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

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

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. I’m trying to work out how to say this most politely, and no offense to – I don’t know him personally – but what a total f*cking piece of shit. Let me be blunt. Ah, f*ck. I don’t care, I’m sure he’s a wonderful guy and I’m 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. I’m sorry. I have to be blunt and I don’t care, you can write it. I think it’s 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! Let’s 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, you’re just sitting back, holding onto straws. You’re holding onto straws. Let’s get on with it. I don’t 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 I’ve 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

About the Author

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Alex Maidy has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. A Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic and a member of Chicago Indie Critics, Alex has been's primary TV critic and ran columns including Top Ten and The UnPopular Opinion. When not riling up fans with his hot takes, Alex is an avid reader and aspiring novelist.