ASC Nominates ‘Avatar’s Cinematography? I Offer Alternatives

Penelope Cruz in Nine as shot by Dion Beebe

Photo: The Weinstein Co.

The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) announced the finalists in contention for their 2010 awards and I am, for the most part, satisfied although while I didn’t express my distaste for Avatar‘s screenplay nomination (which I probably should have), I don’t see how Mauro Fiore’s work is considered one of the top five cinematographic feats of 2009.

First, for the nominees:

  • Avatar (Mauro Fiore)
  • The Hurt Locker (Barry Ackroyd)
  • Inglourious Basterds (Robert Richardson)
  • Nine (Dion Beebe)
  • The White Ribbon (Christian Berger)

Ackroyd’s work in The Hurt Locker, Richardson for Basterds and Beebe with Nine are all deserving. I love the black-and-white work and composition Michael Haneke and Berger employed for The White Ribbon whil I know some do not. However, Avatar? Let’s think of some replacements.

Looking around at comments on a variety of award-related website boards the big one many seem to be bringing up is Greig Fraser’s work on Bright Star. I loathed that film, but can’t disagree about the film’s design and visual appeal.

Roger Deakins is always one to consider, but seeing how his work on Revolutionary Road didn’t make the cut last year it will be no surprise if his similar work on the Coens’ A Serious Man is overlooked this year.

I think if you talk about Javier Aguirresarobe’s work on The Road you have to talk about Shane Hurlbut’s duties on Terminator Salvation. Both employ a similar visual style, while Hurlbut had plenty of action to consider, not to mention Christian Bale threatening to destroy his lights.

I guess the digital work of Dante Spinotti (Public Enemies) is out and I haven’t heard many championing Andrew Dunn (Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire) is out. So what’s left?

This isn’t me saying Fiore’s work in Avatar is lacking, I just don’t see it as one of the year’s five best.

Any thoughts? Do you think this is the list the Academy will announce on Tuesday, February 2 when the Oscar nominees occupy our time, or do you see a potential shake-up?


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