FILM #31

OF 39

FEBRUARY 27, 2023

DAY 35

OF 48

Best Achievement in Cinematography
Cinematography by Roger Deakins

Sam Mendes and Roger Deakins team together again to bring something much different than they’ve ever done before. “Empire Of Light” tells a more personable story about a group of people working at a cinema in England in the 1980s. Olivia Colman plays Hilary Small, a fragile woman working as a manager at the Empire Cinema. She’s dealing with bipolar disorder and being used for sex by her married boss (Colin Firth). When a new hire, Stephen Murray (Michael Ward), shows her interest, she starts an affair with him in the abandoned parts of the theater.

This film is not what we’ve come to expect with Roger Deakins as the cinematographer. None of his signature angles and larger-than-life framing shows up, and none of the imagery ever stands out. You’d never know this was a Sam Mendes film or a film shot by Deakins. It’s just a slow-burn drama about people dealing with the harshness of life as they work at a cinema.



92nd Academy Awards (2019)Best Cinematography“1917”WINNER
90th Academy Awards (2017)Best Cinematography“Blade Runner 2049”WINNER
88th Academy Awards (2015)Best Cinematography“Sicario”Nominee
87th Academy Awards (2014)Best Cinematography“Unbroken”Nominee
86th Academy Awards (2013)Best Cinematography“Prisoners”Nominee
85th Academy Awards (2012)Best Cinematography“Skyfall”Nominee
83rd Academy Awards (2010)Best Cinematography“True Grit”Nominee
81st Academy Awards (2008)Best Cinematography“The Reader”Nominee
80th Academy Awards (2007)Best Cinematography“The Assassination of Jesse James
by the Coward Robert Ford”
Best Cinematography“No Country for Old Men”Nominee
74th Academy Awards (2001)Best Cinematography“The Man Who Wasn’t There”Nominee
73rd Academy Awards (2000)Best Cinematography“O Brother, Where Art Thou?”Nominee
70th Academy Awards (1997)Best Cinematography“Kundun”Nominee
69th Academy Awards (1996)Best Cinematography“Fargo”Nominee
67th Academy Awards (1995)Best Cinematography“The Shawshank Redemption”Nominee

A drama about the power of human connection during turbulent times, set in an English coastal town in the early 1980s.

Directed by Sam Mendes
Searchlight Pictures
December 9, 2022
119 minutes


BAFTA Awards — Best Cinematography (Nominee)
Alliance of Women Film Journalists Awards — Best Cinematography (Nominee)
American Society of Cinematographers Awards — Cinematography in Theatrical Film (Nominee)
Camerimage Awards — Main Competition (Nominee)
Critics Choice Awards — Best Cinematography (Nominee)
Florida Film Critics Circle Awards — Best Cinematography (Nominee)
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards — Best Cinematography (Nominee)
North Texas Film Critics Ass. Awards — Best Cinematography (Nominee)
Online Ass. of Female Film Critics Awards — Best Cinematography (Nominee)
Satellite Awards — Best Cinematography (Nominee)
Sunset Film Circle Awards — Best Cinematography (Nominee)
Washington DC Area Film Critics Ass. Awards — Best Cinematography (Nominee)


1. “All Quiet on the Western Front” — James Friend
2. “Elvis” — Mandy Walker
3. “Empire of Light” — Roger Deakins
4. “TÁR” — Florian Hoffmeister
5. “Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths” — Darius Khondji


1. “All Quiet on the Western Front” — James Friend
2. “Elvis” — Mandy Walker
3. “Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths” — Darius Khondji
4. “TÁR” — Florian Hoffmeister
5. “Empire of Light” — Roger Deakins

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