Best Cinematography – 1971

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

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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

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Let us know in the comments which film of 1971 you would pick as the winner of Best Cinematography!

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Best Cinematography – 1970

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

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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

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Let us know in the comments which film of 1970 you think has the Best Cinematography!

Best Cinematography – 1969

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

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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.

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Let us know in the comments which movie of 1969 is your winner for Best Cinematography!

Best Cinematography – 1968

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

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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

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Over to you, which movie of 1968 do you think has the Best Cinematography? Let us know in the comments!

Best Cinematography: 1967

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.

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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.

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Which film of 1967 do you feel has the Best Cinematography? Let us know in the comments!

Best Cinematography: 1965

Once again the award was split between colour and BW films.

Official Nominations: BW: Ship Of Fools. In Harm’s Way. King Rat. Morituri. A Patch Of Blue. Colour: Dr. Zhivago. The Agony And The Ecstasy. The Great Race. The Greatest Story Ever Told. The Sound Of Music.

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As was typical for this category, most of the nominations fall under the epic style. In Harm’s Way, King Rat, The Agony And The Ecstasy etc etc are all epics of a sweeping nature featuring large casts, budgets, sets, and locations. Ship Of Fools is perhaps a surprise official winner as much of the film takes place inside the ship, while it was a closer race in the colour category as each of the nominations is a worthy winner.

My Winner: BW: King Rat. Colour:  The Sound Of Music.
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My Nominations: Alphaville. Dr Zhivago. The Flight Of The Phoenix. For A Few Dollars More. King Rat. The Greatest Story Ever Told. The Sound Of Music.

I’ll add French New Wave thriller Alphaville to my list of nominations as it manages to transform Paris from a lush cosmopolitan city into a dark, foreboding entity. Flight Of The Phoenix and For A Few Dollars More also get nods for their respective takes on wide, all consuming shots.

My Winner: Alphaville.

Which film of 1965 do you feel has the Best Cinematography? Let us know in the comments!

Best Cinematography: 1964

Actual Nominations: BW: Zorba The Greek. Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte. The Americanization Of Emily. Night Of The Iguana. Fate Is The Hunter. Colour: My Fair Lady. Becket. Mary Poppins. Cheyenne Autumn. The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

The category was split into BW and color again this year with epics, musicals, and historical dramas featuring heavily. Zorba The Greek picked up the official BW win this year, with My Fair Lady picking up the color counterpart. Fate Is The Hunter is the odd one out here, a film based around the aftermath of a plane crash which has the odd inventive flashback. Rounding up the BW nominations are the more recognizable Hush Hush, The Americanization Of Emily,  and Night Of The Iguana. Once again the color category is more interesting as new techniques arrived making films even brighter, costumes and scenery more vibrant, and bringing characters and stories bursting to life. Narrowly missing out on the win is Mary Poppins, a film famous for its sights as well as it’s sounds. Becket and Molly Brown follow with a large scope, while Cheyenne Autumn is an undeservedly forgotten John Ford epic.

My Winner: BW: Night Of The Iguana (Gabriel Figueroa) Colour: Cheyenne Autumn (William H. Clothier)

My Nominations: Dr Strangelove. The Fall Of The Roman Empire. A Fistful Of Dollars. Onibaba. Zulu

A completely different list for me this time, mostly focussing on colour. Zulu’s wide shots offer breathtaking views of a deadly landscape and serve to compare the scale of the wilderness, ‘the enemy’, and the stronghold. A Fistful Of Dollars welcomes several Leone standards, with thanks to Massimo Dallamano and Federico G. Larraya, showcasing a much more seedy, yet typically sweaty Western world. Roman Empire gives a more traditional tour de force, while Onibaba and Dr Strangelove provide cold, chilling, almost stilted visuals

My Winner: A Fistful Of Dollars (Massimo Dallamano and Federico G Larraya)

Who is your winner for Best Cinematography of 1964? Let us know in the comments section!