Backstage Interview: Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki

Q. Hi.  Emmanuel.

A. Hi.

Q. [Speaks in Spanish.]

A. [Speaks in Spanish.]

Q. [Speaks in Spanish.]

A. [Speaks in Spanish.]

Q. Could you tell us, are you worried how the show is going?  I mean, so far, MAD MAX is dominating.  We are rooting for the bear.  How are you feeling?  How are your feelings?

A. Honestly, I never saw the Academy Awards as a competition.  I think it’s something that you guys created.  It’s more a celebration of the craft and the art of filmmaking in general.  And I’m just so lucky to be here.  And I don’t think it should be viewed as a competition because it’s not objective.  It’s not, you know, five cinematographers running a hundred meters to see who gets the Oscar first.  It’s very subjective, and it’s only 6,000 people that vote.  So I’m just lucky.  Doesn’t mean I’m the best cinematographer.

Q. Congratulations on your Oscar win.

A. Thank you.  How are you?

Q. Good.  Can you tell us, what was your reaction when you first read the script from Iñárritu?

A. I enjoyed the script very much.  But it seemed a script that was slightly, how can I say, it was a revenge story, and the first conversation I had with Alejandro was how important it was for him not to make only a revenge story.  He wanted to make it much more complex.  And once he told me what he wanted, you know ‑‑ what are you guys watching?  Am I missing something here?  So he made it much more complex and more interesting.  And I do love the movie very much.  Thank you.

Q. Hello.  How are you doing?  So congratulations, because I understand that you are the first person winning, like, three times in a row in this category.

A. Really?

Q. Yeah.  That’s the story ‑‑ completely the story.  So that’s something to consider.  I was wondering, right now you have like a very distinctive visual style.  Your visual style is very ‑‑ everybody will recognize it.  So how much is this in the last movies part of your creativity, part of the director’s creativity, or just like a collaboration?  Because, of course, you are a big part of it, right, along with the director?

A. In reality, the director is the author of the movie, and I’m just lucky to be able to work with these great directors that are authors and that have a voice, and that they are trying to push, you know, the language of cinematography further.  So I would say it’s mostly the directors, and I’m there to facilitate to help them to translate their ideas into film.

Q. [Speaks in Spanish.]

A. [Speaks in Spanish.]

Q. [Speaks in Spanish.]

A. [Speaks in Spanish.]

We make the movie for the audience, not for the specialist.  And so for all the audience, everybody that went to see the movie around the world, including Mexico, this is for them, you know.  I dedicate this Oscar to them.

Q. Congrats to them, and it’s three in a row; you know, GRAVITY, BIRD MAN and REVENANT.  That puts you in the all‑time rank.  So I want to know, who were your idol cinematographers growing up and what’s it like to be considered one of the all‑time greats?

A. You know, as I think I said during the ‑‑ when I received the Oscar, I cannot even remember what I said, but I tried to explain the four other cinematographers that were sitting there with me are an important part of who I am, and I’ve been admiring their work for many years.  And I think they are the true masters.  I’m very lucky tonight, but they are the real deal, so…

Q. Thank you, and congratulations.

A. Thank you so much.

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