For those of you who keep score of every category on the Oscar ballot, take note of cinematography. Last year, the American Society of Cinematographers gave the award to Wally Pfister for "Inception," and he went on to win the Academy Award.
"The Artist," "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," "Hugo," "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," and "The Tree of Life" all received nominations. Snubs continue for Steven Spielberg's "War Horse," shot by two-time Oscar winner Janusz Kaminski ("Schindler's List," "Saving Private Ryan"). Also ignored was Manuel Alberto Claro for "Melancholia," a visually exciting and original film.
The awards-challenged "Tree of Life" and "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" both got a boost from the ASC. While it was no surprise that cinematographers recognized "The Artist" and "Hugo," the recognition of Jeff Cronenweth for "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" was noteworthy. He was also nominated last year for "The Social Network," and that helps in this year's race.
Best guess for a winner: "The Tree of Life" because of the five, it's the most radical, and the ASC has no reason to vote conventionally. This is its sandbox.
The full list of nominees:
Guillaume Schiffman, AFC, "The Artist"
Jeff Cronenweth, ASC, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
Robert Richardson, ASC, "Hugo"
Hoyte van Hoytema, FSF, NSC, "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"
Emmanuel Lubezki, ASC, AMC, "The Tree of Life"
The 26th Annual ASC Awards for Outstanding Cinematography will be held February 12, 2012.
See the trailer to 'The Artist':