Mauro Fiore for Avatar
Bruno Delbonnel for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Barry Ackroyd for The Hurt Locker
Robert Richardson for Inglourious Basterds
Christian Berger for The White Ribbon
I have a slight problem in this category as I’ve been debating whether Avatar should really be eligible for a cinematography prize given that everything being filmed has been created. There has always, to me, seemed a need for the cinematography prize to be handed out on the basis of the photographer having captured what is tangibly in front of him. I’ve come around to the idea, however, as Avatar’s spectacular look is achieved, if not through literally filming the world of Pandora, through the advice and guidance that the cinematographer would have given. This advice will have contributed to the immersive nature of the film and, so, I’ll happily accept and applaud Fiore’s nomination.
Having said that, I think the award is on its way to Barry Ackroyd. He won at the BAFTAs and, given the construction of the film and the sense of space that he and director Bigelow had, he would completely deserve the prize. I think Fiore is the main competition, though there is potential dark-horse potential from Bruno Debonnel for his work on Harry Potter.
Richardson would be a surprise winner. Inglourious Basterds is beautifully shot, but there isn’t that same sense of immersion that both The Hurt Locker and Avatar have. It’s a more traditional style of shooting, which is not a negative in any way from my perspective, but it just won’t have the cache. The White Ribbon, like everything by Haneke, is impeccably shot, but there is surely no chance that his film will be able to oust those top two contenders.
Predicted Winner: Barry Ackroyd for The Hurt Locker