By Vanessa Erazo
The 86th annual Academy Awards are this Sunday and the guess-who-will-win Oscar journalism is at a frenzied peak. Some of the categories are anybody’s guess while others are almost guaranteed *cough* Alfonso Cuaron. After having won most of the major awards for Best Director including the Golden Globe and BAFTA, it looks like Alfonso Cuaron will also take home a bronze statuette for Gravity on Sunday. If he wins, it will be the first time a Latino is bestowed with the Best Director Oscar. Quite an impressive feat but it’s his cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki, who might be the belle of the ball.
Affectionately known as “el chivo” to his friends, Lubezki received his sixth Oscar nomination for Best Cinematography this year for his work on Gravity. Yes, you read right. This is his sixth nomination but he hasn’t won an Oscar yet. Unfortunately for Lubezki, he has become the Susan Lucci of cinematographers. Though, the stars seem to be aligning for the Mexican-born lenser. It looks like this might be his year.
Lubezki’s first nomination came in 1995 for A Little Princess, a film directed by his old film school buddy Cuarón. He ended up losing to John Toll for Braveheart.
Four years later he got his second nom in 1999 for Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow. He was beat out by Conrad Hall for American Beauty.
In 2005, his work on the Terrence Malick film The New World earned him his third nomination but was defeated by Dion Beebe for Memoirs of a Geisha.
He got his fourth nod from the Academy only a year later, in 2006, for his work on Cuarón’s film Children of Men but lost to Guillermo Navarro for Pan’s Labyrinth.
Nomination number five came in 2011 for Malick’s The Tree of Life. He was beseted by Robert Richardson for Hugo.
With this year’s nomination for Gravity it brings Luebezki’s total to six. Now that we’ve got the tally out of the way, what are his chances of winning? Well, they look pretty good.
Aside from the astounding amount of innovation and skill it took to recreate the look of outerspace in order to shoot Gravity in a way that makes it look realistic, there are a couple of things to take into consideration when assessing the odds. First off, the Academy loves 3-D movies especially when it comes to cinematography. Over the last four years, of the films that won Best Cinematography, three were shot in 3-D. In case you didn’t know, Gravity was shot in 3-D too. Then, there’s all the other awards he’s won. Lubezki was awarded for his cinematography work on Gravity by BAFTA, the American Society of Cinematographers, and almost every film critics association in the country (Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Florida, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Florida, San Diego, the list goes on and on.)
Emmanuel Lubezki is the clear favorite in his category. We’ll be watching on Sunday and crossing our fingers for a Gravity sweep of the awards. On the plus side, even if he doesn’t bring home an Oscar this year he now holds the record for the most Academy Award nominations earned by a Mexican national.