2022 Oscar® winners rely on ARRI cameras and lenses
The 94th Academy Awards recognized many outstanding films. Oscar® winners including “Dune,” “CODA,” “The Power of the Dog,” and “Drive My Car” were captured using ARRI technology.
The Oscars returned in all its glory this year, adhering to the “new normal” modified COVID protocols to celebrate a year’s worth of cinematic artistry and entertainment. The 94th Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, took place at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles on March 27, 2022, with a full audience and an even larger worldwide viewership. Despite lackluster box office sales in 2021, movies are as popular as ever thanks to streaming services. In fact half of the ten Best Picture nominees were released by streamers.
The Oscar for Best Picture goes to … “CODA”
AppleTV+’s touching, audience-favorite film about a deaf family whose hearing daughter has the dream to sing made Academy history as the first “Best Picture” win for a streaming service. “CODA” was only nominated in three categories but became favored for the top award late in the game after its recent Producers Guild Award best-film win and best-ensemble win at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Cinematographer on the film, Paula Huidobro AMC, chose to shoot ”CODA” using ARRI’s Signature Prime lenses. In an interview with “American Cinematographer Magazine,” Huidobro commented: “The Signature lenses are quite beautiful for portraits, with their depth of field and creamy look.” A combination that delivered for all the personal close ups and the New England landscapes.
“CODA” cast pose backstage with director and producers: (from left) Patrick Wachsberger (producer), Eugenio Derbez, Sian Heder (director), Marlee Matlin, Troy Kotsur, Emilia Jones, Daniel Durant, Amy Forsyth, Philippe Rousselet (producer) and Fabrice Gianfermi (producer).
Out of the other nine films nominated by the Academy for Best Picture, seven of them were captured with ARRI cameras. Large-format camera systems continue to be in high demand. Netflix's cerebral and emotionally intense western, "The Power of the Dog," made Academy history when director Jane Campion became the first women ever to be nominated twice for Best Director (she was previously nominated for "The Piano" in 1993). This year, Campion took home the golden statue for directing. The cinematographer on “The Power of the Dog,” Ari Wegner ACS—the second woman ever to be nominated for Best Cinematography—chose to work with the ARRI ALEXA LF as the main camera and ARRI ALEXA Mini LF as support.
Jane Campion poses with the Oscar® for Directing “The Power of the Dog.”
For “Belfast,” cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos BSC, GSC chose to work with ARRI’s ALEXA Mini LF camera. The film was shot digitally and then converted mostly to black-and-white in post. Adam McKay’s “Don’t Look Up,” was lensed by DP Linus Sandgren ASC, FSF on the ARRICAM LT/ST in 35 mm for Netflix. The solo foreign entry in this category was from Japan. Director Ryûsuke Hamaguchi and cinematographer Hidetoshi Shinomiya choose ALEXA Mini with ARRI/ZEISS Ultra Prime lenses for “Drive My Car” which was awarded the Oscar for Best International Feature Film earlier in the evening. ARRI’s ALEXA XT Plus and ALEXA Mini cameras captured Will Smith’s Oscar winning performance in “King Richard” through the talents of DP Robert Elswit ASC. “Nightmare Alley” brought the “Shape of Water” (2018) Best Picture winning duo, director Guillermo del Toro and cinematographer Dan Laustsen ASC, DFF, back together. DP Laustsen relied on ARRI Rental’s ALEXA 65 large-format camera as well as the ARRI ALEXA LF, Mini LF, and ARRI Signature Prime lenses. ARRI Rental also serviced the production which was shot in the USA and Canada.
The seventh film shot with ARRI cameras on the noms list for Best Picture was Denis Villeneuve’s fantastical sci-fi thriller “Dune.” Even though this epic first installment of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel was passed over for top prize of the evening, “Dune” scored the top camera accolade. Achievement in Cinematography is always a highly anticipated category at ARRI and this year’s competitive playing field speaks volumes for the talent in the industry. Four out of the five contenders in this category chose to capture their masterpieces with ARRI cameras.
The Oscar for Achievement in Cinematography goes to … Greig Fraser ACS, ASC for “Dune”
Piggybacking on its recent Best Cinematography win at the ASC Awards (American Society of Cinematographers) and BAFTA Awards (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) earlier this year, “Dune” and its incomparable DP Greig Fraser ACS, ASC, were honored with Oscar gold for cinematography at the 94th Academy Awards. In late 2021, Fraser was also awarded the bronze frog at Camerimage, an international film festival in Poland that recognizes the art of cinematography.
Going into the award show with the second most nominations, “Dune,” a Warner Bros. release, debuted simultaneously in theaters and via streaming. It was nominated in a whopping ten categories at this year’s Academy Awards and became the biggest winner of the evening, earning six golden statuettes, including Film Editing, Original Score, Production Design, Sound, Visual Effects, and Cinematography.
“Dune” was shot on ARRI’s ALEXA LF and Mini LF cameras with Panavision H-Series and Ultra Vista lenses. The production was serviced with lighting and grip gear by ARRI Rental. Villeneuve and Fraser composed the visual masterpiece with a combination of wide shots (vast desert landscapes) and extreme close-ups (intimate character portraits). After working with the ALEXA Mini LF camera on “Dune,” Fraser commented: “The Mini LF has made possible what I thought was previously impossible with large-format photography. The freedom it allows me as a DP, to move the camera in whatever way I feel is best, is unbeatable. Congratulations on successfully and constantly pushing the boundaries in technology, making my job even more exciting!”
Greig Fraser accepts the Oscar® for Cinematography during the live ABC telecast of the 94th Oscars®.
“Nightmare Alley,” nominated for both Best Cinematography and Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards was shot with ARRI Rental’s ALEXA 65 camera, as well as the ARRI ALEXA LF, Mini LF, and ARRI Signature Prime lenses. In servicing the production, ARRI Rental had many chances to catch up with cinematographer Dan Laustsen ASC, DFF, who spoke about his choice of camera: “It wasn’t just about the resolution; I chose the ALEXA 65 because I knew we were going to do a lot of wide-angle close-ups, and this format is fantastic for that. The way it falls off is really, really beautiful. Especially with what we were doing, putting diffusion behind the lens.”
Rising superstar cinematographer Ari Wegner ACS captured the breathtaking scenery and raw energy of “The Power of the Dog” with ARRI’s ALEXA Mini LF and ALEXA LF cameras. Earlier this year, Wegner made history by becoming the first female cinematographer to win the BSC’s (British Society of Cinematographers) Best Cinematography in a Theatrical Feature Film for “The Power of the Dog.” In the 94-year history of the Academy Awards, only one other woman (Rachel Morrison ASC, for “Mudbound” in 2018) has been nominated in the cinematography category. ARRI had the chance to interview Wegner where she commented: “The ALEXA LF was a great choice for us. We had the full-size LFs for the main work and we had a Mini LF for Steadicam.” The entire interview can be seen on YouTube.
Also nominated for Achievement in Cinematography, DP Bruno Delbonnel ASC, AFC, shot “The Tragedy of Macbeth” with the ARRI ALEXA LF and Cooke lenses, captured in the rich ARRIRAW file format. Joel Cohn’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s 400-year-old drama is highly stylized in black and white. In an interview with ARRI, Delbonnel mentioned: “With digital, the ARRI color science is great—it suits me perfectly. With ARRIRAW, it’s like a pure neg. There’s nothing better. You have all the information you need, and then you can manipulate the image later, in post, as much as you like.” Monitors on the set displayed the images in black and white, although the camera sensor was capturing the full range of color information. Debonnel continued: “I was not interested in recreating an old-fashioned style of photography, and I didn’t want to refer to other black and white movies. I wanted something very crisp and modern…when you see skin, there’s a presence. So, the ALEXA LF was perfect for me because it gives crisp 4K images. The LF camera and Cooke lenses were the perfect combination.”
The Oscar for Achievement in Visual Effects goes to … “Dune”
All but one of the nominated films in the category Achievement in Visual Effects was shot with ARRI. In the end, another golden statuette was handed over to “Dune.” Despite its fantastical creatures and complicated machinery, Director Denis Villeneuve was adamant about keeping his sci-fi world believable. The technical feat of this visually overwhelming picture can not only be attributed to its direction and cinematography alone. Great skill in visual effects also helped to create the illusion that the desert planet Arrakis with its flying dragonfly ornithopter and immense sand worms looked realistic. Villeneuve’s talented VFX team was helmed by Paul Lambert, Tristan Myles, Brian Connor, and Gerd Nefzer. Other ARRI supported nominees in this category were “Free Guy” (ALEXA 65, ALEXA SXT, ALEXA Mini, serviced by ARRI Rental), “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” (ALEXA Mini LF, ALEXA LF), and “Spider-Man: No Way Home” (ALEXA Mini LF).
Brian Connor, Paul Lambert, Gerd Nefzer, and Tristan Myles pose backstage with the Oscar® for Visual Effects with Rachel Zegler (left) and Jacob Elordi (right)
The Oscar for Best International Feature Film goes to … “Drive My Car”
The Oscar for Best International Feature Film went to Japan and Director Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s three hour “Drive My Car.” Cinematographer Hidetoshi Shinomiya choose to work with ALEXA Mini with ARRI/ZEISS Ultra Prime lenses. Signature Prime lenses were the choice of DP Daria d’Antonio for Paolo Sorrentino's film “The Hand of God.” In an interview with ARRI, d’Antonio said: “The ARRI Signature Primes allowed me to get incredible image sharpness and great detail, while maintaining a big difference between the foreground figure and the background with a softness that I really appreciated. We did a lot of testing, but the ARRI Signature Primes outperformed all other lenses we considered because of their unique combination of high optical precision and very low weight.” To see the full interview, please visit YouTube. Also nominated in this category was “The Worst Person in the World” from Norway, directed by Joachim Trier and lensed by DP Kasper Tuxen. ARRICAM LT was used on this film which, according to Tuxen “is the best film camera ever made.”