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Cinematographer Christopher Doyle trash talks Life of Pi, Lincoln, and the Academy Awards

Mar. 14, 2013by: Alex Maidy

I will start this out by saying that I loved LIFE OF PI, but did not agree with it winning an award for cinematography at the Academy Awards. The movie is beautifully shot, but is primarily CGI. Awarding the Oscar to it would be like awarding a cinematography trophy to a Pixar film. Not to take anything away from the quality of the movie, but they are different skill sets lent to their creation.

I thought that was worded nicely, something cinematographer Christopher Doyle does not do so well in a recent interview with Blouin. I have gone ahead and edited out the salty language a bit, but I think we can tell that Doyle is not exactly a fan of cinematographer Claudio Miranda winning a few weeks ago.

"Okay. Im trying to work out how to say this most politely, and no offense to I dont know him personally but what a total f*cking piece of shit. Let me be blunt. Ah, f*ck. I dont care, Im sure hes a wonderful guy and Im sure he cares so much, but since 97 per cent of the film is not under his control, what the f*ck are you talking about cinematography, sorry. Im sorry. I have to be blunt and I dont care, you can write it. I think its a f*cking insult to cinematography."

Wow! Tell us how you really feel! But, I cannot say that Doyle is wrong. LIFE OF PI if, for all intents and purposes, a CGI movie. Really the only physical presence is actor Suraj Sharma. There were physical cameras filming, but that does not merit an award. The other nominees, including perpetually snubbed Roger Deakins, all had a lot more required from the cinematographer over Claudio Miranda.

But, Doyle didn't stop with LIFE OF PI. He criticizes the Academy Awards themselves and their antiquated voting body (average age of 65 is called out), but he also hates on Quentin Tarantino and Steven Spielberg. Check out his thoughts on LINCOLN:

LINCOLN! Oh! Lets talk about patriotism. Do you not f*cking realise the rest of the world just sits back laughing. Do you not realise that you poor old f*ckers with your Academy bullshit, youre just sitting back, holding onto straws. Youre holding onto straws. Lets get on with it. I dont give a f*ck what you think about me. Some of us have to engage with the real world. And it happens not to be about the history of Mr. Lincoln freeing the slaves which was the most disgusting first three minutes of a film Ive ever seen. 'Oh, Mr Lincoln, oh, but you understand' stop f*cking fluffing yourselves."

Doyle, for those of you unfamiliar with him, is an Australian filmmaker who has lived the majority of his life in Asia. He lives in Taipei and has worked on mainly Chinese films including almost all movies directed by Wong Kar-wai. He is a little strange, as can be seen in most interviews online, but he also holds his film as the highest level of art. While his kookiness may discount his opinion somewhat, it is very intriguing to hear someone voice their take so loudly.

So, do you agree?

Source: IndieWire

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+1
3:10PM on 03/16/2013
I still say the rightful winner should've been Roger Deakins for "Skyfall"!
I still say the rightful winner should've been Roger Deakins for "Skyfall"!
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2:06PM on 03/15/2013
I love much of Doyle's work, but he's just talking out of his ass now. But then again, maybe they should consider a CGI Cinematography award?
I love much of Doyle's work, but he's just talking out of his ass now. But then again, maybe they should consider a CGI Cinematography award?
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10:31AM on 03/15/2013
I hate to break it to this guy but visual effects are NOT an even remotely easy thing to do. Life of PI could've looked like shit but its the visual effects that made it look beautiful. A lot of hard work went into how the film looks so for this guy to get his panties in a bunch and whine like a child is adorable.
I hate to break it to this guy but visual effects are NOT an even remotely easy thing to do. Life of PI could've looked like shit but its the visual effects that made it look beautiful. A lot of hard work went into how the film looks so for this guy to get his panties in a bunch and whine like a child is adorable.
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7:19AM on 03/15/2013
"its an insult to ..." are the words most hypocrites,attention seeking bitches use to trash talk an acclaimed work.
"its an insult to ..." are the words most hypocrites,attention seeking bitches use to trash talk an acclaimed work.
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12:32AM on 03/15/2013

AGREED

I never expected Skyfall to look this good. It's honestly a different beast altogether. Was shocked when it didn't get the win.
I never expected Skyfall to look this good. It's honestly a different beast altogether. Was shocked when it didn't get the win.
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11:24PM on 03/14/2013
Dude, you made Lady in the Water. Now THAT is an insult to cinematography.
Dude, you made Lady in the Water. Now THAT is an insult to cinematography.
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9:57PM on 03/14/2013
Talk about bitter, man.
Talk about bitter, man.
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9:46PM on 03/14/2013
This is not the first time I'v encountered Doyle's unfiltered opinion. But the man is an artist, and I tend to find a lot to agree with, even if he puts it in words that I wouldn't necessarily have chosen.
This is not the first time I'v encountered Doyle's unfiltered opinion. But the man is an artist, and I tend to find a lot to agree with, even if he puts it in words that I wouldn't necessarily have chosen.
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+8
8:29PM on 03/14/2013

Avatar also won cinematography

Avatar also won cinematography. Don't lay all the hate onto Life of Pi. Just sayin'
Avatar also won cinematography. Don't lay all the hate onto Life of Pi. Just sayin'
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9:29PM on 03/14/2013
To be fair, that was three years ago.
To be fair, that was three years ago.
8:21PM on 03/14/2013
Was he high on something?
Was he high on something?
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+22
5:00PM on 03/14/2013

This is the guy that shot Passion Play.

Just sayin'.
Just sayin'.
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4:32PM on 03/14/2013

Haha!

Typical sore loser.
Typical sore loser.
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4:26PM on 03/14/2013
As a VFX compositor, I'm professionally obligated to say "Fuck Life of Pi" [link]
As a VFX compositor, I'm professionally obligated to say "Fuck Life of Pi" [link]
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4:20PM on 03/14/2013
There's being blunt and honest, and then there's being a cock. I've sadly seen none of his movies but I'm sure from what others have said that he's talented as all hell. But that doesn't excuse being an asshole, you know?

For the record I totally think it's ridiculous that Pi won for cinematography--the award belonged to Deakins, for sure.
There's being blunt and honest, and then there's being a cock. I've sadly seen none of his movies but I'm sure from what others have said that he's talented as all hell. But that doesn't excuse being an asshole, you know?

For the record I totally think it's ridiculous that Pi won for cinematography--the award belonged to Deakins, for sure.
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-6
4:13PM on 03/14/2013
Ppl might care if this came from someone who ppl know who the hell he is. I mean how many ppl who aren't "movie buffs" could even name a single DP/Cinematographer? I've watched the special features on LotR a bunch of times and i still couldn't tell you the what name of the DP on that (and most all of Jacksons other films) might be.
Ppl might care if this came from someone who ppl know who the hell he is. I mean how many ppl who aren't "movie buffs" could even name a single DP/Cinematographer? I've watched the special features on LotR a bunch of times and i still couldn't tell you the what name of the DP on that (and most all of Jacksons other films) might be.
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4:02PM on 03/14/2013

Whatever!

For the work he did on Chungking Express, Fallen Angels and Happy Together, Christopher Doyle can talk sh*t all day every day till the end of time. The man is a genius. That being said, he isn't bound by the Hollywood "fluffing" system and spoke his opinion when asked. You know what they say about opinions? They're like @ssholes. Everybody's got one and everybody thinks theirs is the most important.
For the work he did on Chungking Express, Fallen Angels and Happy Together, Christopher Doyle can talk sh*t all day every day till the end of time. The man is a genius. That being said, he isn't bound by the Hollywood "fluffing" system and spoke his opinion when asked. You know what they say about opinions? They're like @ssholes. Everybody's got one and everybody thinks theirs is the most important.
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3:55PM on 03/14/2013
First Wally Pfister trash talks his peers, and now this guy. I'm sorry, but trash talking your peers is the very definition of unprofessional. I've really lost of a lot of respect for these guys. Yeah, we know, you would have done things differently, but that doesn't mean you would have done them better.
First Wally Pfister trash talks his peers, and now this guy. I'm sorry, but trash talking your peers is the very definition of unprofessional. I've really lost of a lot of respect for these guys. Yeah, we know, you would have done things differently, but that doesn't mean you would have done them better.
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3:52PM on 03/14/2013

Drunk Uncle !

Is he the basis for the SNL skit ?
Is he the basis for the SNL skit ?
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3:44PM on 03/14/2013
There are better ways to make your point.
It's what I think.
There are better ways to make your point.
It's what I think.
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3:40PM on 03/14/2013

Best Cinematography

Remember that Avatar, a film shot entirely on a blue screen and a computer, also won the best cinematography Academy Award.
Remember that Avatar, a film shot entirely on a blue screen and a computer, also won the best cinematography Academy Award.
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4:03PM on 03/14/2013
With Avatar you could at least make the argument that the technique of shooting in 3D with the motion capture rigs they developed was groundbreaking and worthy of award. That really is still part of cinematography, it's just not necessarily the artistic part. With Life of Pi they weren't really doing anything that hadn't been done a number of times already. They just shot on green with a 3D camera. No motion capture. Lee wasn't seeing a semi-rendered virtual world through the viewfinder ala
With Avatar you could at least make the argument that the technique of shooting in 3D with the motion capture rigs they developed was groundbreaking and worthy of award. That really is still part of cinematography, it's just not necessarily the artistic part. With Life of Pi they weren't really doing anything that hadn't been done a number of times already. They just shot on green with a 3D camera. No motion capture. Lee wasn't seeing a semi-rendered virtual world through the viewfinder ala Cameron, etc. I think you could argue that the way Avatar was shot was truly impressive and groundbreaking. It didn't warrant a cinematography award in the traditional sense, but I could at least see some validity in the win. Not the case with Life of Pi.
3:38PM on 03/14/2013
I can get on board with what he's saying. IMO, Life of Pi was not a great movie by any means. Perhaps worthy of Oscar nomination, but when it came to something like cinematography it certainly did not deserve to win. As was stated in the article, the level of cinematography required for this movie is equal to a Pixar film. I totally agree with what he's saying in regards to Claudio Miranda's win, he just wasn't deserving of the award.
That being said, I'm torn on his comments about
I can get on board with what he's saying. IMO, Life of Pi was not a great movie by any means. Perhaps worthy of Oscar nomination, but when it came to something like cinematography it certainly did not deserve to win. As was stated in the article, the level of cinematography required for this movie is equal to a Pixar film. I totally agree with what he's saying in regards to Claudio Miranda's win, he just wasn't deserving of the award.
That being said, I'm torn on his comments about Lincoln. It was definitely a fluff piece and the Academy does spend a lot of time over-glorifying movies for the sake of patriotism. On the one hand, the majority of the Academy are Americans so can you blame them? But on the other, the Academy Awards have become an internationally recognized award of merit within the industry, so do they not have a responsibility to step back and allow all movies to stand on their merit regardless of subject matter or historical importance?
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3:34PM on 03/14/2013
Trash, trash, trash... Who the hell does this guy actually praise? I half expected him to start patting his own back at the end
Trash, trash, trash... Who the hell does this guy actually praise? I half expected him to start patting his own back at the end
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3:34PM on 03/14/2013
The thing I don't enjoy is the out-of-nowhere nominations going to super small roles that don't call attention to compared to so many other performances that were much better. I love Alan Arkin, but he keeps getting nominations, while other films had much stronger supporting actors who could of have been nominated. I do think nominations like this is obviously from the majority who just agree on whether or not they like him. Nominations are so predictable these days that we already knew who was
The thing I don't enjoy is the out-of-nowhere nominations going to super small roles that don't call attention to compared to so many other performances that were much better. I love Alan Arkin, but he keeps getting nominations, while other films had much stronger supporting actors who could of have been nominated. I do think nominations like this is obviously from the majority who just agree on whether or not they like him. Nominations are so predictable these days that we already knew who was going to win. It's always 8 nods for this and 13 nods for that. Why can't a whole bunch of movies get nominated for something in particular. It seems only about 15 films get recognition. That's why there's the super massive amount of Oscar bait that comes out in the fall and winter. I really thought Jack Black should have been nominated.
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3:31PM on 03/14/2013
100% agree with him on LIFE OF PI and other CGI filled films. This was the year of Roger Deakins.
100% agree with him on LIFE OF PI and other CGI filled films. This was the year of Roger Deakins.
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+1
3:27PM on 03/14/2013
Don't agree with his points on Lincoln, but I agree with everything he says about Life of Pi and his overall disinterest (hatred?) towards the Academy.
Don't agree with his points on Lincoln, but I agree with everything he says about Life of Pi and his overall disinterest (hatred?) towards the Academy.
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