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Circuit Madness 2020: Cinematography Winners Compete for the Title

Over the past few years, Awards Circuit has filled the Oscar-offseason with what we call “Circuit Madness.” It’s our spin on the March Madness college basketball tournament the NCAA hosts annually. Despite the NCAA’s decision to cancel the event this year, the Awards Circuit team is here for you when you need us, and we are happy to announce we are keeping our tradition — now in its eighth year — alive!

In the past, we have taken Oscar-winners for Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, and Original Score and placed them in a bracket-style tournament, with your votes deciding which winner advances to the next round. This year, we are finally doing the category that I have been most excited to unleash on you: Best Cinematography.

Like in years past, we will seed 15 of the 16 spots in each of the four brackets. The four 12-seeds will be selected by you, our intelligent readers. We do this because there are more than 64 winners (16 seeds times four brackets — see image below) to place in the field. In the NCAA world, 12-seeds are traditionally the seed that pulls the most upsets (for no known scientific reason). That is why we allow you to decide the winner that goes there. Spices things up a bit.

With Cinematography, we face another challenge. Usually, we are dealing with the same number of winners as there have been Oscars (the 2019 Oscars were the 92nd). However, Cinematography has more than 92 winners. They have, in fact, 119 previous winners.

Why so many, you ask?

Good question. I’ll explain.

In the early days of the Academy Awards (1927/28-1938), the category gave out the Oscar to one film. While colorization in film was occurring as early as 1902 — “A Trip to the Moon” was colored by hand on each copy of film stock — the fad didn’t become more commonplace until the mid-1920s. In 1935, Kodachrome was introduced, and from there, films shot in “color” became increasingly popular.

From 1939 to 1966 (except for 1957, for some reason), the Academy gave out separate Cinematography Oscars for films in color as well as black-and-white. It did not go back to one award until 1967 and has remained so since. This is how we get to that odd total of 119 winners in 92 years.

Savvy?

Now for the voting. Each week (or some short time-span to be decided), we will post the competition for you to vote on, and the Oscar-winning cinematographer with the most votes that round moves on to play the next. Once you have voted in the 12-seeds, we go from 64 to 32, to 16, to eight, to four, to two, to one final champion. Each week, you just pick each winner you feel is more deserving of “Best,” and we handle the rest. It’s that simple.

To start, we will be adding an additional round due the sheer volume of former winners. Before we vote on which films slide into the 12-seeds, we want you to pick between films from years with two winners where both winners did not make the initial field. From there, we will have our finalists for the 12-seed voting round.

So there’s only one thing left to do: Vote! Have fun and may the best Cinematography winner win.

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Which past Cinematography Oscar-winners deserve to advance in the brackets? Who do you think wins the entire tournament? Discuss in the comments below!

What do you think?

72 points
AC Fan

Written by Mark Johnson

Lover of all things film and Oscar. Fantasy sports’ equivalent of George Steinbrenner. Your very own Han Solo, making friends all over the movie-loving galaxy in spite of himself. When he’s not ranking just about everything or dominating boardgames, Mark is breaking down the Oscar race 24/7 with Rain Man-like stats and knowledge. In his downtime, you can find him commiserating with other Northeast Ohio sports fans because a hero isn’t complete without a little heartbreak. If Game of Thrones, Lost, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and Survivor are your style, then congratulations, you have something in common with this inglourious basterd.

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