The Oscar nominations were finally announced this morning, which, for film fans, answered one of two burning questions they've had all year. The other is, of course, which cameras were used to shoot each of those nominated films and for that we have an answer!
Now, we do this list every year and every year we say the same thing: "The list isn't all that surprising." Guess what? Same deal this year. The majority of filmmakers decided to go digital with the reigning champion camera, at least for these lists, the ARRI Alexa, while a few on the fringe, like Theodore Melfi for Hidden Figures, Denzel Washington for Fences, and Damien Chazelle for La La Land, shot on film cameras.
You can find out which cameras and lenses were used in the Oscar-nominated films below:
Nominated for Best Picture (Shawn Levy, Dan Levine, Aaron Ryder, and David Linde), Best Director (Denis Villeneuve), and Best Cinematography (Bradford Young).
Cameras: ARRI Alexa XT M/Plus
Lenses: Camtech Vintage Ultra Prime, Kowa Cine Prominar, and Zeiss Super Speed
Nominated for Best Picture (Bill Mechanic and David Permut) and Best Director (Mel Gibson).
Cameras: ARRI Alexa XT Plus, RED Epic Dragon
Lenses:Panavision Primo, Primo V, Leica Summilux-C, and Angenieux Optimo lenses
Nominated for Best Picture (Donna Gigliotti, Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping, Pharrell Williams, and Theodore Melfi).
Cameras: Arriflex 416, Panavision Panaflex Millennium XL2
Lenses: Panavision Ultra Speed MKII, Panavision Primo, E-, T-Series, ATZ and Canon lenses
Nominated for Best Picture (Emile Sherman, Iain Canning, and Angie Fielder), and Best Cinematography (Greig Fraser).
Cameras: ARRI Alexa XT/XT M, RED Dragon (aerial shots)
Nominated for Best Picture (Adele Romanski, Dede Gardner, and Jeremy Kleiner), Best Director (Barry Jenkins), and Best Cinematography (James Laxton).
Cameras: ARRI Alexa XT Plus
Lenses: Hawk V-Lite and Angenieux Optimo A2S lenses
Nominated for Best Picture (Scott Rudin, Denzel Washington, and Todd Black).
Cameras: Panavision Panaflex Millennium XL2
Lenses: Panavision C-Series, ATZ, and AWZ2 lenses
Hell or High Water
Nominated for Best Picture (Carla Hacken and Julie Yorn).
Cameras: ARRI Alexa XT Studio
Lenses: Hawk V-Lite, Angenieux Optimo, and Optimo A2S lenses
La La Land
Nominated for Best Picture (Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz, and Marc Platt), Best Director (Damien Chazelle), and Best Cinematography (Linus Sandgren)
Cameras: Panavision Panaflex Millennium XL2, Aaton A-Minima
Lenses: Panavision E-, C-Series, custom lens
Manchester by the Sea
Nominated for Best Picture (Matt Damon, Kimberly Steward, Chris Moore, Lauren Beck, and Kevin J. Walsh) and Best Director (Kenneth Lonergan)
Cameras: ARRI Alexa XT
Lenses: Canon K35 and Angenieux Optimo lenses
Nominated for Best Cinematography (Rodrigo Prieto)
Cameras: ARRI Alexa Studio, Arricam LT
Lenses: Zeiss Master Anamorphic and Angenieux Optimo lenses
I know what some of you might be thinking—that last year was all about DPs taking huge chances and pushing the limits of the craft, like Dariusz Wolski using GoPros in The Martian, Chivo Lubezki shooting all those sweeping long shots on the Alexa, and John Seale being a literal cinematic magician on Mad Max: Fury Road and utilizing five different cameras, including the Blackmagic Cinema Camera.
But before you write this off as a boring year in cinematography, at least compared to last year, consider for a second how powerful these nominees are in the story department. We've got stories of great diversity, stories about individuals that don't usually get a chance to show people their side of life. We may not have films with masterful long shots and expertly choreographed high-speed chase sequences, but we've got some of the most captivating and challenging drama we've seen in a while.
Featured image: 'Moonlight', credit: A24