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When Gravity collected Oscars for cinematography and for visual effects, it was the fifth year in a row that the same film won Oscars in both of these categories.
Previously, Avatar, Inception, Hugo and Life of Pi collected both honors.
This underscored what is often described as a blurring of the lines between these categories at a time when the images that we see on screen are increasingly manipulated with digital tools.
For director of photography Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki, Gravity gave him the Oscar that eluded him when he was previously nominated for The Tree of Life, Children of Men, The New World, Sleepy Hollow and A Little Princess.
Accepting the award, Lubezki said he shared the award with the cast and crew. That included thanking his “friend and teacher” Alfonso Cuaron, and VFX supervisor Tim Webber the team at London-headquartered VFX house Framestore.
Accepting the VFX Oscar, Webber also thanked the teams, including his colleagues at London-headquartered VFX house Framstore and Lubezki. He thanked Cuaron for his “vision,” and George Clooney and Sandra Bullock for “filling our visual effects with life and emotion.”
Prior to the ceremony, I spoke with an Academy member who commented that this increasing collaboration is positive for production. “It’s what movie making is supposed to be,” he said. “Gravity is the poster child for cooperation between the cinematographer and crew, and the VFX supervisor and VFX crew. This is want you want. You can say the same thing about make up, set design (and other crafts).”
Noting that this scenario has also raised questions about who was receiving recognition for what work, he added, “certainly in some previous years it was a legitimate question. But this is not the year.”
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