Emmanuel Lubenzki is probably going to make history by winning the most coveted Academy Award (The Oscar) for Cinematography in 3 consecutive years. After Gravity(2013) and Birdman (2014), The Revenant is definitely a top-notch contender, which can get Mr.Lubezki the 88the Academy Award.
I literally went to watch ‘The Revenant’ just to soothe myself saying Leonardo is going to get Oscars this year but I came out saying Lubezki aced it again! It would be damn disappointing if this movie does not get an Academy for ‘Best Cinematography’ rather than for ‘Best Picture’ and ‘Best Actor’!!
This Mexican DoP has teamed up with the Mexican director Alejandro Inarittu yet again for ‘The Revenant’ after Birdman. The Revenant needs to be considered as the most difficult movie to direct, to shoot and even to act in. The most herculean task in this movie is the weather, almost every frame of the movie is shot in exterior locations and in frigid zones of Canada and Argentina. Adding to that, this film was shot in natural light though the days were very short!
Initially, Lubezki wanted to shoot the picture on film, but after some tests, he realized that digital would be apt. In his own words – “It didn’t have the sensitivity to capture the scenes we were trying to shoot, especially the things we shot at dawn and dusk,” he says. So, he used the Arri Alexa 65 digital camera with lenses from 12mm to 21mm.
“It also allowed us to (work) without any noise or grain between the audience and the actor,” Lubezki describes. “It’s a little like watching everything through a window; it’s clean, and there’s no texture between you and the character. I felt this was my divorce from film — finally.”
As already said, 11-month intense shooting of this movie is an arduous and challenging task. Even Leonardo has mentioned that he had done 30-40 hardest shots of his career in this movie. But the D.O.P says it was not his hardest but probably be “The New World,” as it was filmed in Virginia during the wettest summer in history. During that period, Mr.Lubezki was sent to the hospital once but he still comments, “You have to learn how to manage your energy because you want to use it to shoot the movie.” Meanwhile, “your body is starting to say, ‘Go back to the hotel! … Go back to the hotel!’ ”
In the end, it was all worth it. “And while natural light is very complex because it’s constantly changing — which can be a problem for continuity — it’s beautiful.”
The journey really shows when you watch the movie,” he says. Let us wish Mr.Lubezki a hat-trick Oscar!