King of Film Awards: Crowning the Duke/Duchess of Directing and the Count of Cinematography

 

Filmmaking is very much a collaborative effort, but without the guidance of a director many of our nominated projects would have been doomed from the start. It is the job of the director to push their actors to get the most out of them. In addition to that, the director, with the aid of a cinematographer, is responsible for turning the prose of the screenwriter into visions of grandeur.

Duke/Duchess of Directing Nominees:

Ben Affleck, Argo

Paul Thomas Anderson, The Master

Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty

Sam Mendes, Skyfall

Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight Rises

David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

Steven Spielberg, Lincoln

Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained

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2012 was filled with magnificently directed films. Ben Affleck follows up Gone Baby Gone and The Town with a taut, suspenseful, and at times funny look into the Iran Hostage Crisis. Paul Thomas Anderson explored the human psyche with The Master. Kathryn Bigelow gave us an inside look at the decade-long hunt for Osama Bin Laden with Zero Dark Thirty. Christopher Nolan brought the Batman legend to a fitting conclusion with The Dark Knight Rises. Sam Mendes, taking some cues from Nolan and his Batman trilogy, induced new life into the Bond franchise with Skyfall. David O. Russell embraced the crazy in all of us with Silver Linings Playbook. Steven Spielberg paid tribute to a great American president with Lincoln. Quentin Tarantino explored racism in a very real way with Django Unchained.

And, the Royal Crown of Merit goes to: David O. Russell. Russell not only brought the best out of his actors, but by using his patented extreme close-ups and handheld camera movements he drew us in, and made us feel as if we we're fully entrenched in the lives of the characters onscreen.

Count of Cinematography Nominees:

Roger Deakins, Skyfall

Greig Fraser, Zero Dark Thirty

Janusz Kaminski, Lincoln

Mihai Malaimare Jr., The Master

Wally Pfister, The Dark Knight Rises

Robert Richardson, Django Unchained

Masanobu Takayanagi, Silver Linings Playbook

Roman Vasyanov, End of Watch

A cinematographer is responsible for assisting the director in capturing spectacular visuals. To be truly great at this one must check their ego at the door and be willing to put the directors goals above their own. In 2012, we saw a great number of cinematographers who we're willing to do just that, and because of that we we're treated to a vast crop of beautifully photographed films.

Roger Deakins aided Sam Mendes in creating an ominous tone in Skyfall, using a palette of grays and blacks. Greig Fraser gave Kathryn Bigelow a helping hand photographing the decade-long manhunt in Zero Dark Thirty with muted colors and using night vision lenses for the nighttime raid. Janusz Kaminski assisted Steven Spielberg with the filming of Lincoln, using hues of black and white. Mihai Malaimare Jr. lent his talents to Paul Thomas Anderson, crafting a dreamlike atmosphere in The Master. Wally Pfister, long-time Nolan collaborator, suited up one last time for the Batman trilogy, photographing The Dark Knight Rises with dark hues, allowing the sun to peak through at moments, giving the film a harrowing, fatalistic yet heroic feel. Robert Richardson, once again partnered with Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained, making the Antebellum South pop with vivid colors. Masanobu Takayanagi teamed up with David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook, giving the film a feeling of warmth, at certain moments looking like the scenes are outlined in gold. Roman Vasyanov worked with David Ayer on End of Watch, using muted colors and filming with portable digital cameras, giving the film a documentary-like look.

And, the Royal Crown of Merit goes to: Days ago, we we're ready to give the crown to Greig Fraser for his stunning work on Zero Dark Thirty, especially for the raid, which was filmed using night vision lenses during the pitch-black of the early morning hours without the use of additional set lighting. But, we had a change of heart and chose to crown Roman Vasyanov for his expert work on David Ayers End of Watch. With his exceptional use of portable digital cameras, Vasyanov made us feel as if we we're patrolling the streets of Los Angeles right beside the characters onscreen.

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