Oscars Predictions: Best Cinematography – Could Rodrigo Prieto’s ‘Barbie’ and ‘Flower Moon’ Make Him the First Double Nominee Since 2007?

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2024 Oscars Predictions:
Best Achievement in Cinematography

Penélope Cruz in Ferrari
Penélope Cruz in Ferrari

Weekly Commentary (Updated Nov. 16, 2023): In cinematography, few names shine as brightly as any cinematic scene shot by Oscar-nominated D.P. Rodrigo Prieto. With a career spanning over two decades, Prieto has established himself as a masterful artisan by offering his unique blend of technical expertise, artistic vision, and a deep understanding of storytelling. After three high-profile noms for “Brokeback Mountain” (2005), “Silence” (2016) and “The Irishman” (2019) — the first two he should have arguably won — his double dose of camera work this year could put him in contention for his overdue statuette.

Prieto’s best shot (pun intended) is for his work on frequent collaborator Martin Scorsese and his audacious “Killers of the Flower Moon,” conveying his innate ability to infuse his visuals with emotional resonance in critical scenes with stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone. Undoubtedly one of the most versatile cinematographers in the game, he seamlessly transitions between genres, showcasing his ability to adapt his cinematographic style to suit the director’s visual palettes. His work on Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” is so profound. It’s not only because it seems like an inventive choice for the man who shot tense crime thrillers like “Sicario” or introspective dramas like “Babel.” His expertise made the world of “Barbie” feel significant, engaging and unique from being on sound stages and Venice Beach.

I know that comedies aren’t surefire bets in this race. While you can find several “dramedies” like “Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood” (2019) and “The Favourite” (2018), I’d say an inarguable straight comic endeavor hasn’t been embraced since “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” (1988) or perhaps even further to “Tootsie” (1982). It’ll be a heavy lift for a double mention, but it’s possible, given how well “Barbie” is expected to do with the Academy.

We also should point out that a person hasn’t been double nominated in this category since Roger Deakins in 2007 with “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” and “No Country for Old Men.” He lost to Robert Elswit for “There Will Be Blood.” Before Deakins, you have to go back to Robert Surtees’ double mentions for “The Last Picture Show” and “Summer of ’42,” losing both to Oswald Morris for “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Saltburn - Jacob Elordi
Saltburn - Jacob Elordi

The Cinematography Branch isn’t shy from embracing one-offs, meaning movies that may need help finding traction in other categories. That rings true for those movies with established D.P. (i.e., Deakins for “Empire of Light” and Darius Khondji for “Bardo” last year). That could bode well for Oscar winners Linus Sandgren (“La La Land”) and Erik Messerschmidt (“Mank”). Sandgren creates his finest work yet on Emerald Fennell’s “Saltburn,” which could face an uphill battle in other categories due to its divisive nature. At the same time, Messerschmidt has two works worth considering — Michael Mann’s “Ferrari” and David Fincher’s “The Killer.” Noteworthy, these movies could find recognition in other races.

We have a long way to go.

Read: Variety’s Awards Circuit for the latest Oscars predictions in all categories.

The submission deadline for general categories is Nov. 15, 2023. The preliminary shortlist for eight categories is from Dec. 14-18, with the results announcement dropping on Dec. 21. The Oscar nomination period will run from Jan. 11-16, 2024, with the official nominees named on Jan. 23.

The 96th Oscars will be held on Sunday, March 10.

***The list below is not final and will be updated throughout the awards season.

And the Predicted Nominees Are:

  1. Oppenheimer” (Universal Pictures) — Hoyte van Hoytema

  2. Killers of the Flower Moon” (Apple Original Films/Paramount Pictures) — Rodrigo Prieto

  3. The Zone of Interest” (A24) — Łukasz Żal

  4. Saltburn” (Amazon MGM Studios) — Linus Sandgren

  5. Ferrari” (Neon) — Erik Messerschmidt

Next in Line

  1. Poor Things” (Searchlight Pictures) — Robbie Ryan

  2. Napoleon” (Apple Original Films/Sony Pictures) — Dariusz Wolski

  3. Maestro” (Netflix) — Matthew Libatique

  4. Barbie” (Warner Bros.) — Rodrigo Prieto

  5. The Color Purple” (Warner Bros.) — Dan Laustsen

Other Top-Tier Possibilities

  1. Air” (Amazon MGM Studios) — Robert Richardson

  2. El Conde” (Netflix) — Edward Lachman

  3. Society of the Snow” (Netflix) — Pedro Luque

  4. Past Lives” (A24) — Shabier Kirchner

  5. The Killer” (Netflix) — Erik Messerschmidt

  6. The Iron Claw” (A24) — Mátyás Erdély

  7. Origin” (Neon) — Matthew J. Lloyd

  8. The Taste of Things” (IFC Films/Sapan Studio) — Jonathan Ricquebourg

  9. The Holdovers” (Focus Features) — Eigil Bryid

  10. All of Us Strangers” (Searchlight Pictures) — Jamie D. Ramsay

Also In Contention

  1. The Creator” (20th Century Studios) — Greig Fraser, Oren Soffer

  2. May December” (Netflix) — Christopher Blauvelt

  3. Anatomy of a Fall” (Neon) — Simon Beaufils

  4. Rustin” (Netflix) — Tobias A. Schliessler

  5. Asteroid City” (Focus Features) — Robert Yeoman

  6. Dream Scenario” (A24) — Benjamin Loeb

  7. Priscilla” (A24) — Philippe Le Sourd

  8. American Fiction” (MGM) — Cristina Dunlap

  9. John Wick Chapter 4” (Lionsgate) — Dan Laustsen

  10. Flamin’ Hot” (Hulu/Searchlight Pictures) — Federico Cantini

All Eligible Titles (Alphabetized by Studio)**

  • A Haunting in Venice” (20th Century Studios) — Haris Zambarloukos

  • The Creator” (20th Century Studios) — Greig Fraser, Oren Soffer

  • Beau is Afraid” (A24) — Pawel Pogorzelski

  • Dream Scenario” (A24) — Benjamin Loeb

  • The Iron Claw” (A24) — Mátyás Erdély

  • Past Lives” (A24) — Shabier Kirchner

  • Priscilla” (A24) — Philippe Le Sourd

  • Showing Up” (A24) — Christopher Blauvelt

  • The Zone of Interest” (A24) — Łukasz Żal

  • Air” (Amazon MGM Studios) — Robert Richardson

  • The Burial” (Amazon Studios) — Maryse Alberti

  • Cassandro” (Amazon MGM Studios) — Matías Penachino

  • Foe” (Amazon MGM Studios) — Mátyás Erdély

  • Saltburn” (Amazon MGM Studios) — Linus Sandgren

  • Fingernails” (Apple Original Films) — Yorgos Zafeiris

  • Flora and Son” (Apple Original Films) — John Conroy

  • Killers of the Flower Moon” (Apple Original Films/Paramount Pictures) — Rodrigo Prieto

  • Napoleon” (Apple Original Films/Sony Pictures) — Darius Khondji

  • Golda” (Bleecker Street) — Jasper Wolf

  • Asteroid City” (Focus Features) — Robert Yeoman

  • The Holdovers” (Focus Features) — Eigil Bryid

  • A Thousand and One” (Focus Features) — Eric K. Yue

  • Flamin’ Hot” (Hulu/Searchlight Pictures) — Federico Cantini

  • BlackBerry” (IFC Films) — Jared Raab

  • Monica” (IFC Films) — Katelin Arizmendi

  • The Taste of Things” (IFC Films/Sapan Studio) — Jonathan Ricquebourg

  • Memory” (Ketchup Entertainment) — Yves Cape

  • Story Ave” (Kino Lorber) — Eric Branco

  • Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” (Lionsgate) — Tim Ives

  • The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” (Lionsgate) — Jo Willems

  • John Wick Chapter 4” (Lionsgate) — Dan Laustsen

  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” (Marvel Studios) — Henry Braham

  • The Marvels” (Marvel Studios) — Sean Bobbitt

  • American Fiction” (MGM) — Cristina Dunlap

  • Bottoms” (MGM/Orion) — Maria Rusche

  • The Boys in the Boat” (MGM) — Martin Ruhe

  • Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant” (MGM) — Ed Wild

  • Creed III” (MGM) — Kramer Morgenthau

  • Landscape with Invisible Hand” (MGM) — Lyle Vincent

  • Fallen Leaves” (Mubi) — Timo Salminen

  • Anatomy of a Fall” (Neon) — Simon Beaufils

  • Eileen” (Neon) — Ari Wegner

  • Ferrari” (Neon) — Erik Messerschmidt

  • How to Blow Up a Pipeline” (Neon) — Tehillah De Castro

  • La Chimera” (Neon) — Hélène Louvart

  • Origin” (Neon) — Matthew J. Lloyd

  • Perfect Days” (Neon) — Franz Lustig

  • The Royal Hotel” (Neon) — Michael Latham

  • The Deepest Breath” (Netflix) — Tim Cragg

  • El Conde” (Netflix) — Edward Lachman

  • Fair Play” (Netflix) — Menno Mans

  • The Killer” (Netflix) — Erik Messerschmidt

  • May December” (Netflix) — Christopher Blauvelt

  • Maestro” (Netflix) — Matthew Libatique

  • Nyad” (Netflix) — Claudio Miranda

  • Rebel Moon” (Netflix) — Zack Snyder

  • Reptile” (Netflix) — Michael Gioulakis

  • Rustin” (Netflix) — Tobias A. Schliessler

  • Society of the Snow” (Netflix) — Pedro Luque

  • Dungeons & Dragons” (Paramount Pictures) — Barry Peterson

  • Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” (Paramount Pictures) — Fraser Taggart

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” (Paramount Pictures) — Kent Seki

  • Elemental” (Pixar) — David Juan Bianchi, Jean-Claude Kalache

  • All of Us Strangers” (Searchlight Pictures) — Jamie D. Ramsay

  • Chevalier” (Searchlight Pictures) — Jess Hall

  • Poor Things” (Searchlight Pictures) — Robbie Ryan

  • Theater Camp” (Searchlight Pictures) — Nate Hurtsellers

  • Dumb Money” (Sony Pictures) — Nikolas Karakatsanis

  • Freud’s Last Session” (Sony Pictures Classics) — Ben Smithard

  • Persian Version” (Sony Pictures Classics) — André Jäger

  • Shadya” (Sony Pictures Classics) — Sherwin Akbarzadeh

  • The Teachers’ Lounge” (Sony Pictures Classics) — Judith Kaufmann

  • Fast X” (Universal Pictures) — Stephen F. Windon

  • M3gan” (Universal Pictures) — Peter McCaffrey

  • Oppenheimer” (Universal Pictures) — Hoyte van Hoytema

  • She Came to Me” (Vertical Entertainment) — Sam Levy

  • Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” (Warner Bros.) — Don Burgess

  • Barbie” (Warner Bros.) — Rodrigo Prieto

  • Blue Beetle” (Warner Bros.) — Pawel Pogorzelski

  • The Color Purple” (Warner Bros.) — Dan Laustsen

  • Wonka” (Warner Bros.) — Chung-hoon Chung

  • Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” (Warner Bros.) — Phedon Papamichael

  • The Little Mermaid” (Walt Disney Pictures) — Dion Beebe

2022 category winner: “All Quiet on the Western Front” (Netflix) — James Friend

** indicates an unconfirmed release date in 2023 or could campaign in the lead or supporting categories. All release dates are subject to change.

Oscars Predictions Categories


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The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. Since 1927, nominees and winners have been selected by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Seventeen branches are represented within the nearly 10,000-person membership. The branches are actors, associates, casting directors, cinematographers, costume designers, directors, documentary, executives, film editors, makeup and hairstylists, marketing and public relations, members-at-large, members-at-large (artists’ representatives), music, producers, production design, short films and feature animation, sound, visual effects and writers.

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