Cinematographer Roger Deakins: Top Gun, The Batman Snubbed Over Oscars "Snobbery"

Blockbusters Top Gun: Maverick and The Batman were shut out of the Best Cinematography category at the 95th Oscars because of "snobbery," says cinematographer Roger Deakins. The 16-time nominee and two-time Oscar winner (Blade Runner 2049 and 1917) competed in this year's category for the Sam Mendes-directed Empire of Light and has amassed a body of work that includes 1994's The Shawshank Redemption, 2007's No Country for Old Men, 2010's True Grit, 2012's Skyfall, and 2015's Sicario. In a pre-Oscars interview with Deadline, Deakins argued that "the best cinematography hasn't been nominated": the Top Gun sequel, shot by Claudio Miranda, and the Greig Fraser-shot The Batman.

"It's The Batman. That's the best work in my view," Deakins said, praising Fraser's "extraordinary" work on filmmaker Matt Reeves' grim and gritty reboot. Deakins argued that The Batman — which was nominated for Best Sound, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, and Best Visual Effects, but went home empty-handed — was a glaring omission from the cinematography category. 

"The reason it wasn't is pure and simple: snobbery. There's this unfair tendency to avoid the Marvel universe and the other popular universes," Deakins said, adding Top Gun: Maverick "is another one that was shut out." 

"It comes down to the work. Good work is good work whatever the genre," Deakins said. When it was pointed out that Fraser was awarded the cinematography Oscar last year for director Denis Villeneuve's Dune, Deakins said his point stands: "The snobbery remains."

This year's cinematography nominees included Deakins for Empire of Light, Darius Khondji for Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths, Mandy Walker for Elvis, Florian Hoffmeister for Tár, and James Friend for All Quiet on the Western Front, which won the award.

The big winners of the night were Everything Everywhere All at Once, the most-awarded Best Picture winner since 2008's Slumdog Millionaire and the first film since 2013's Gravity to win seven Oscars in one night, and All Quiet on the Western Front, which took home gold for Best International Feature Film, Best Original Score, and Best Production Design in addition to Cinematography.

Top Gun: Maverick is available to stream now on Paramount+; The Batman is streaming on HBO Max.