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Chasing the Gold: Best Cinematography Analysis (2021)

Chasing the Gold: Best Cinematography Analysis (2021)

If there is any below-the-line category that I personally love, it is Best Cinematography. Unlike most other categories, this is the one that feels like it takes risks and picks more artistic choices for the nominations (with last year alone nominating The Lighthouse in this category). Even with the smaller amount of films that are releasing this year, there are some fantastic choices for what can be nominated in this category. Here is what I have predicted right now – most sight unseen – to get a Best Cinematography nomination.


A film about the craft of cinema. A film that is directed by David Fincher. A film that is filmed in black-and-white. Out of every technical aspect that Mank will get nominated for (and there’s quite a few that I am predicting it for), this nomination is the safest of the lot. It has everything the Academy looks for in a Best Cinematography nomination, and I would honestly place this in your top spot right now. 


Minari is having a sudden surge of support after the first showing back at Sundance in January. From writing and acting, this is slowly having a big shot of being a real Best Picture contender. However, from a majority of the reviews and reactions I have seen from other film critics, the one thing that stands out is the cinematography. If this film does end up being the big contender that it is potentially lining up to be, I would suggest having this in your nominations.

News of the World

Out of the five nominees, this is the one that I am least confident in right now. A western film has a lot of potential to get this cinematography nomination, especially when News of the World is lining up to have a potential sweep technical nominations in Sound, Production, Costume, and Editing. This will be one that we will have a better idea of when we get to see the film, but it is worth noting for now.


This is going to be a major contender for the rest of the awards season, and that includes the nomination for Best Cinematography. You only need to watch the first trailer for this film to know that Nomadland looks stunning, and this is the sort of filmmaking and storytelling that requires strong cinematography. If this is not in your predictions already, then you must put it in now.


There are many issues with Tenet as a film, from the sound to the script. However, the strongest aspect of the film for me is the cinematography, which has to work both forwards and backwards. It is the part that holds the entire premise together and is the showiest use of cinematography in the entire year. Whilst I am still unsure of the other nominations that Tenet might get, I feel pretty confident it getting this one.

My current predictions for Best Cinematography ranked:

  1. Mank
  2. Nomadland
  3. Tenet
  4. Minari
  5. News of the World

Amy joined the InSession Film team in September 2020. Growing up in the north of Scotland, she has been balancing her passion with writing with studying English and Film at University alongside a part-time job. Alongside InSession Film, Amy writes for other publications, including her self-published website Film For Thought. She is also the Arts Editor with a focus on film and cinema for her University’s newspaper and assists in writing for other sections. You can follow her on Twitter @filmswithamy.

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