Women Cinematographers Are Primed For a Big Year in 2017

By  · Published on December 28th, 2016


Because they deserve way more recognition.

First Look: Mudbound

Movie awards ceremonies are a trivia gold mine. And since I prefer to stuff my brain with an assortment of facts rather than, say, how to do my taxes, I know a lot. For example, did you know that Bob Hope hosted the Academy Awards 18 times? Or that the Golden Globe statuette weighs 5.5 pounds? How about: the first and last time a woman won Best Director Motion Picture at the Golden Globes was in 1983 (Barbra Streisand, Yentl). And: only one Academy Award Best Picture nominee has been directed by a woman of color (Ava DuVernay, Selma).

Perhaps the most incredulous and infuriating bit of trivia I’ve come across is that no woman has ever won an Oscar for Best Cinematography because no woman has ever even been nominated. Seriously. It’s actually the only category in which a woman has yet to be nominated. Congratulations, Academy, you’ve truly outdone yourselves.

Could the upcoming Academy Awards finally give us a female nominee? Indiewire has Fences (Charlotte Bruus Christensen) and Hidden Figures (Mandy Walker) pegged as potential nominee contenders, which is promising. And since Emmanuel Lubezki is taking a break this year, literally anything could happen!

As we wait for those nominees to be announced, I can’t help but look ahead to some upcoming 2017 releases featuring work from women cinematographers. Partially because we may end up waiting another year to break that glass ceiling but mostly because these are damn talented cinematographers who deserve recognition.

Neon Demon

Natasha BraierUntitled Nash Edgerton Project

You likely had your mind blown like I did by Natasha Braier’s work in Neon Demon. I didn’t particularly like the film but I was mesmerized by the visuals. She was also nominated for an Australian Film Critics Association Award for Rover (2014). Her upcoming film is a dark comedy by Nash Edgerton and starring Thandie Newton, Charlize Theron, and Joel Edgerton. If it’s anything like his short film Bear, it will be nothing short of amazing.


Maryse Alberti — Chappaquiddick

2015’s Creed features one of the most mesmerizing scenes I’ve ever seen. It’s a long-take of a fight scene with the camera weaving in and around the fighters like a beautiful ballet. We should all be thankful that director Ryan Coogler saw Maryse Alberti’s work in 2008’s The Wrestler and wanted to bring a similar realism to Creed. Chappaquiddick, Alberti’s next film, is about the aftermath of the car accident Ted Kennedy was involved in that killed Mary Jo Kopechne. It’s directed by John Curran (The Painted Veil) and features a heavy-hitting cast including Jason Clarke, Kate Mara, Ed Helms, and Bruce Dern.

Far From The Madding Crowd

Charlotte Bruus Christensen — Molly’s Game

Like I mentioned above, Indiewire has Fences pegged as a potential Best Cinematography nominee, which could make Charlotte Bruus Christensen the first-ever female nominee. Her next film is Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut, Molly’s Game. It’s the almost too-crazy-to-be-true story of a young Olympic-hopeful skier who runs one of the most exclusive poker games before being caught by the FBI. Christensen’s previous work includes The Hunt and Far From The Madding Crowd so it will be interesting to see what she brings to a Sorkin project. (Imagine those walk-and-talk scenes!)

Fruitvale Station

Rachel Morrison — Mudbound

Rachel Morrison caught my eye with her incredible work in Fruitvale Station and then again with Dope. She’s teaming up with Coogler again for 2018’s Black Panther, but before that we can see her work in Dee Rees’ Mudbound. The film follows two men who return home after WWII and struggle to adjust. Mudbound marks Rees’ return to Sundance (Pariah premiered at the 2011 Festival), this time in the Premieres category.


Mandy WalkerThe Mountains Between Us

Indiewire also has Mandy Walker tapped as a potential nominee for her work on Hidden Figures. Her previous work includes Australia and Tracks and we can see her work her magic again in the upcoming The Mountains Between Us. Directed by Hany Abu-Assad, it stars Kate Winslet and Idris Elba and is about two people who survive a plane crash in the mountains. Walker expertly and beautifully captured loneliness and survival in Tracks so The Mountains Between Us should be similarly stunning.

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