From the bravura lensing of The Hateful Eight, The Revenant, and Mad Max: Fury Road to the slow-burn mise en scène of Carol and Sicario, this year’s list of nominated cinematographers continued their deserving, if not predictable, reign over emerging directors of photography.
As a nine-time nominee and three-time winner, Robert Richardson’s ability to capture every muscular angle of Quentin Tarantino’s horrific chamber drama in gluttonous 70mm is undeniable. Similarly, no one doubts eight-time nominee and back-to-back winner Emmanuel Lubezki’s mastery of Steadicam; five-time nominee and winner for The English Patient John Seale’s flare for spectacle stoked to a bonfire in Mad Max: Fury Road; or thirteen-time nominee Roger Deakins’s place among those recognized for lifetime achievement in the medium.
Among such royalty, however, Edward Lachman’s subtle portraiture offers a humble critique of pedigree in the cinematography category that brilliantly mirrors the very motive of Todd Haynes’s return to melodrama in an age of sensationalism and pandering to expectations. While Cate Blanchett’s sultry turn as Carol has stolen the spotlight from the production’s many contributors much like Lachman’s fellow nominees have overshadowed his own contribution to the field; his clever identification with his subject, the quietly observational admirer Therese (Rooney Mara), achieves the rare level of sophistication worthy of an Academy Award.
Who will win: Emmanuel Lubezki, The Revenant
Who should win: Edward Lachman, Carol
Who should’ve been nominated: Benoît Debie, Love & Lars Skree, The Look of Silence