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Thursday, January 22, 2009

What's Unique About the 2009 Oscar Noms?

We've had a CG-animated film win an Oscar ('Toy Story' won a special award in 1995, and 'Shrek' won in 2001, when the Best Animated Feature Film category was created.)

We've had a digitally-edited film win an Oscar ('The English Patient,' in 1996, was edited using an Avid, as was 'Titanic' in 1997.)

We've had lots of Best Visual Effects winners that have relied on computers.

But what have we never had, so far? A Best Cinematography winner -- or even a nominee -- that was shot using a digital camera.

Until this morning, that is, when 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' showed up on the list of nominees.

If it wins, what a milestone for all the cinematographers and techies who've helped test and improve digital cameras over the past decade. (And what a kick-in-the-teeth tipping point for our friends at Kodak, which is still running magazine ads about how much better film is than digital.)

Here's a piece from Film & Video about cinematographer Claudio Miranda's use of the Viper digital camera, from Thomson Grass Valley. (This Apple.com piece offers even more.)

Update: Mike Phillips points out, in the comments and via e-mail, that perhaps as much as 80 percent of 'Slumdog Millionaire' was shot with the SI-2K digital camera from Silicon Imaging. Cinematographer.com says it was used on more than half of the film. Ben Cain of HD Cinema has some criticism of the results.

What do you think? Is it as big a deal if 'Slumdog,' a film/digital hybrid, wins?

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