RED Digital Cinema and ARRI are the camera companies behind 93rd Academy Awards (Oscars 2021) winners. The black & white Mank has won the Best Cinematography category shot on the RED Ranger Helium Monochrome by DP Erik Messerschmidt, ASC. The indie-style low budget film Nomadland took the Best Picture award, shot by Joshua James Richards on the ARRI ALEXA Mini and Amira cameras.
We wrote a decent amount of articles about Mank, and the approach of choosing to shoot it with a custom-made RED camera, which is in that case, the Ranger Helium Monochrome. This is the first Oscar of Mank’s cinematographer, Erik Messerschmidt ASC. Erik was praised for his work by RED Digital Cinema founder, Jim Jannard who said: “Congratulations Erik! Oscar shot on RED. Everyone here is very proud of you”.
RED Digital Cinema makes a monochrome version for each of its models, started in 2011 with the Epic MX 5K Monochrome. Until now, they’re about 8 models with a monochrome sensor. The lack of the Bayer filter elevates the DR (Dynamic Range) which leads to a true high detailed B&W imagery. This is the second time in three years that the Best Cinematography Oscar went to a black-and-white film (Alfonso Cuaron won the category in 2019 for his film Romam shot not the ALEXA 65). Furthermore, it’s only the third time since 1968 that a black and white movie earned a cinematography Oscar. The third was Schindler’s List in 1994, shot by the genius Janusz Kamiński.
Congratulations Erik! Oscar shot on RED. Everyone here is very proud of you.
Jim Jannard- RED Digital Cinema founder
Nomadland is a low-budget masterpiece that tells the story of nomadism. Following the economic collapse of a company town in rural Nevada, Fern (Frances McDormand) packs her van and sets off on the road exploring a life outside of conventional society as a modern-day nomad. The third feature film from director Chloé Zhao, Nomadland features real nomads Linda May, Swankie, and Bob Wells as Fern’s mentors and comrades in her exploration through the vast landscape of the American West. The film was shot indie-style by cinematographer Joshua James Richards with a very limited budget of $5 million. The cameras used were the ALEXA Mini and AMIRA. The Mini has been utilized on gimbal shots where most of the shots were captured with the AMIRA.
Check out the BTS video below:
It’s fascinating to explore both of these winners. The groundbreaking B&W achievement regarding Mank, and the well-crafted story of the low-budget Nomadland. Each of them is presenting a whole different cinematography approach, and both of them used their camera to create magic.