Cinematography isn’t the sexiest of Oscar categories, but film buffs (and filmmakers) certainly follow it. More than anyone else, cinematographers are the ones responsible for how a film actually looks.
If there’s a name among this year’s contenders that might ring a bell, it’s Roger Deakins. He’s a 66-year-old Brit from a small fishing village who has worked on many major films, from “Nineteen Eighty-Four” to “The Shawshank Redemption” to “Skyfall.” The Coen brothers have used him 12 times, including for this year’s “Hail, Caesar!” In recent years he has served as a visual consultant on such animated films as “WALL-E,” “Rise of the Guardians” and the “How to Train Your Dragon” franchise.
Deakins is regarded as a master of his craft — Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin have both said Deakins’ involvement in the thriller “Sicario” was a major reason they joined the film — yet he’s never won an Oscar. He’s been nominated 13 times, including for “Fargo,” “Skyfall” and now “Sicario.”
As it happens, the award is predicted to go to Emmanuel Lubezki for “The Revenant,” but Deakins may not be too upset about it. Back in 2008, on the eve of yet another Oscar loss, he told London’s Guardian, “I’m happy where I am: a kid from Torquay working on amazing films.”