional ways and awarded wins and nominations to films which would look essentially identical on stage as they do on film. In that light, my list is almost completely different to the official one, with Planet Of The Apes shooting Earth as a foreign land and offering one of cinema’s most memorable shots and Bullitt showcasing a violent San Francisco in an all American ultra-modern fashion. Hell In The Pacific is a frequently beautiful looking film which doesn’t shy away from showing the wrath of nature and how insignificant man is, while The Charge Of The Light Brigade looks great even if it is largely forgettable. My winner is no surprise, with Tonino Delli Colli again working wonders with Sergio Leone in Once Upon A Time In The West to depict wide barren lands sparsely populated with distant bandits and assassins who seem to hang on the edge of a horizon.
My Winner: Once Upon A Time In The West
Over to you, which movie of 1968 do you think has the Best Cinematography? Let us know in the comments!
Official Nominations: Bonnie And Clyde. Camelot. Doctor Dolittle. In Cold Blood. The Graduate.
An unsurprising mix of movies make the cut this year, with Bonnie And Clyde picking up the official win, Burnett Guffey ensuring that his experience of shooting noir films gave a certain edge to the proceedings. Both Camelot and Doctor Doolittle look stunning but are let down in other areas by being too generic. The shooting of authentic locales with black and white photography gives In Cold Blood a unique look while The Graduate manages to capture a moment in time which remains both timeless and fixed.
My Winner: Bonnie And Clyde.
My Nominations: Bonnie And Clyde. Doctor Dolittle. In Cold Blood. The Graduate. One Million Years BC. Le Samourai. The Fearless Vampire Killers. The Shooting.
I’ve added a few unlikely but worthy picks for my personal nominations, with perhaps the most obvious being One Million Years B.C – a film known for iconic visual moments rather than plot, acting, or direction. The Mediterranean beaches are transformed into realistically threatening pre-historic vistas and as a child watching we never doubt that what we’re seeing isn’t real. The rarely seen The Shooting has a stylized vision which few Westerns have emulated while Le Samourai went on to be highly influential. Finally, The Fearless Vampire Killers is a bizarre mixture of surreal dreamlike imagery and Hammer style atmospheric shots.
My Winner: The Fearless Vampire Killers.
Which film of 1967 do you feel has the Best Cinematography? Let us know in the comments!