Although the Best Cinematography Oscar is directly tied to the American Society of Cinematographers’ award for the same category, they have disagreed so often that you cannot count on the ASC to give a truly accurate picture of where Academy voters might head. After all, only ASC members vote here, but at the Oscars, non-cinematographers also vote, which means they sometimes pick pretty over great.
AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CINEMATOGRAPHERS AWARDS
Blade Runner 2049 (Wesley, Peter, Thomas, RU:Tripp)
Mudbound (Tripp, RU:Wesley, RU:Peter)
The Shape of Water (RU:Thomas)
Wesley Lovell: Roger Deakins is a beloved figure among cinematographers and they’ve seldom not recognized him. I sincerely doubt that they will go another direction, but if they do, they may just pick Mudbound to show they aren’t above going outside the “club.”
Peter J. Patrick: Unlike the Oscars, voters who come from all disciplines, the cinematographers know very well who Roger Deakins is, and in fact have already given him three competitive awards and a life achievement award. I think they’ll give him another award for Blade Runner 2049. Rachel Morrison, the first female nominee (for Mudbound) might well be his closest competition.
Tripp Burton: The ASC has already given several awards to Roger Deakins, who has never won an Oscar, so they may not be as itchy to give him this as Oscar voters may be. That means that they could instead honor Rachel Morrison, the Mudbound cinematographer who has gotten a lot of press for being the first female nominated in this category at the Oscars. If either Dunkirk or Shape of Water wins here, it could mean they are in for a big night at the Oscars.
Thomas LaTourette: I find this a difficult one to call. The guild has given several awards to Roger Deakins over the years, so there is not that feeling of his being passed over that the Oscars has. That could leave the way open for The Shape of Water or even Dunkirk to win. I am not certain if the winner here will shed light on the probable Oscar winner, but one can hope. If Deakins wins, that will help his Oscar chances, but that has happened before. If The Shape of Water wins here, that probably will mean that Deakins will have to wait yet another year to finally win an Oscar. So I think Blade Runner 2049 will win, but it may not as well.