This category could go so many different ways. Sometimes Oscar nominates strictly for the beauty, and other times I see them nominate for the trickery of it all, and then there are moments where they nominate something for the sheer fact that they loved the movie and everyone scratches their heads wondering why the hell that movie was nominated in this category.
‘The King’s Speech’ anyone.
And then you have Oscar’s recent trend of embracing 3D cinematography that is almost entirely CGI. I’ll never understand why on earth ‘Life of Pi’ was not only nominated here, but won. Whatever. We all know who is winning this, so why prolong it any longer.
Still, I wonder about a few films. Will ‘Rush’ be too claustrophobic? Will ‘12 Years a Slave’ be too auteur? With ‘The Monuments Men’ be too bland? Will ‘All is Lost’ be too small? Will ‘Captain Phillips’ be too chaotic? Really, any of those five could pop up and yet I’m still left wondering if they will, and at whose expense. You don’t have to be a Best Picture nominee to land in this category, but it helps, and ‘The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford’ gives me hope that something as un-Oscary as a Steve McQueen film could land here (both ‘Shame’ and ‘Hunger’ were brilliantly shot). I’m still dubious, but the possibility is there. Something like ‘12 Years a Slave’ probably stands a better chance in this category than any other, to be honest.
Still, I’m thinking it will miss in favor of these five:
Like I said, we all know who is winning this. The recent trend in this category makes predicting the winner this far out all the more easy. The clips look fantastic, and this is all about those visual shots. I’m not sure it’ll deserve it (I hate this ‘green screen’ cinematography wins) but the rich visual scope won’t hurt.
2. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
The trailer definitely embellishes the visual wonderment of this film. It looks astonishingly pretty, and Oscar likes that. Besides, if this is going to be a Best Picture contender, it will need support from the guilds and this looks like the best place for that to happen.
3. The Counselor
While my faith in the film as a whole has waned with the recent trailer, the fact that it is a stunning piece to look at hasn’t. It calls to mind ‘No Country for Old Men’ in visual depth, and that film was nominated here. Besides, you don’t have to be a Best Picture contender to land here, you just have to be visually undeniable.
4. The Wolf of Wall Street
Scorsese films usually have a great eye, and the trailer makes this look to be no exception. There is usually a more standard yet inventive piece in the mix, and with the barrage of ‘pretty landscape’ type films in contention, this may be the film that snags the contemporary slot.
5. Inside Llewyn Davis
The Coen Brothers make beautiful movies. That is a fact. The blue hughs used in this film are deep and create and individuality that will most likely get noticed, especially if ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ gets into Best Picture. My only worry is that the size of the production company is going to limit its overall Oscar successes.