As one Oscar winner said of the “Elvis” DP: “He did an amazing job, he deserved it. I think everyone would agree.”
Thanks to a surprise selection of Oscar nominees for best cinematography on Tuesday — particularly the absence of early front-runner Claudio Miranda for “Top Gun: Maverick” — “Elvis” cinematographer Mandy Walker is suddenly in first place, and now she most likely a woman. to break the glass ceiling of the category. She follows Ari Wegner (The Power of the Dog) last year and Rachel Morrison (Muddy) in 2018 as only the third woman to be nominated in her category. But neither Wegner nor Morrison stood to win like Walker.
Who is the competition? Two other first-time nominees: James Friend for the late German World War I film that once seemed far-fetched — “All Quiet on the Western Front” — and Camerimage winner Florian Hoffmeister for the acclaimed “LIBRARY.” a Best Picture nominee neglected by the ASC. They’re joined by some Mount Rushmore DPs with films otherwise overlooked by the Academy: two-time winner and 16-time nominee Roger Deakins for “Empire of Light” and two-time nominee Darius Khondji for “Bardo, False Chronicle.” about a handful of truths.”
An unusual mix of cinematographers, films and timing put Walker in the spotlight and the best time to win the prize for Baz Luhrmann’s musical biopic of Elvis Presley. As one Oscar winner said: “She did an amazing job, she deserves it. I think everyone would agree with that.”
However, Walker is also now the front-runner in the ASC, leading a field that includes Deakins, Khondji, “Dune” Oscar winner Greig Fraser (“The Batman”) and Miranda. Likewise, if she wins, Walker will become the first female ASC winner. It also leads the field of BAFTA nominees, and could also break the glass ceiling in the British organization’s cinematography category.
Meanwhile, Walker’s masterpiece “Elvis” has already won Camerimage’s audience award and festival director’s award, as well as the best cinematography award from the Australian Academy of Film and Television Arts.
This road to the Oscars is a long one for the Australian Walker, who is preparing the live-action Disney film “Snow White” in 2024 for director Marc Webb. His previous films include another House of Mouse remake, ‘Mulan’. such as “Hidden Figures”, “Jane Got a Gun”, “Red Riding Hood” and Luhrmann’s “Australia”. His collaboration with the director began with the Chanel No. 5 campaign, starring their fellow Australian and Australia’s future headliner Nicole Kidman.
But “Elvis” achieves a higher level of artistry for Walker. It’s a non-stop rollercoaster that chronicles the King of Rock’s rebellious career and lasting cultural impact, which Walker has chosen with just the right combination of historical reproduction (what he calls “trainspotting”) and surreal hysteria. Shot on large-format Alexa 65mm with a selection of special lenses and LUTs for each era of Presley’s career, Walker studied and replicated camera angles, lenses and lighting from archival footage – paying particular attention to scene-to-scene transitions. the camera movements in different locations during the concert series. In June, Walker told IndieWire of the fateful Ferris wheel ride between Col. Tom Parker (Tom Hanks) and Elvis (Austin Butler) as his roving camerawork: “That’s the beginning,” he recalled. “We’re going to fly in this movie.”
With “Elvis,” everything seems to be lining up for Walker, armed with a best picture nomination, a best actor nomination for the charismatic Butler and a Hollywood blockbuster. Who is the biggest threat? My friend, as he is gaining momentum with Edward Berger’s All Quiet on the Western Front, which received nine nominations (including Best Picture and Best International Film). Ironically, the immersive POV film, shot like a horror film with long tracking shots, bested “Elvis” as the craft leader with six nominations each.
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