The Fifties for 2012: Cinematography
Ben Richardson for Beasts of the Southern Wild, for seamlessly blending natural lighting and fantastical accents, pulling out detail even in quick-moving shots, making FX-heavy images work;
Mihai Malaimare, Jr., for The Master, for making 65mm more than a talking point, using it to galvanize the movie's preoccupations with captivating surfaces that feel impenetrable;
Gökhan Tiryaki, for Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, for fields of deep black streaked by dazzling pools of headlamp or flashlight illumination, and for granular detail in close-up or long shot;
Adam Arkapaw, for The Snowtown Murders, for injecting such Polaroid seediness into his typically vivid compositions and sharp edge-lighting, and using fluorescents to such advantage; and
Fred Kelemen for The Turin Horse, for the lithographic beauty of its silvers, greys, and blacks, for making air palpable, and for the impact of quotidian objects and textures.
Honorable mentions, as I say, trailed these field-leaders, but that's no discredit to work as good as Jakob Ihre's fluid camera movements and remarkable sensitivity to faces and social dynamics in Oslo, August 31st; Mátyás Erdély's muscular sequence shots and stomach-tightening play with depth of field and off-screen space in Miss Bala; Florian Hoffmeister's amber, ink, and indigo variations on Terence Davies's delicate house style in The Deep Blue Sea; Robert Yeoman's artfully two-dimensional, broad-palette storybook aesthetics in Moonrise Kingdom, with more warmth and subtle human detail than Anderson has attained since Tenenbaums; and Robert Elswit's characteristic elegance with color and composition, even amid frenzied sequences, in The Bourne Legacy.