LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Here’s an Oscar fact to focus on: Roger Deakins is the first director of photography to receive two nominations in the same year since 1971.
The cinematographer on “No Country for Old Men” and “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” pulled off the first double in the category since Robert Surtees was nominated for “The Last Picture Show” and “Summer of ‘42.”
Deakins is no stranger to Oscar’s attention, having earned five nominations — for the Coen brothers’ “The Man Who Wasn’t There,” “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” and “Fargo” as well as “Kundun” and “The Shawshank Redemption.”
“It’s fantastic. How often do you get so lucky to do two such great and varied films?” a surprised Deakins said, adding that this year saw “such stiff competition and such diverse work.”
“No Country” and “Jesse James” both are Westerns in the broadest sense but vary in approach. “No Country” is a dark, contemporary thriller with lighting that builds suspense. “Jesse James” is a stylized period drama.
Deakins also earned accolades for a third film in 2007, “In the Valley of Elah.”
Celebrating his Oscar nominations will have to wait because he’s on location in New York shooting “Doubt,” John Patrick Shanley’s screen adaptation of his hit play.
“We are shooting exteriors,” he said Tuesday. “There’s a bright sunny sky, and we want clouds. I’m worried about that. I hope they get here soon.”
In an unusual twist, this year’s Oscar cinematography contenders are the same five nominated for the American Society of Cinematographers Awards, which will be handed out Saturday. Rounding out the cinematography nominees are Seamus McGarvey for “Atonement,” Janusz Kaminski for “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” and Robert Elswit for “There Will Be Blood.”
“(Deakins) is in a class all his own,” Elswit said. “There the rest of us, and there’s Roger Deakins.”