American Cinematographers Name Best of Decade

Voters at American Cinematography magazine have released a list of their top 50 best films of the past decade, from a cinematography standpoint. It’s always nice when actual members of the industry recognize their peers like this – a lot of the time, their insight and expert knowledge produces some interesting choices that are unexpected by us laymen.

Bruce Delbonnel’s work on Amélie, for instance, would not have been the first thing that came to mind, but it is very deserving of it’s #1 spot. Fight Club is also not generally thought of for its cinematography, but Jeff Cronenweth’s moody lighting and surreal shots perfectly fit Fincher’s grungy cult classic. I greatly appreciated the love for Roger Deakins, my personal favorite DP. If I could change anything, I would put The Assassination of Jesse James somewhere in the top 10, and bump Gladiator out of the top 15 in favor of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly or Slumdog Millionaire (note: the “decade” they are considering actually actually goes from 1998 to 2008, which is slightly random and covers 11 years, but whatever). Still, it’s a great list, with all the best names in the business getting their due, along with a few pleasant surprises. Let’s see what you think.

  1. Amélie (Bruce Delbonnel, 2001)
  2. Children of Men (Emmanuel Lubezki, 2006)
  3. Saving Private Ryan (Janusz Kaminski, 1998)
  4. There Will Be Blood (Robert Elswit, 2007)
  5. No Country for Old Men (Roger Deakins, 2007)
  6. Fight Club (Jeff Cronenweth, 1999)
  7. The Dark Knight (Wally Pfister, 2008)
  8. Road to Perdition (Conrad L. Hall, 2002)
  9. City of God (César Charlone, 2002)
  10. American Beauty (Hall, 1999)
  11. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Deakins, 2007)
  12. tie: In the Mood for Love (Christopher Doyle, Mark Li Ping-bin, 2000) and Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo Navarro, 2006)
  13. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (Andrew Lesnie, 2001, 2002, 2003)
  14. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Ellen Kuras, 2004)
  15. Gladiator (John Mathieson, 2000)
  16. The Matrix (Bill Pope, 1999)
  17. The Thin Red Line (John Toll, 1998)
  18. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Kaminski, 2007)
  19. Slumdog Millionaire (Anthony Dod Mantle, 2008)
  20. tie: Eyes Wide Shut (Larry Smith, 1999) and Requiem for a Dream (Matthew Libatique, 2000)
  21. Kill Bill, Vol.1 & 2 (Robert Richardson, 2003, 2004)
  22. Moulin Rouge (Donald McAlpine, 2001)
  23. The Pianist (Pawel Edelman, 2002)
  24. Hero (Doyle, 2002)
  25. Black Hawk Down (Slawomir Idziak, 2001)
  26. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (Deakins, 2000)
  27. Babel (Rodrigo Prieto, 2006)
  28. Lost in Translation (Lance Acord, 2003)
  29. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Peter Pau, 2000)
  30. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Claudio Miranda, 2008)
  31. The Man Who Wasn’t There (Deakins, 2001)
  32. The New World (Lubezki, 2005)
  33. Sin City (Robert Rodriguez, 2005)
  34. Atonement (Seamus McGarvey, 2007)
  35. Munich (Kaminski, 2005)
  36. The Prestige (Pfister, 2006)
  37. Memoirs of a Geisha (Dion Beebe, 2005)
  38. The Aviator (Richardson, 2004)
  39. Zodiac (Harris Savides, 2007)
  40. The Insider (Dante Spinotti, 1999)
  41. Gangs of New York (Michael Ballhaus, 2002)
  42. tie: Brokeback Mountain (Prieto, 2005) and The Fountain (Libatique, 2006)
  43. The Fall (Colin Watkinson, 2006)
  44. The Passion of the Christ (Caleb Deschanel, 2004)
  45. Snow Falling on Cedars (Richardson, 1999)
  46. House of Flying Daggers (Xiaoding Zhao, 2004)
  47. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (Eric Adkins, 2004)

One thought on “American Cinematographers Name Best of Decade

  1. When I read the preface, I thought automatically, “Andrew Lesnie!” because that’s the only DP I know by name. And lo and behold, he was there.

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