|Academy Award for Best Cinematography|
|Presented by||Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS)|
|Most recent winner||Erik Messerschmidt |
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In its first film season, 1927–28, this award (like others such as the acting awards) was not tied to a specific film; all of the work by the nominated cinematographers during the qualifying period was listed after their names. The problem with this system became obvious the first year, since Karl Struss and Charles Rosher were nominated for their work together on Sunrise but three other films shot individually by either Rosher or Struss were also listed as part of the nomination. In the second year, 1929, there were no nominations at all, although the Academy has a list of unofficial titles that were under consideration by the Board of Judges. In the third year, 1930, films, not cinematographers, were nominated, and the final award did not show the cinematographer's name.
Finally, for the 1931 awards, the modern system in which individuals are nominated for a single film each was adopted in all profession-related categories. From 1939 to 1967 with the exception of 1957, there were also separate awards for color and for black-and-white cinematography. After Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), the only black-and-white films to win since then are Schindler's List (1993), Roma (2018) and Mank (2020).
Floyd Crosby won the award for Tabu in 1931, which was the last silent film to win in this category. Hal Mohr won the only write-in Academy Award ever, in 1935 for A Midsummer Night's Dream. Mohr was also the first person to win for both black-and-white and color cinematography.
No winners are lost, although some of the earliest nominees (and of the unofficial nominees of 1928–29) are lost, including The Devil Dancer (1927), The Magic Flame (1927), and Four Devils (1928). The Right to Love (1930) is incomplete, and Sadie Thompson (1927) is incomplete and partially reconstructed with stills.
David Lean holds the record for the director with the most films that won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography at the Oscars with five wins out of six nominations for Great Expectations, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, and Ryan's Daughter.
The first nominees shot primarily on digital video were The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Slumdog Millionaire in 2009, with Slumdog Millionaire the first winner. The following year, Avatar was the first nominee and winner to be shot entirely on digital video.
In 2019, Alfonso Cuarón became the first winner of this category to have also served as director on the film, for his film Roma. This followed a public dispute between Cuarón and the Academy over the Academy's plan to shorten the Oscars broadcast by relegating four awards, including that for cinematography, to the commercial breaks in the show. Cuarón objected by saying, "In the history of cinema, masterpieces have existed without sound, without color, without a story, without actors and without music. No one single film has ever existed without cinematography ..."
|Most awards||Leon Shamroy||4 awards||1942||Awards resulted from 18 nominations.|
|Joseph Ruttenberg||1958||Awards resulted from 10 nominations.|
|Most nominations||Leon Shamroy||18 nominations||1965||Nominations resulted in 4 awards.|
|Charles Lang||1972||Nominations resulted in 1 award.|
|Most consecutive awards||Emmanuel Lubezki||3 consecutive awards||2013, 2014, 2015||Awards resulted from 8 nominations.|
|Oldest winner||Conrad Hall||Age 76||2002||Hall died just two months before the awards ceremony. Hall is also the oldest non-posthumous winner, at age 73, in 1999.|
|Oldest nominee||Asakazu Nakai||Age 84||1985||Nakai shared the nomination with two others.|
|Youngest winner||Floyd Crosby||Age 31||1930/1931|
|Youngest nominee||Edward Cronjager||Age 27||1930/1931|
|Most nominations without an award||George J. Folsey||13 nominations||1963|
|First female nominee||Rachel Morrison||2017|
|Nominee/winner who also directed the film||Alfonso Cuarón||Cuarón served as director and director of photography for Roma||2018|
Winners and nominees
Winners are listed first in colored row, followed by the other nominees.
|Judas and the Black Messiah||Sean Bobbitt|
|News of the World||Dariusz Wolski|
|Nomadland||Joshua James Richards|
|The Trial of the Chicago 7||Phedon Papamichael|
Multiple awards and nominations
- The 2nd Academy Awards is unique in being the only occasion where there were no official nominees. Subsequent research by AMPAS has resulted in a list of unofficial or de facto nominees, based on records of which films were evaluated by the judges.
- Having not been officially nominated, Hal Mohr was a write-in candidate and became the only write-in to ever win an Academy Award.
- A preliminary list of submissions from the studios included the following titles, which were not official nominees: First Love (Joseph Valentine), The Great Victor Herbert (Victor Milner), Gunga Din (Joseph H. August), Intermezzo (Gregg Toland), Juarez (Tony Gaudio), Lady of the Tropics (Norbert Brodine), Only Angels Have Wings (Joseph Walker) and The Rains Came (Arthur C. Miller).
- A preliminary list of submissions from the studios included the following titles, which were not official nominees: Drums Along the Mohawk (Ray Rennahan and Bert Glennon), The Four Feathers (Georges Périnal and Osmond Borradaile), The Mikado (William V. Skall) and The Wizard of Oz (Harold Rosson).
- In 1957, black-and-white and color films competed in a combined Best Cinematography category.
- BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography
- Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography
- Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Cinematography
- American Society of Cinematographers Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Theatrical Releases
- "Oscar nominations". January 24, 2009.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 25, 2014. Retrieved April 25, 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Bernstein, Paula (November 4, 2014). "8 Female Cinematographers You Should Know About". IndieWire. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
- Tapley, Kristopher (January 23, 2018). "Oscars: 'Mudbound's' Rachel Morrison Makes History as First Female Cinematographer Nominee". Variety. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
- O'Falt, Chris (February 24, 2019). "Director Alfonso Cuaron Wins Best Cinematography Oscar for 'Roma". IndieWire. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
- Miranda, Carolina A. (February 25, 2019). "How Alfonso Cuarón's 'Roma' Oscars spark a dialogue about the faces we see on-screen". Los Angeles Times.
- Tapley, Kristopher (September 12, 2017). "Oscars: 'Mudbound' Cinematographer Is First Female Nominated – Variety". Variety.com. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
- "The Official Academy Awards Database". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on February 27, 2009. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
- "Academy Awards 2017: Complete list of Oscar winners and nominees". Los Angeles Times. February 26, 2017. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
- Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences official site
- The Official Academy Awards Database, listing all past nominees and winners