Oscars 2012: Best Cinematography and Best Editing Predictions

My final technical predictions come in the Best Cinematography and Best Editing categories. The people whose names are recognized alongside these categories are pivotal in the filmmaking process. Most filmmakers work exclusively with one cinematographer or “director of photography” their entire careers. When a film turns out visually just as the director sees it, it’s thanks to the director of photography. A success as well as a strong working relationship can forge a trust that filmmakers simply treasure.

The same can be said in post-production. It can be some long and lonely months in the editing room and a great working relationship is key to crafting a final product that the director, producers and audiences will like.

Best Achievement in Cinematography

  • “The Artist” – Guillaume Schiffman
  • “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” – Jeff Cronenweth
  • “Hugo” – Robert Richardson
  • “The Tree of Life” – Emmanuel Lubezki
  • “War Horse” – Janusz Kaminski

After going seven years without working on a feature film, Jeff Cronenweth has scored his second straight nomination with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and a deserved one at that, but he’s a rookie on this list by comparison. He has more recognition than The Artist D.P. Guillaume Schiffman, but it’s not saying much when you compare him to the vets.

Emmanuel Lubezki has been nominated four times prior to The Tree of Life, his second collaboration with Terrence Malick. He’s also worked with another visual master, Alfonso Cuarón. Robert Richardson receives his seventh nomination for Hugo having previously won twice, once with Martin Scorsese for “The Aviator” and also “JFK,” one of his many collaborations with Oliver Stone. Then there’s War Horse D.P. Janusz Kaminski, who’s won two awards compared to just five nominations for his work with Steven Spielberg.

Although someone like Schiffman could pull a sneak attack thanks to the favor going for “The Artist,” Lubezki’s work falls on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. You also have to give credit to Richardson for working so splendidly with 3D. It had to take some serious planning to make the 3D work that well.

But in my opinion, this will be the Academy’s chance to award the film it loved but audiences despised. The photography on that film is really something to behold and by far its best attribute. It’s not a Best Picture nominee without it.

Prediction: The Tree of Life


Best Achievement in Film Editing

  • “The Artist” – Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius
  • “The Descendants” – Kevin Tent
  • “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” – Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
  • “Hugo” – Thelma Schoonmaker
  • “Moneyball” – Christopher Tellefsen
A silent film like as The Artist could be a surprise in a category like this. You also have to respect that Hazanavicius has an editing credit on this film, which is a testament to how this was his creation. He has the best shot among the first-time nominees that include Tent for The Descendants and Tellefsen for Moneyball.

The veteran of the group is Schoonmaker, who has won the last two times she was nominated—three times overall—each for Scorsese films. Hugo has a decisive advantage for this reason, and honestly should not be counted out of any technical awards for which it’s nominated.

Had it been nominated for Best Picture, I’d give much more of a chance to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Baxter and Wall won last year and for good reason, and when you consider that this film was three times as complex as “The Social Network” with its various changes in perspective and time, it should technically make them favorites again. It would be a deserved win.

Prediction: Hugo

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