The 95th Academy Awards Race: Best Cinematography

| February 14, 2023

The Nominees are . . . 
Darius Khondji for Bardo: The False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths
Mandy Walker for Elvis 

The Nominees are . . .
• Roger Deakins for Empire of Light
• James Friend for All Quiet on the Western Front
• Florian Hoffmeister for Tár
• Darius Khondji for Bardo: The False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths
• Mandy Walker for Elvis

For the first time in a decade, all of the D.P.s nominated for Best Cinematography come from foreign shores – Mandy Walker is from Australia; Florian Hoffmeister hails from Germany; Darius Khondji from Iran; and Roger Deakins and James friend from England.  They all have successfully nudged my pre-nom pick in this category out of the running, Greg Fraiser for The Batman.  I wasn’t the world’s biggest fan of that movie, but I thought his work was worthy of consideration.  Had it happened, Fraiser would have been a winner two years in a row – he won last year for Dune.

At any rate, here we are and if the Director’s Guild refused to break down the gender wall, the cinematographers certainly have.  The guild of cinematographers have some catching up to do.  This is the only category – besides Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, of course – in which a woman has never been so honored.  That may mean good news for Mandy Walker who paints the late-50s American landscape in pinks and blues before moving on the pastel colors of the 1960s.

Walker might very well be the film’s sole award (stay tuned) but if any of the fellas have a shot here, it may be first-time nominee James Friend who does a brilliant job of painting the French countryside like a lunar landscape, uprooted by the horror of the first world war in All Quiet on the Western Front.  It all depends on the sweep.  If Quiet sweeps, Friend will win.  Otherwise it goes to Walker.

The Winner: Mandy Walker for Elvis
The Darkhorse: James Friend for All Quiet on the Western Front

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.