Best Black and White Picture: 2022 Edition – Blog


from Claudia Alves

Remember when Bong Joon-ho and NEON did a special re-release of parasite in black and white? Since then, it’s been a tradition of awards season to imagine what the Academy’s Best Picture nominees would look like without color. This exercise is mostly based around silly fun, as there’s more to black and white cinema than just turning down the saturation controls. However, she sometimes reveals exciting things about the films at hand. Whose cinematography relies most on chromatic contrast? Which image would best survive, maybe even surpass, in monochrome? Last year, The power of the dog turned out to be a silver revelation reminiscent of mid-century revisionist westerns. Let’s see if this group of nominees has similar success…

cinematography band James Friend

Get rid of that overly modern color correction and the war film shines beautifully. However, such stylistic limitations are too reminiscent of the 1930 adaptation and call for more direct comparisons, which Berger’s vision dislikes. Still, it looks better than I expected.

Cinematography by Russell carpenter

It turns out that Pandora is almost unsuitable in black and white. Despite the dominance of the blue tone, Cameron’s photographs are based on a diverse palette in which the visual excess of an alien world is modulated by controlled color stories.

Cinematography by Mandy Walker

Going through the biopic looking for salient shots was a nice exercise, as it illustrated the brilliance of Walker’s objectification. It’s an excellent work, sometimes lost in the noise of editing, all consumed by Luhrmann’s frenzied rhythms. But even without the vivid tones, these shots impress.

Cinematography by Larkin Seiple

While I share some of the Academy’s affection for this year’s frontrunner, its cinematography always felt like an Achilles’ heel. Take the color out and things don’t improve, with some lighting options feeling particularly ugly in the image’s office building environment. Also, you lose a lot of multiverse diversity by confining mayhem to shades of silver.

Cinematography by Florian Hofmeister

My selection from the Best Cinematography series unsurprisingly looks fantastic in greyscale monochrome. This limitation contributes to the scalpel-like precision of many recordings. However, I do miss the light wood tones ubiquitous in architecture, the flashes of red hair dripping guilt, and the brown decay permeating Lydia’s world of glossy surfaces and sharp dark suits.

Cinematography by Ben Davis

My dislike for Davies’ work remains once you remove the inconsistent color grading that mars much of his visual presentations. Still, the grandeur conveyed by black and white does much to transcend the levels of postcard beauty inherent in the landscape.

Cinematography by Janusz Kamiński

Like Holly Hunter, I wish Spielberg would divorce his cameraman right now. Their creative partnership has long since dried up, and the Polish filmmaker’s airs and graces are becoming increasingly detrimental with each new film. Quiet, The Fabelmans is full of great compositions courtesy of its director and some play with stylized lighting that creates a beautiful effect even without color.

Cinematography by Claudia Miranda

top gun really needs color to distinguish between the many golden oranges of the sunset or the varying shades of blue seen high in the sky. Some action scenes become incomprehensible without the chromatic distinction between heaven and earth.

Cinematography by Friedrich Wenzel

There are so many structural contrasts between the ship and the wild that the aesthetic division of the nudes is not lost when the color fades away. Still, it feels like a downgrade, which is particularly noticeable in parts of the story that focus on the work of crafting images for the Instagram age.

Cinematography by Luc Montpellier

It’s time for a bold statement – if Polley had delivered a black and white women talk in theaters, the film would have received a Best Cinematography nomination. The lens is so strong, so nicely calibrated in terms of deep shadows and bright lights, that it only wins with the transformation. In all honesty, the original’s muddy colors are already so weak that it would have been better practice to recreate the images in a less desaturated form.

Which of the 95th Best Picture Oscar nominees would you like to rediscover in black and white?

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