Oscars 2016: ASC Nominations

A lot of shortlists today. They’re coming fast and furious in time for nominations day next week. We begin with the American Society of Cinematographers and their nominations.

I haven’t particularly clocked what the best shot films were this year, and without a mental checklist of the big names of the past few years/most years (no Chivo, no Deakins) having films this year, I’m feeling like the list they chose is pretty much chalk. It feels like the obvious choices. But when pressing myself for alternatives, I couldn’t really think of a whole lot. I’m sure I could if I really thought about it, but on an initial attempt, I feel like they did okay.

Here are your ASC nominees:

Arrival

La La Land

Lion

Moonlight

Silence

Arrival was always gonna make it, as was La La Land. Silence always seemed like a good bet. Lion was 60/40 for. Moonlight is a solid entry, albeit somewhat surprising. I think it could be nominated, but I’m not sure if it will.

Going to the DPs themselves…

Bradford Young has never been nominated for anything. His best known efforts before this are A Most Violent Year, Selma, and Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. He also has the job shooting the Han Solo film. Which is cool for him. It’s certainly looking like he’s about to get his first nomination.

Rodrigo Prieto was nominated once before, for Brokeback Mountain. He did not win, and lost to, if memory serves, Memoirs of a Geisha. He shot Frida, 25th Hour, 8 Mile, Babel (and all Inarritu’s stuff, pre-Birdman), Argo, The Wolf of Wall Street and Passengers. Solid work all around, and kind of surprising he’s only been nominated once. I’d be surprised if this weren’t his second nomination.

Linus Sandgren is an up and coming DP. Promised Land, American Hustle, Joy and now La La Land. Definitely gonna get his first nomination (and maybe win). This is the first time he’s been nominated for anything, too. Probably gonna see a lot more of these in the future, the rate he’s going.

James Laxton has done a lot of indie stuff, most notably Kevin Smith’s last two horror movies. So there’s that. I generally get worried when someone like this gets ASC love, because I feel like they tend to stick with people they know and like. Though Moonlight may be too big a film to ignore. We’ll see.

Greig Fraser looks like he just missed out on this list a few times. Bright Star, Killing Them Softly, Zero Dark Thirty, Foxcatcher, and Rogue One! He should definitely end up with his first nomination here. Probably for this, but maybe for Rogue One? (It’ll be for this.) Which will be interesting. We might have entirely first time nominees here, outside of Prieto, if this list holds up.

Other contenders…

Jackie — hard to not think of this as one of the best shot films of the year. The DP is Stephane Fontaine, known for A Prophet, Elle and Captain Fantastic. This is a terrific job and could easily make it on over almost any of the other potential nominees.

Hell or High Water — They like this film, and could easily put it on the Cinematography category too without anyone being upset. Giles Nuttgens shot this. He shot Battlefield Earth. (He did, though.) He actually hasn’t done a whole lot that people would really recognize.

Nocturnal Animals — Seamus McGarvey. Twice nominated. For Atonement and Anna Karenina. He shot Godzilla too. He’s good. Oh, and The Hours. He does good work. I could see this happening.

Hacksaw Ridge — Simon Duggan. Never nominated. Don’t think this is the one. I mention it because it could happen, but it’s worth keeping in the conversation. This feels like one of those contenders that never pans out. Like Live by Night. Bob Richardson shot that, but I don’t think that has a chance. Keep this as a fringe contender but I don’t think it happens.

Hail Caesar — Deakins. Never rule out Deakins. Though at this point, if Deakins doesn’t have a chance to win, I don’t really want to see him (and by extension, me) get his heart broken by losing yet again.

Right now, I would say your likely nominees are: Arrival, La La Land, Lion, Silence and…Nocturnal Animals. I might change my mind and go back to Moonlight or Hell or High Water or Jackie, but that’s what I’m feeling right now.

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