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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

ASC Noms

Barry Ackroyd, BSC for

15 Responses to “ASC Noms”

  1. aris says:

    Larry Fong for Watchmen would have been a nice, and well-deserved, surprise.

  2. mutinyco says:

    Avatar is interesting. I remember there was some debate about Rings when Lesnie won because so much of what was on screen was digitally augmented.
    But with Avatar, at least half the movie is pure CGI (mo-cap included) — and the rest is basically bits and pieces shot in front of green screens and partial sets and blended with CGI. Unless they’re counting the mo-cap cameras, though I’d think of that as VFX.

  3. Shame people are incapable of recognizing “Antichrist” on any level due to some child-like squeamishness or inability to recognize great acting and camera work.

  4. The InSneider says:

    Surprised to see A Single Man ignored. Dave, what are your thoughts re: A Single Man. Does it have a chance at any noms outside of Firth and maybe Moore? I don’t think Moore’s work merits a nom but I DO think Firth gave THE BEST performance of the year. Why is it not gaining any traction for Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay (now that Invictus is dead, the 2 sci-fi movies D9 and Star Trek have been stealing its heat), Cinematography, etc. I thought it was a top-5 movie this year, but I woulda said the same about Doubt last year so maybe my tastes are all “jingle-jangle.” (Anyone get that reference?)

  5. LexG says:

    While watching AVATAR I didn’t know who shot it… and was delighted to see it was Mauro Fiore. If only because so many Cameron fanatics tout THEIR action director by putting down everyone else in the game, and here was Cameron himself using a (great) DP known for working with Michael Bay, Antoine Fuqua, Peter Berg, Renny Harlin, and on multiple Eli Samaha flicks. Fiore always did exciting, slick work on all those movies, and even gave “Center of the World” a distinctive look back in the early-00s days where handheld digital movies inherently looked like absolute shit blown up to film when you’d see them in the first theater on the right at the Sunset 5.
    FIORE POWER. Bay had him before Cameron. BOW.

  6. Dr Wally says:

    Public Enemies and Spinotti were stiffed here. Guess the bold use of HD video really was too controversial.

  7. David Poland says:

    Mutiny… probably more than 85% is CG. But what is missed is that the work requires an extended, but similar set of skills, when being done as photorealism, as a cinematographer, make-up artist, actor, etc uses.
    The question for the future is whether a crane is “real” and a virtual crane, created technologically, is not.
    Avatar is not a hybrid, like the films Zemeckis has been doing, which use mo-cap, but create most of the camera movement and design later. Avatar was shot using real-time capture. The shots were composed by Cameron on the set, with the actors. And the film was lit by a DP, not an animator, albeit in a digital environment.
    Agree on Antichrist, Don.
    And A Single Man never quite caught hold, InSneider. I thought it would more. It’s not my personal favorite, but I respect the work and it is beautiful crafted. The Weinsteins are too distracted and Tom Ford has been a bit too precious to make it happen.

  8. Eric says:

    The A Single Man trailer was probably the worst trailer I’ve seen in the last few years. And the poster proudly declared that it was “THE FIRST MOVIE FROM TOM FORD” or something like that.
    Now, I’m a movie-literate guy, and reasonably engaged in pop culture. And I had no idea who Tom Ford was until I looked him up on IMDB thirty seconds ago. So when I see a poster and a trailer blaring the name of somebody I’ve never heard of, the only conclusion I can make it that the person is a big fat pompous asshole who demanded to have his name all over the marketing.

  9. leahnz says:

    “here was Cameron himself using a (great) DP known for working with Michael Bay…”
    “Bay had him before Cameron. BOW.”
    known for working with michael bay? hardly. fiore photographed ONE otherwise crappy bay flick, lex. one. you’re getting your stupid-ass michael ‘should of’ bay boner into a woody for next to nothing
    re: the noms, the term is ‘compositing’ and fiore’s nod would seen to indicate the virtual camera has well and truly arrived

  10. mutinyco says:

    Actually, this year was pretty visually unmemorable. I might go with something like Hunger as my favorite camerawork.

  11. LexG says:

    “Inglourious Basterds” was one of my favorites of ’09, it’s a perfectly handsome movie, and I know Richardson is revered as a god… but I wouldn’t say it was especially popping with vibrant colors or creative lens effects or any particular visual “sheen.”
    Which leads to the question of, what DO people consider the cinematography? I tend to lean more toward those things — some maniac lenser mixing with reversal stock and grain and textures and colors and saturation, a la Rodrigo Prieto, Matthew Libatique, or Malik Sayeed. For others, it might be innovative camera movement; For others, composition. For some people, cinematography just means “pretty scenery lit through fog or against a sunset.”
    Nothing at all against John Toll, who’s a master, but for a good stretch of the ’90s he seemed to be nominated every year just for having been DP on a nature-based film with pretty trees.
    Back to IB, it doesn’t especially have Richardson’s trademark blown-out whites and pastel colors from his work for Stone or on the Kill Bills. It’s pretty naturalistic, almost in a 1960s/70s war epic kind of way, like QT picked out some grungy woods and RR filmed it as-is.
    Now later in the film, there’s that DePalma esque tracking/crane shot through the premiere party, and early on there are some Leone-esque compositions and that explicit shout-out to “The Searchers”… But I’d say 90% of the movie is shot as straight-on and unaffected as possible in a contemporary film; I’d even argue some of the smaller moments feel a little constricted and claustrophobic for such an “epic” movie — the projector booth scenes for one, and the pre-barroom rendezvous where Pitt’s complaining about basements. I guess I’m saying most of IB looks like a natural recording of un-spurced-up locales, where I tend to favor cinematography that aggressively tweaks the colors and images.

  12. movielocke says:

    Great cinematography is 70% lighting, 25% composition, 5% movement.
    When internet ignoramuses who’ve never been on a set jizz themselves over a long tracking shot because that’s “evidence” it is great cinematography I have to shake my head and chuckle.
    If you can’t see why John Toll’s staggering sense of lighting got him nomination after nomination, you don’t understand a single thing about cinematography. If all you see is trees, you’re missing the forest.
    then again, you’re not supposed to “see” lighting, unless you’re Dion Beebe, then you can get as flashy as you want and still earn praise.
    Spielberg blocks and composes every single shot and dictates the camera movement as well, but no one disputes that the great cinematography in his films is his doing, because his DPs light those shots and make them work in a way that Spielberg couldn’t. He may determine the proscenium, but his films have great cinematography because of Daviau, Kaminski or Slocombe.

  13. leahnz says:

    spielberg and kaminski must be able to finish each other’s sentences by now
    (probably not to the same degree as martin s. and thelma s., but how many films does it take for a collaboration to cross the line from epic to full-blown legend status? the ongoing spielberg/kaminski collaboration must be there by now)

  14. “The A Single Man trailer was probably the worst trailer I’ve seen in the last few years.”
    That’s funny Eric because so many people thought it was one of the best.
    “So when I see a poster and a trailer blaring the name of somebody I’ve never heard of, the only conclusion I can make it that the person is a big fat pompous asshole who demanded to have his name all over the marketing.”
    Tom Ford’s name is big in the fashion and LGBT pop culture worlds, which, for an arthouse picture, are two nicely sized niches.
    I’m glad The White Ribbon got nominated and I hope it can continue on to Oscar. Shame about Greig Fraser and Bright Star (he also did wonderful work on The Boys are Back). Also would have been nice to see something like The Road or, obviously, Antichrist show up.

  15. Eric says:

    Camel, everyone’s taste is going to be different, of course, and you can’t really talk somebody out of a gut feeling. So we’ll probably have to agree to disagree on the Single Man trailer. But just for the sake of discussion, here’s what I thought was wrong with it:
    1. It doesn’t tell you much of anything about the movie itself. No plot, no concept, no hook. I have no idea what the movie would be like or about. Isn’t the point of the trailer to sell me on something? I hate to sound like Chucky here, but the entire content of this thing was name-checking.
    2. Of course, there’s always the anti-trailer concept. Trailers can be little works of art but nothing sets off the bullshit detector quite like one that’s so assertive about its own artiness. It pushed the repeating Kubrick / PTA tone thing until it was grating.
    3. This one quotes Entertainment fucking Weekly on the movie’s supposed Oscar buzz. I can see marketing a movie based on nominations or actual Oscars, because there are audiences that put stock in that, but mere “Oscar buzz” is as weak as it gets.
    And, finally, 4. The aggressive “FIRST FILM FROM TOM FORD” thing that I mentioned above.
    I’m not saying you haven’t heard from “so many people” about this, but here’s my counter-anecdote: I turned to my friend in the theater after seeing it and whispered that it was an awful trailer, and he agreed. And then some random stranger two rows from me turns around and agrees, too! I can’t remember a trailer so grating that it actually united perfect strangers in opposition.
    I think the underlying issue for me here is that the trailer just puts no effort into enticing a viewer who wouldn’t already be sold on the movie itself. Just seems like a huge miscalculation to me.
    Cheers.

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“Well, actually, of that whole group that I call the post-60s anti-authority auteurs, a lot of them came from television. Peckinpah’s the only one whose television work represents his feature work. I mean, like the only one. Mark Rydell can direct a really good episode of ‘Gunsmoke’ and Michael Ritchie can direct a really good episode of ‘The Big Valley,’ but they don’t necessarily look like The Candidate. But Peckinpah’s stuff, even the scripts he wrote that he didn’t even direct, have a Peckinpah feel – the way I think there’s a Corbucci West – suggest a Peckinpah West. That even in his random episodes that he wrote for ‘Gunsmoke’ – it’s right there.”
~ Quentin Tarantino

“The thought is interrupted by an odd interlude. We are speaking in the side room of Casita, a swish and fairly busy Italian bistro in Aoyama – a district of Tokyo usually so replete with celebrities that they spark minimal fuss. Kojima’s fame, however, exceeds normal limits and adoring staff have worked out who their guest is. He stops mid-sentence and points up towards the speakers, delighted. The soft jazz that had been playing discreetly across the restaurant’s dark, hardwood interior has suddenly been replaced with the theme music from some of Kojima’s hit games. Harry Gregson-Williams’ music is sublime in its context but ‘Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots’ is not, Kojima acknowledges, terribly restauranty. He pauses, adjusting a pair of large, blue-framed glasses of his own design, and returns to the way in which games have not only influenced films, but have also changed the way in which people watch them. “There are stories being told [in cinema] that my generation may find surprising but which the gamer generation doesn’t find weird at all,” he says.
~ Hideo Kojima