Cinematographer Deakins


Roger Deakins is the cinematographer behind the visuals of Blade Runner 2049. His history is beautifully extensive. His very recent collaborative work with Denis Villeneuve takes in Sicario, and Blade Runner 2049, flags his fourteenth Oscar nomination for Best Cinematographer with the Academy.  Roger Deakins has just won that coveted Oscar award for Cinematography at the ceremony in Hollywood, CA.

Deakins grew up on Torquay in Devon as a focused artist with clear skills in painting in oils and watercolour.  He also discovered a deep interest in stills photography and after a time at the Bath School of Art and Design, he changed course to enrol in the National Film and Television School in Buckinghamshire. Deakins’ present-day cinematic style stems from early documentary film production, which he has at times gone back to.


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Roger Deakins

Deakins began his collaboration with Joel and Ethan Coen in 1991 on the film Barton Fink. He received his first major award from the American Society of Cinematographers for his outstanding achievement in cinematography for The Shawshank Redemption in 1994. His work on No Country for Old Men, Unbroken, Prisoners, True Grit, then Skyfall in 2012 drew critical acclaim before connecting with Villeneuve for Sicario.


Deakins almost always uses spherical lens (as opposed to anamorphic), and if the scene allows, he also uses very few light sources and fills with scrim to balance between three stops. “There are no rules,” he repeatedly says on his site.  He lights the background in the opposite to the foreground talent, bringing the attention to the front. His preferred lenses are the ARRI Master Prime series and his camera of choice is the ARRI Alexa. But the technology of a pixel, the lens and camera type has never been the essential part of his job.

“Selling a world, a story where people have accepted and been immersed in, is when I know we’ve done our job well,” says Deakin in a 2015 interview by DP/30. “The original Blade Runner is quite a milestone in film really and to be asked to shoot the sequel is brilliant because I love science fiction.  The chance to immerse the audience in this incredible world is a gift, but mostly because Denis [Villeneuve] is directing.”


As projects go, Roger proved time and again his work on Blade Runner 2049 was worthy of the original, shot by Jordan Cronenweth in 1982. As awards go, Roger Deakins has only just won the top prize for theatrical motion pictures at the 32nd annual American Society of Cinematographers Awards, his fourth such trophy. He also won the BAFTA Cinematography Award this year, his fourth BAFTA as well.

One thing I know for sure is one of the only people not thinking too much about an acceptance speech for Sunday night is Roger Deakins himself. He will be a happy man tonight.  Hats off!



The Goldfinch (2018)
Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
Hail Caesar (2015)
Sicario (2015)
Unbroken (2014)
Prisoners (2013)
Skyfall (2012)
In Time (2011)
True Grit (2010)
Company Men (2010)
A Serious Man (2009)
Doubt (2008)
The Reader (2008)
Revolutionary Road (2008)
In the Valley of Elah (2007)
No Country for Old Men (2007)
The Assassination of Jesse James… (2007)
Jarhead (2005)
The Village (2004)
The LadyKillers (2004)
The House of Sand and Fog (2003)
Intolerable Cruelty (2003)
Levity (2003)
A Beautiful Mind (2001)
Dinner with Friends (2001)
The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001)
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
Anywhere But Here (1999)
The Hurricane (1999)
The Siege (1998)
The Big Lebowski (1998)
Kundun (1997)
Courage Under Fire (1996)
Fargo (1996)
Dead Man Walking (1995)
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)
The Secret Garden (1993)
Passion Fish (1992)
Thunderheart (1992)
Barton Fink (1991)
Homicide (1991)
The Long Walk Home (1990)
Air America (1990)
Mountains of the Moon (1990)
Pascali’s Island (1989)
Stormy Monday (1988)
The Kitchen Toto (1987)
Personal Services (1987)
White Mischief (1987)
Sid and Nancy (1986)
Defense of the Realm (1985)
Shadey (1985)
The Innocent (1985)
Return to Waterloo (1984)
Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)
The House (1984)
Another Time, Another Place (1983)


Related links:  
Roger Deakins’ IMDB
Roger Deakins’ site
Indie Wire

1 comment

  1. His work is consistently great but not uniform. He can make his mark without leaving too much of a print, which I really admire. I think he really adds something of his own to a director’s vision and every movie he’s ever done looks better because of him. While I personally think that trophies are meaningless, I also think this particular category becomes meaningless if it’s not rewarding the brightest talent there is.

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