Oscar Predictions: Best Cinematography – Will the Branch Look Past Mixed Reviews and Invite Roger Deakins and Robert Richardson?

Variety Awards Circuit section is the home for all awards news and related content throughout the year, featuring the following: the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and Tony awards ceremonies, curated by Variety senior awards editor Clayton Davis. The prediction pages are Davis’ assessment of the current standings of the race and do not reflect personal preferences for any film or performance. Like any organization or body that votes, each individual category is fluid and subject to change. Predictions are updated every Thursday.

LAST UPDATED: Dec. 2, 2022

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2023 Oscars Predictions: Best Cinematography

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CATEGORY COMMENTARY: All I’m saying is, watch out for Robert Richardson’s work in “Emancipation” to become a spoiler in this race that has seemed like a three-horse race between “Avatar: The Way of Water,” “The Fabelmans” and “Top Gun: Maverick.”

Richardson, a three-time winner for “JFK” (1991), “The Aviator” (2004) and “Hugo” (2011), could have one more trip to the stage waiting for him.

And I wouldn’t dismiss “RRR” from K. K. Senthil Kumar to make a welcomed entry.

See the latest film predictions, in all 23 categories, in one place on Variety’s Oscars Collective. To see the ranked predictions for each individual category, visit Variety’s Oscars Hub.

Find the SAG Awards predictions for film and Golden Globe predictions in all of the film categories on their respective pages.

See the 2022-2023 Awards Season calendar for all key dates and timelines.

ALL AWARDS CONTENDERS AND RANKINGS:

TOP GUN: MAVERICK, (aka TOP GUN 2), from left: Miles Teller, Tom Cruise, 2022.  ph: Scott Garfield /© Paramount Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection
TOP GUN: MAVERICK, (aka TOP GUN 2), from left: Miles Teller, Tom Cruise, 2022. ph: Scott Garfield /© Paramount Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

And The Predicted Nominees Are:

Rank

Film

Director of Photography

Distributor

1

“Top Gun: Maverick”

Claudio Miranda

Paramount Pictures

After thirty years, Maverick is still pushing the envelope as a top naval aviator, but must confront ghosts of his past when he leads TOP GUN’s elite graduates on a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those chosen to fly it.

2

“Emancipation”

Robert Richardson

Apple Original Films

A runaway slave forges through the swamps of Louisiana on a tortuous journey to escape plantation owners that nearly killed him.

3

“The Fabelmans”

Janusz Kaminski

Universal Pictures

A semi-autobiography based on Spielberg’s own childhood growing up in post-war Arizona, from age seven to eighteen.

4

“Empire of Light”

Roger Deakins

Searchlight Pictures

“Empire of Light” is a love story set in and around a beautiful old cinema on the South Coast of England in the 1980s.

5

“Tár”

Florian Hoffmeister

Focus Features

Set in the international world of classical music, the film centers on Lydia Tár. widely considered one of the greatest living composer/conductors and first-ever female chief conductor of a major German orchestra.

Next in Line

6

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”

Autumn Durald Arkapaw

Marvel Studios

The nation of Wakanda is pitted against intervening world powers as they mourn the loss of their king T’Challa.

7

“The Banshees of Inisherin”

Ben Davis

Searchlight Pictures

Two lifelong friends find themselves at an impasse when one abruptly ends their relationship, with alarming consequences for both of them.

8

“Athena”

Matias Boucard

Netflix

Hours after the tragic death of their youngest brother in unexplained circumstances, three siblings have their lives thrown into chaos.

9

“Avatar: The Way of Water”

Russell Carpenter

20th Century Studios

Jake Sully lives with his newfound family formed on the planet of Pandora. Once a familiar threat returns to finish what was previously started, Jake must work with Neytiri and the army of the Na’vi race to protect their planet.

10

“Babylon”

Linus Sandgren

Paramount Pictures

Set in Hollywood during the transition from silent films to talkies, focusing on a mixture of historical & fictional characters.

Other Top-Tier Contenders

11

“RRR”

K. K. Senthil Kumar

Variance Films

12

“Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Larkin Seiple

A24

13

“Nope”

Hoyte van Hoytema

Universal Pictures

14

“The Woman King”

Polly Morgan

TriStar Pictures

15

“Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths”

Darius Khondji

Netflix

16

“The Batman”

Greig Fraser

Warner Bros.

17

“Women Talking”

Luc Montpellier

MGM/United Artists Releasing

18

“Devotion”

Erik Messerschmidt

Sony Pictures

19

“Elvis”

Mandy Walker

Warner Bros.

20

“Thirteen Lives”

Sayombhu Mukdeeprom

Amazon Studios/MGM

Also In Contention

21

“Three Thousand Years of Longing”

John Seale

MGM/United Artists Releasing

22

“Blonde”

Chayse Irvin

Netflix

23

“All Quiet on the Western Front”

James Friend

Netflix

24

“Don’t Worry Darling”

Matthew Libatique

Warner Bros

25

“The Northman”

Jarin Blaschke

Focus Features

All Contenders Listed (Unranked-Alphabetical)

“A Love Song”

Alfonso Herrera Salcedo

Bleecker Street

“Neptune Frost”

Anisia Uzeyman

Kino Lorber

“Murina”

Hélène Louvart

Kino Lorber

“A Man Called Otto”

Matthias Koenigswieser

Sony Pictures

“After Yang”

Benjamin Loeb

A24

“You Won’t Be Alone”

Matthew Chuang

Focus Features

“The Outfit”

Dick Pope

Focus Features

“Aftersun”

Gregory Oke

A24

“All Quiet on the Western Front”

James Friend

Netflix

“All the Old Knives”

Charlotte Bruus Christiansen

Amazon Studios

“Ambulance”

Roberto De Angelis

Universal Pictures

“Amsterdam”

Emmanuel Lubezki

20th Century Studios

“Argentina, 1985”

Javier Juliá

Amazon Studios

“Armageddon Time”

Darius Khondji

Focus Features

“As They Made Us”

David Feeney-Mosier

Quiver

“Athena”

Matias Boucard

Netflix

“Avatar: The Way of Water”

Russell Carpenter

20th Century Studios

“Babylon”

Linus Sandgren

Paramount Pictures

“Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths”

Darius Khondji

Netflix

“Beast”

Philippe Rousselot

Universal Pictures

“Black Adam”

Lawrence Sher

Warner Bros

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”

Autumn Durald

Marvel Studios

“Blonde”

Chayse Irvin

Netflix

“Bodies Bodies Bodies”

Jasper Wolf

A24

“Bones & All”

Arseni Khachaturan

MGM/United Artists Releasing

“Both Sides of the Blade”

Eric Gautier

IFC Films

“Breaking”

Doug Emmett

Bleecker Street

“Broker”

Hong Kyung-pyo

Neon

“Bros”

Brandon Trost

Universal Pictures

“Bullet Train”

Jonathan Sela

Sony Pictures

“Call Jane”

Greta Zozula

Roadside Attractions

“Catherine Called Birdy”

Laurie Rose

Amazon Studios

“Causeway”

Diego García

A24/Apple Original Films

“Cha Cha Real Smooth”

Cristina Dunlap

Apple Original Films

“Close”

Frank van den Eeden

A24

“Corsage”

Judith Kaufmann

IFC Films

“Crimes of the Future”

Douglas Koch

Neon

“Death on the Nile”

Haris Zambarloukos

20th Century Studios

“Decision to Leave”

Kim Ji-yong

Mubi

“Devotion”

Erik Messerschmidt

Sony Pictures

“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”

John Mathieson

Marvel Studios

“Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.”

Alan Gwizdowski

Focus Features

“Dog”

Newton Thomas Sigel

MGM/United Artists Releasing

“Don’t Worry Darling”

Matthew Libatique

Warner Bros

“Downton Abbey: A New Era”

Andrew Dunn

Focus Features

“Elvis”

Mandy Walker

Warner Bros.

“Emergency”

Michael Dallatorre

Amazon Studios

“Emily the Criminal”

Jeff Bierman

Roadside Attractions/Vertical Entertainment

“Empire of Light”

Roger Deakins

Searchlight Pictures

“EO”

Michał Dymek

Janus Films and Sideshow

“Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Larkin Seiple

A24

“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”

Steve Yedlin

Netflix

“God’s Country”

Andrew Wheeler

IFC Films

“Good Luck to You, Leo Grande”

Bryan Mason

Searchlight Pictures

“Good Night Oppy”

David Paul Jacobson

Amazon Studios

“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio”

Frank Passingham

Netflix

“Happening”

Laurent Tangy

IFC Films

“Holy Spider”

Nadim Carlsen

Utopia

“Hunt”

Lee Mo-gae

No U.S. Distribution

“Hustle”

Zak Mulligan

Netflix

“I Love My Dad”

Steven Capitano Calitri

Magnolia Pictures

“I Wanna Dance With Somebody”

Barry Ackroyd

Sony Pictures

“In Good Hands”

Martin Szecsanov

Netflix

“Lady Chatterley’s Lover”

Benoît Delhomme

Netflix

“Lightyear”

Jeremy Lasky, Ian Megibben

Pixar

“Living”

Jamie D. Ramsay

Sony Pictures Classics

“Lyle, Lyle Crocodile”

Javier Aguirresarobe

Sony Pictures

“Marcel the Shell With Shoes On”

Bianca Cline

A24

“Master Gardener”

Alexander Dynan

No U.S. Distribution

“Master”

Charlotte Hornsby

Amazon Studios

“Matilda”

Tat Radcliffe

Netflix

“Men”

Rob Hardy

A24

“Montana Story”

Giles Nuttgens

Bleecker Street

“Mr. Malcolm’s List”

Tony Miller

Bleecker Street

“Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris”

Felix Wiedemann

Focus Features

“My Policeman”

Ben Davis

Amazon Studios

“Nanny”

Rina Yang

Amazon Studios

“Navalny”

Niki Waltl

CNN/Warner Bros.

“Nitram”

Germain McMicking

IFC Films

“Nope”

Hoyte van Hoytema

Universal Pictures

“Official Competition”

Arnau Valls Colomer

IFC Films

“One Fine Morning”

Denis Lenoir

Sony Pictures Classics

“Pearl”

Eliot Rockett

A24

“Persuasion”

Joe Anderson

Netflix

“R.M.N.”

Tudor Vladimir Panduru

IFC Films

“Raymond & Ray”

Igor Jadue-Lillo

Apple Original Films

“Return to Seoul”

Thomas Favel

Sony Pictures Classics

“RRR”

K. K. Senthil Kumar

Variance Films

“Saint Omer”

Claire Mithon

Neon/Super

“See How They Run”

Jamie D. Ramsay

Searchlight Pictures

“She Said”

Natasha Braier

Universal Pictures

“Spoiler Alert”

Brian Burgoyne

Focus Features

“Stars at Noon”

Eric Gautier

A24

“Tár”

Florian Hoffmeister

Focus Features

“The Banshees of Inisherin”

Ben Davis

Searchlight Pictures

“The Batman”

Greig Fraser

Warner Bros.

“The Eight Mountains”

Ruben Impens

M2 Pictures

“The Fabelmans”

Janusz Kaminski

Universal Pictures

“The Good Nurse”

Jody Lee Lipes

Netflix

“The Gray Man”

Stephen F. Windon

Netflix

“The Greatest Beer Run Ever”

Sean Porter

Apple Original Films

“The Inspection”

Lachlan Milne

A24

“The Lost King”

Zac Nicholson

Warner Bros.

“The Menu”

Peter Deming

Searchlight Pictures

“The Northman”

Jarin Blaschke

Focus Features

“The Pale Blue Eye”

Masanobu Takanyagi

Netflix

“The Phantom of the Open”

Kit Fraser

Sony Pictures Classics

“The Silent Twins”

Jakub Kijowski

Focus Features

“The Son”

Ben Smithard

Sony Pictures Classics

“The Swimmers”

Christopher Ross

Netflix

“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent”

Nigel Buck

Lionsgate

“The Whale”

Matthew Libatique

A24

“The Woman King”

Polly Morgan

TriStar Pictures

“The Wonder”

Ari Wegner

Netflix

“Thirteen Lives”

Sayombhu Mukdeeprom

Amazon Studios/MGM

“Thor: Love and Thunder”

Barry Idoine

Marvel Studios

“Three Thousand Years of Longing”

John Seale

MGM/United Artists Releasing

“Ticket to Paradise”

Ole Bratt Birkeland

Universal Pictures

“Till”

Bobby Bukowski

Orion/United Artists Releasing

“Top Gun: Maverick”

Claudio Miranda

Paramount Pictures

“Tori and Lokita”

Benoît Dervaux

Janus Films

“Triangle of Sadness”

Fredrik Wenzel

Neon

“Turn Every Page”

Mott Hupfel

Sony Pictures Classics

“Turning Red”

Mahyar Abousaeedi, Jonathan Pytko

Pixar

“Vengeance”

Lyn Moncrief

Focus Features

“War Pony”

David Gallego

Picturehouse Entertainment

“Wendell & Wild”

Peter Sorg

Netflix

“Where the Crawdads Sing”

Polly Morgan

Sony Pictures

“White Noise”

Lol Crawley

Netflix

“Wildcat”

Trevor Beck Frost, Melissa Lesh, Harry Turner

Amazon Studios

“Women Talking”

Luc Montpellier

MGM/United Artists Releasing

2023 Academy Awards Predictions

BEST PICTURE | DIRECTOR | ACTOR | ACTRESS | SUPPORTING ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTRESS | ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY | ADAPTED SCREENPLAY | ANIMATED FEATURE | PRODUCTION DESIGN | CINEMATOGRAPHY | COSTUME DESIGN | FILM EDITING | MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING | SOUND | VISUAL EFFECTS | ORIGINAL SCORE | ORIGINAL SONG | DOCUMENTARY FEATURE | INTERNATIONAL FEATURE | ANIMATED SHORT | DOCUMENTARY SHORT | LIVE ACTION SHORT

The 95th Oscars ceremony will be held at the Dolby Theatre and televised live on ABC on Sunday, March 12, 2023.

2022 category winner: “Dune” (Warner Bros.) – Greig Fraser

About Variety Awards Circuit:

Variety’s unmatched coverage gives its readership unbeatable exposure in print and online and provides inside reports on all the contenders in this year’s awards season races. In addition to predictions, the section includes — Awards Circuit Column, a weekly analysis dissecting the trends and contenders in the race; Awards Circuit Podcast, a weekly series featuring interviews with the top contenders in the awards race and an expert roundtable discussion with Variety’s leading editors and columnists; Awards Circuit Predictions Video Series, a deep dive into specific categories, led by the leading pundits.

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