October 20, 2016
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It is no longer news that Mauro Fiore, ASC took home an Oscar for his artful rendering of live-action images in Avatar. But, the reality is that cinematography tends to fly under the radar at the Academy Awards. Maybe it’s because none of the nominees was wearing a posh evening gown adorned with the label of a celebrity designer.

It was one of the more interesting cinematography competitions in the 82 year history of the Oscars. The other nominees were Barry Ackroyd for “The Hurt Locker,” Christian Berger, AAC for The White Ribbon, Bruno Delbonnel, AFC for “Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince” and Robert Richardson, ASC for “Inglourious Basterds.”

It was the first time the five nominees were born and raised in different countries. Fiore was born in Marzi, Italy, a small town with a population of about 1,500. His family moved to Chicago when he was 11 years old. The ASC after his name indicates that he is a member of the American Society of Cinematographers. ASC is an honorary organization with some 300 members by invitation based on their bodies of work.

Ackroyd was born and raised in Mancester, England. He has occasionally worked on U.S. films, but his main body of work was earned in his native land. Delbonnel was was born in Nancy, France. His family moved to Paris when he was 20. His body of work is a blend of U.S. and French films. The AFC after his name indicates that he is a member of the Association of French cinematographers.

Berger was born and raised in Innsbruck, Austria. The ACS after his name indicates that he is a member of the Austrian Society of Cinematgraphers. The White Ribbon and most other films in his body of work were produced in his native land.

Richardson was born and raised in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where he spent his youth. He now lives in Los Angeles. This was his sixth Oscar nomination. Richardson took top honors in 1991 for JFK and in 2004 for The Aviator.

The morale is that cinematography is a global language. The genres of the five films nominated this year varied from pure fantasy to harsh reality. They ranged from independent features produced with very limited resources to a $300 million-plus budget blockbuster. Ackroyd shot “The Hurt Locker,” which won Oscars in the Best Picture and Best Director categories in Super 16 film format. Fiore had two digital cameras on a rack, while shooting in 3-D format on sound stages. Richardson, Berger and Delbonnel created their imagery in 35 mm film format, but with radically different visual grammars. The morale of this story is that without artful cinematographey movies would be radio.

Photos: Richard Harbaugh / ©A.M.P.A.S.

About Bob Fisher

Bob Fisher was born and raised in Brooklyn. He earned a journalism degree from Long Island University, and began his career as a cub reporter at the New York Herald Tribune. Fisher was drafted into the U.S. Army in mid-1958. He served for two years as a journalist at an army base in Anniston, Alabama.That experience gave him a different view of the world. Several weeks before he was scheduled to complete his military obligation, Fisher answered an ad for a six-month job in Los Angeles writing a book based on interviews with members of the American Society of Cinematographers. Fisher had no idea what cinematographers did. The attraction was getting to see Los Angeles. Fisher estimates that he has subsequently written between 3,000 and 4,000 magazine articles about cinematographers and other narrative and documentary filmmakers. He is one of seven living honorary members of the American Society of Cinematographers. Four of the others are astronauts.

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  • March 8, 2010 | Permalink |

    I was happy to see Avatar take home this award….the movements in that film were awesome, so he deserved it

  • March 9, 2010 | Permalink |

    The Oscars are the super bowl of the entertainment and fashion industries. It is one of my most favorite times to be in California because our community is buzzing with energy, excitement and cat fights! From bribery to backstabbing, fashion designers will do virtually anything to dress an A-lister on Oscar night.

    5 BEST

    1. Meryl Streep – She has not looked the best this award season but she nailed this look! Awesome!

    2. Tom Ford – What beautiful clothing, face and voice! His talent makes the world a more beautiful place!

    3. Sandra Bullock – What can I say – glamourous, humble and talented!

    4. Demi Moore – It was so nice seeing her on the show! With that body she could wear a black garbage bag, belt it and look HOT!

    5. Jennifer Lopez – she is an elegant, red carpet master that can pull off a big dress!

    5 WORST

    1. George Clooney – What a spoiled little pussy bitch! He looks like someone shit under his nose! He needs a lesson on being gracious and gratefull!

    2. Charlize Theron – Wearing a dress with rose buds over your breasts is not the way to make your clevage pop!?

    3. Robert Downey Jr – The blue bow tie and matching blue glasses look more like the Mad Hatter in Alice In Wonderland than Ironman!

    4. Sandy Powell – The costume designer that won for “The Young Victoria”, delivered a smug and ungrateful speech! Oh, and her outfit just added to the pain, agony and suffering!

    5. Barbra Streisand – I love Babs but her dress was a lace overload! I thought I was at the flea market in Istanbul.

    *Congratulations to the producers Adam Shankman and Bill Mechanic because the 82nd Academy Awards was one of the most beautiful Oscars, ever! The crystal theme was MAGIC! Thank you all and see you next year starting at the Sundance Film Festival 2011.

    J.R. Holbrook
    http://www.johnrobertholbrook.com or http://www.festivalafterdark.blogspot.com

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