Oscar Preview: Cinematography

A category-by-category look at the Oscar crafts shoot

It's shaping up to be a competitive year in cinematography, with a number of potential nominees still to open.

One emerging contender is two-time Academy Award nominee Wally Pfister's lensing of "The Dark Knight." He combined anamorphic 35mm and pioneering Imax photography to create imagery that has dazzled audiences in one of the biggest films of the year.

Seven-time nominee Roger Deakins finds himself in a similar place as last year with two strong contenders. He served as director of photography on DreamWorks/Paramount Vantage's upcoming "Revolutionary Road" and Miramax's "Doubt." Last year, in a rare feat, Deakins earned two nominations in the category, for "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" and "No Country for Old Men."

Many eyes are also on director of photography Mandy Walker, as a nomination for her rendering of Baz Luhrmann's epic "Australia" would make her the first female to earn an Oscar nomination for cinematography. This year she was honored with the Kodak Vision Award at the Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards, and a Hollywood Film Award for cinematographer of the year at the Hollywood Film Festival.

Those also considered possible candidates for their first Oscar nominations include: Roberto Schaefer, who reteamed with longtime collaborator and "Kite Runner" director Marc Forster on "Quantum of Solace"; Claudio Miranda, who reteamed with David Fincher on "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"; Anthony Dod Mantle for Fox Searchlight's "Slumdog Millionaire"; Harris Savides -- who lensed "American Gangster" and "Zodiac" in 2007 -- for Focus Features' "Milk"; and Salvatore Totino, who reteamed with "The Da Vinci Code" director Ron Howard on Universal's "Frost/Nixon."

Additional contenders include two-time Oscar winner John Toll for his lensing of DreamWorks/Paramount's "Tropic Thunder," and previous nominee Cesar Charlone for his rendering of Miramax's "Blindness."

Next: Costume Design