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Oscars 2021: 'Mank' wins Best Cinematography at the 93rd Academy Awards

Erik Messerschmidt claimed victory in the category of Best Cinematography at the 93rd Academy Awards for his brilliant work on David Fincher film Mank.

Mank, nominated for 10 Oscars in total, managed to fend off tough opposition in the category for Best Cinematography of which many believed Nomadland would end up victorious.

Written by Fincher’s late father in the 1990s, the film reassesses the life of Citizen Kane screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz as he battles to complete the script and retain authorship of the story itself. Separated by a properly formatted title card that proceeds many scenes, the film feels less like several long sequences and more like multiple static vignettes, bouncing back and forth through Kane’s production timeline with a seemingly random direction. Flashback’s to a bygone bubbling era studio system are filled with life and movie magic, tailing walking, talking business meetings through winding corridors and live productions. Though, in the present, Gary Oldman’s Mankiewicz is cynical and dishevelled, lying in his bed, delirious or drunk as he croaks together the screenplay line-by-line. 

Powerfully written, Jack Fincher’s script is a wormhole to the 1930s, textured with gorgeous dialogue that feels often too well crafted, as actors stumble over overtly academic, theatrical speeches. It certainly recalls the script work of classic Hollywood, where screenplays were designed like novels and performed with similar dramatisation, though it is vacant of the soul and emotion necessary to invite its audience closer. We are passive observers rather than bystanders to the story at hand.