The best of 2016's photographic achievements basically came down to a six-horse race for me, and not so different from Oscar's final five. My 'just missed' selection still managed an Oscar nom, and I'm not complaining. I seriously considered allowing myself six Best Cinematography nominees this year, but rules are rules. My five finalists are:
ARRIVAL (Bradford Young)
A study of stark visual contrasts. The world is already a shadowy, desaturated place before the visitors appear behind a wall of light.
LA LA LAND (Linus Sandgren)
Captures moments both grand and intimate in sweeping Cinemascope, emboldened with Technicolor hues to rival Hitchcock's Vertigo.
THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS (Adam Arkapaw)
Drops plenty of jaws with its stately, painterly compositions, often basked in ravishing light (except when dark clouds are called for).
MOONLIGHT (James Laxton)
Alternates between smooth objective camerawork and more colourfully lit, hand-held shots to accentuate moments of intimacy and impact.
SILENCE (Rodrigo Prieto)
Fog-shrouded exteriors and cramped, scantly lit spaces strike the perfect mood for a film driven by meditation and internalized questioning.
Lion (Grieg Fraser)
Jackie (Stephane Fontaine)
Live By Night (Robert Richardson)
Nocturnal Animals (Seamus McGarvey)
The Witch (Jarin Blaschke)