Oscar 2019 Winner Predictions: Cinematography

Dear AMPAS: It’s not too late to walk back your inexcusable decision to banish this and other technical categories to commercial breaks.

Cold War
Photo: Amazon Studios

Yes, we timed the publication of this article, as we do several throughout our Oscar prediction cycle, to get a sense of how guild recognition of a film might point to a larger consensus within the AMPAS rank and file. Yesterday, we were on the fence about whether Roma or Cold War would persevere here. Today, two days after the American Society of Cinematographers handed their top award to Lukasz Zal for his work on Pawel Pawlikowski’s film, we’re still on that fence, if only because ASC isn’t the strongest of Oscar predictors. But Zal’s upset over Alfonso Cuarón may suggest that just enough AMPAS voters think that a victory for the latter, the best director frontrunner, would be redundant.

At this point, we could speculate about the exact magnitude of Cold War’s popularity with the academy, or to what extent fans of Roma feel compelled to vote for the film down the line. But that would not only be redundant of things we’ve already written about both films elsewhere, but boring compared to our need to point out AMPAS’s very bad—and still in-effect—decision to give the nominees in this category the cold shoulder on Oscar night: As of the writing of this article, this award remains among several below-the-line ones that the academy, in a slap in the face to all creatives in the industry, will announce during the Oscar telecast’s commercial breaks. There’s still time for AMPAS to walk back that inexcusable decision. But in case they don’t, here are the nominees for best cinematography:

Lukasz Zal for Cold War

Cold War

Robbie Ryan for The Favourite

The Favourite

Caleb Deschanel for Never Look Away

Never Look Away

Alfonso Cuarón for Roma


…and Matthew Libatique for A Star Is Born.

A Star Is Born

Will Win: Cold War

Could Win: Roma

Should Win: Cold War

Ed Gonzalez

Ed Gonzalez is the co-founder of Slant Magazine. His writing has also appeared in The Village Voice and The Los Angeles Times. He’s a member of the New York Film Critics Circle, the Critics Choice Association, and the Latino Entertainment Journalists Association.

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