Roger Deakins inched closer to the likes of fellow cinematographers Leon Shamroy and Charles B. Lang Jr. Thursday morning by picking up his twelfth Oscar nomination to date, for his work on Angelina Jolie's “Unbroken.” But where Shamroy and Lang each picked up some hardware in their day, Deakins – one of the most celebrated artists behind the camera today – is still looking for his first.
But he doesn't bog down in that. In fact, he's most eager to discuss the other work nominated alongside his today when chatting in the wake of the nominations announcement. Like the Polish entry “Ida,” for instance, which was recognized by BAFTA this year and with a special ASC award last year, yet few were expecting it to figure in today. “I think that's fantastic,” Deakins says. “I thought that was a great film. I think 'Leviathan' should have been in there, too. But I'm so pleased Dick Pope is in there for 'Mr. Turner.' He's one of my oldest friends. We started shooting documentaries together many, many years ago.”
He also mentioned Robert Elswit's work on “Nightcrawler” as particularly noteworthy, adding context to boot. “I can see how difficult that film would have been on that budget and what they were trying to achieve,” he says. “Like Dick on 'Mr. Turner,' that wasn't a huge budget at all. I was working on a budget of $60 million [on 'Unbroken']. The disparity is just enormous. So what Dick pulled off, or what the cinematographers did on 'Ida,' it was great.”
While Deakins may be searching for his first Oscar, Emmanuel Lubezki – who landed his seventh nomination Thursday – could well be in line for his second win in a row after “Gravity” last year. The magic trick of “Birdman” has been a dazzler all season, but talk to Lubzeki about this stuff and he just seems to think it's a foreign language.
“I love all of the movies,” he says. “Obviously I'm very honored to be nominated with them. But I don't know how these things work. How can you pick one over the other? I admire a lot of the other cinematographers who were nominated and I just hope I get a chance to be with a lot of them and give them a hug.”
How do you think the Best Cinematography race is going to pan out? Will Lubezki cruise to a win or could Deakins (or someone else) surprise?