Flixist Awards 2011: Best Cinematography


Without good cinematography, the films we love would be diminished considerably. Consider this year’s contenders, for example. Would Hugo be nearly as memorable as a story of a young orphan that finds a family in a strange old man with a secret, wonderful past? Would The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo still command such a sense of dread and isolation without its cold, bleak visuals? Would Drive be nearly as evocative without its sexy, low look at Los Angeles?

Hell, without cinematography, we might as well be listening to radio. This year’s nominees include some stunningly beautiful, but only one can take home the Golden Dactyl for Best Cinematography.

And it’s Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life by a landslide. While I thought the film as whole was one of the worst of the year, even I could not deny that it brings such a gorgeous palette and style to screen, such that wasn’t nearly matched by the other releases of the year. Emmanuel Lubezki’s stunning work, ranging from a July 4th gathering so steeped in nostalgia that is might as well be yellowing at the edges to the literal birth of the universe, shows a commanding display of artistry that one must stand up and take notice. Sometimes, a film will come along where the visuals are secondary to the story being told or the performances showcased. The Tree of Life is a film where the cinematography is almost as important a character as any human actor.

While the film took stiff competition from Drive, also a beautiful film, The Tree of Life could not be denied. What did you think deserved to win Best Cinematography?