TMP – Oscar Winner Edition: Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects

It’s Thursday and I’m back with a new Thursday Movie Picks feature post. This series is hosted by Wandering through the Shelves and offers you a weekly prompt to post some movie recommendations/talking points according to the theme. Usually, you are supposed to post about 3-5 examples, which I find a very manageable amount.

This week is once again part of the Oscar Winner Edition, which will continue to be a reoccurring theme during each month. Today we are tackling the categories Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects. We’ve had two categories in one before and I think it worked alright, so I hope I can make this one work as well. I don’t think I pay as much attention to visual effects on an active level as I do with cinematography, but those are both such important elements of the industry. I found a lot of movies that were nominated and/or won in both categories, but I tried not to use the same movies in both for my list. Let’s dive in!


Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo Navarro)

I love this movie, even though it breaks my heart every single time. It just has such an interesting atmosphere and the look definitely speaks for itself. I even read the book (you can find my review here) and felt like it just added to the magic.

Hugo (Robert Richardson)

It wasn’t my favorite movie, but I was utterly enchanted by the look of it. Just from the trailer alone, I thought “yes, I want to see what this is” and it looked so beautiful.


Ex Machina (Mark Williams Ardington, Sara Bennett, Paul Norris and Andrew Whitehurst)

You’ve heard me gush about Ex Machina before, because I love the cast and story. Alicia Vikander as a robot was so well done! I think that definitely earned them the Oscar.

Babe (Scott E. Anderson, Charles Gibson, Neal Scanlan and John Cox)

I just couldn’t resist featuring this movie, because I loved it as a kid. Talking farm animals were just the best. Need I say more? I probably should, but I don’t know what … just that I’ve never seen it in English and feel odd not hearing it in the German dubbed version.

What did you think of my picks? Which movies would you have chosen? Let’s talk!

4 thoughts on “TMP – Oscar Winner Edition: Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects

  1. Pan’s Labyrinth looks to be the title of the week, justly so. It’s a visual stunner. I found Babe charming when I watched it but once was enough. Hugo is great looking but I agree with you that it wasn’t that terrific otherwise. Perhaps I had my hopes to high for Ex-Machina since it was lavished with praise before I saw it but I thought it was simply an interesting not terribly memorable film. Its look was sharp however.

    I went the cinematography route all set in wide open spaces.

    The Black Swan (1942)-Florid swashbuckler with Tyrone Power as reformed privateer Jamie Waring. Commissioned by the newly pardoned master pirate Henry Morgan (Laird Cregar) now governor of Jamaica to offer amnesty to the other bandits of the sea he sets off on the task along with his trusty sidekick Tommy Blue (Thomas Mitchell) but runs afoul of renegade picaroon Billy Leech (George Sanders-buried under a red wig and beard) and his henchman Wogan (Anthony Quinn) who refuse to give up their thieving ways. Much swordplay ensues. All the while Waring romances the fiery beauty Lady Margaret Denby (Maureen O’Hara). This all unfurls in lush sumptuously rich Technicolor provided by Leon Shamroy who won the Best Color Cinematography Oscar, at the time the category was divided between color and black and white.

    A River Runs Through It (1992)-Mediative drama of two Montana brothers Norman and Paul Maclean (Paul Sheffer and Brad Pitt) and the divergent paths their lives take with their shared love of fly-fishing serving as a metaphor for the vagaries of life. While the story is solid and the acting by the entire cast superior it’s the breathtaking vistas as well as the more intimate scenes shot by Oscar winner Phillipe Rousselot that truly dazzle the eye.

    Legends of the Fall (1994)-Brothers Tristan, Alfred and Samuel Ludlow (Brad Pitt, Aidan Quinn and Henry Thomas) all love the same woman, Susannah Fincannon (Julia Ormond) in the wide-open spaces of their father William’s (Anthony Hopkins) sprawling ranch leading to sorrow for all. Sweeping family melodrama once again set in Montana but a quite different one than A River Runs Through It. This is the Montana of vast spaces and operatic happenings and emotions. Venturing farther afield to other continents and the majesty of the ocean cinematographer John Toll earned his award by using his keen eye to lend a strong chiaroscuro element to the picture.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think my expectations were also really high for Ex Machina before watching, but I am a huge Alicia Vikander, Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson fan, so having all three of them in the movie was enough for me to have it be forever memorable.

      Are you a Brad Pitt fan, or is it just coincidence that he keeps appearing in your picks? 😀


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