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Emmanuel Lubezki Morgenstern, A.S.C., A.M.C. (Spanish pronunciation: [emaˈnwel luˈβeski]; born 30 November, 1964) is a Mexican cinematographer. He sometimes goes by the nickname Chivo, which means "goat" in Spanish.[1][2] Lubezki has worked with many acclaimed directors, including Mike Nichols, Tim Burton, Michael Mann, Joel and Ethan Coen, and frequent collaborators Terrence Malick, Alfonso Cuarón, and Alejandro González Iñárritu.[3]

Emmanuel Lubezki
Born Emmanuel Lubezki Morgenstern
June 21, 1964 (1964-06-21) (age 53)
Mexico City, Mexico
Other names Chivo
Occupation Cinematographer
Years active 1983–present

Lubezki is known for groundbreaking uses of natural lighting and continuous uninterrupted shots in cinematography, often utilizing a Steadicam, a 3-axis Gimbal, or Hand-held camera to orchestrate fluid, uninterrupted camera movements during particularly significant scenes. His work has been praised by audiences and critics alike, which earned him multiple awards, including eight Academy Award nominations for Best Cinematography. He won in this category three times, becoming the first person to do so in three consecutive years, for Gravity (2013), Birdman (2014), and The Revenant (2015).


Early lifeEdit

Lubezki was born to a Jewish family in Mexico City, Mexico.[3][4][5] His father is actor and producer Muni Lubezki.[6] Lubezki studied film at Mexico’s Centro Universitario de Estudios Cinematográficos (CUEC), where he met Alfonso Cuarón.[3]


Lubezki began his career in Mexican film and television productions in the late 1980s. His first international production was the 1993 independent film Twenty Bucks, which followed the journey of a single twenty-dollar bill.

Lubezki is a frequent collaborator with fellow Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón. The two have been friends since they were teenagers and attended the same film school[7] at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.[1] Together they have worked on six motion pictures: Sólo Con Tu Pareja, A Little Princess, Great Expectations, Y Tu Mamá También, Children of Men, and Gravity. His work with Cuarón on Children of Men (2006), has received universal acclaim.[8] The film utilized a number of new technologies and distinctive techniques. The "roadside ambush" scene was shot in one extended take utilizing a special camera rig invented by Doggicam systems, developed from the company's Power Slide system.[9] For the scene, a vehicle was modified to enable seats to tilt and lower actors out of the way of the camera. The windshield of the car was designed to tilt out of the way to allow camera movement in and out through the front windscreen. A crew of four, including Lubezki, rode on the roof. Children of Men also features a seven-and-a-half-minute battle sequence composed of roughly five seamless edits.

Lubezki won his first Academy Award for Best Cinematography for his work on Cuarón's Gravity, thriller set in outer space.[10][11] The film was praised for the way it combined two shots through digital backgrounds of space to create the illusion of scenes done in a single shot.[12] Lubezki won his second Academy Award for Best Cinematography in the following year for his work on Alejandro González Iñárritu's Birdman. The film used a similar technique from Gravity, being very unusual in the way the entire movie was shot so as to appear to be photographed in one continuous take.[13] Lubezki won the award again in 2015 for Iñárritu's The Revenant, becoming a milestone for his third consecutive win and for being the first cinematographer to do so.[14] The film was shot entirely in the wilderness during a cold season, minimizing the amount of CGI and using only natural lighting. It was an extremely difficult process that required a limited amount of time to shoot each scene, which delayed the production, causing budget overruns and changes of locations for proper settings. However, The Revenant earned over $500 million at the box office and received critical acclaim, with much praise for the film's atmospheric tone and realism.

Lubezki won the Royal Photographic Society Lumière Award for major achievement in cinematography, video or animation in 2016.

Filmography (partial)Edit

Year Film Director Note
1991 Sólo Con Tu Pareja Alfonso Cuarón International Title: Love in the Time of Hysteria
Bandits Luis Estrada
1992 Como agua para chocolate Alfonso Aráu International Title: Like Water for Chocolate
1993 Fallen Angels Alfonso Cuarón
Steven Soderbergh
TV Series: 2 Episodes
Twenty Bucks Keva Rosenfeld
Miroslava Alejandro Pelayo
The Harvest David Marconi
1994 Ámbar Luis Estrada
Reality Bites Ben Stiller
1995 A Walk in the Clouds Alfonso Aráu
A Little Princess Alfonso Cuarón
1996 The Birdcage Mike Nichols
1998 Meet Joe Black Martin Brest
Great Expectations Alfonso Cuarón
1999 Sleepy Hollow Tim Burton
2000 Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her Rodrigo García
2001 Ali Michael Mann
Y Tu Mamá También Alfonso Cuarón
2002 De Mesmer, con amor o Te para dos Salvador Aguirre
Alejandro Lubezki
Short Film
International Title: From Mesmer, With Love or Tea for Two
2003 The Cat in the Hat Bo Welch
2004 The Assassination of Richard Nixon Niels Mueller Also Associate Producer
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events Brad Silberling
2005 The New World Terrence Malick
2006 Children of Men Alfonso Cuarón
2007 To Each His Own Cinema Alejandro González Iñárritu Segment: "Anna"
2008 Burn After Reading Joel and Ethan Coen
2010 Write the Future Alejandro González Iñárritu TV Commercial
2011 The Tree of Life Terrence Malick
2012 To the Wonder Terrence Malick
2013 Gravity Alfonso Cuarón
2014 Birdman Alejandro González Iñárritu
2015 Last Days in the Desert Rodrigo García
Knight of Cups Terrence Malick
The Revenant Alejandro González Iñárritu
2017 Song to Song Terrence Malick

Awards and nominationsEdit

Academy Awards
3 8
BAFTA Film Awards
4 4
ASC Awards
5 6
Independent Spirit Awards
1 1

Industry awardsEdit

Academy Award for Best Cinematography

American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography

Ariel Awards

Australian Cinematographers Society Awards

BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography

British Society of Cinematographers Awards

CableACE Awards


Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography

Critics awardsEdit

Alliance of Women Film Journalists

Austin Film Critics Association Awards

Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Cinematography

Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography

Critics' Choice Award for Best Cinematography

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Emmanuel Lubezki". Cinematographers. Retrieved 2009-05-08. 
  2. ^ Bloom, Nate (2007-02-22). "Jewish Standard Hollywood's big night". Jewish Standard. Retrieved 2010-08-03. [dead link]
  3. ^ a b c Grabinsky, Alan (February 24, 2016). "Mexican Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki Hits His Stride". Tablet. Retrieved March 4, 2016. 
  4. ^ Rogers, Pauline B. (2015). Contemporary Cinematographers on Their Art. CRC Press. ISBN 1136045783. 
  5. ^ Times of Israel: "The tribe at the Oscars, 2016" by Nate Bloom February 25, 2016
  6. ^ Erazo, Vanessa. "6 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Mexican Oscar Nominee Emmanuel Lubezki". Remezcla. Retrieved March 4, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Cuaron, Lubezki Talk Mistakes, Long Takes and How Peter Gabriel Made 'Gravity' Possible". Variety. February 13, 2014. Retrieved April 25, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Children of Men". Metacritic. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  9. ^ "Two Axis Dolly". Doggicam Systems. Retrieved 2007-01-24. 
  10. ^ Corliss, Richard (2013-08-28). "Gravity at the Venice Film Festival: Dread and Awe in Space". Time Magazine. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  11. ^ Scott, A.O. (2013-10-03). "Between Earth and Heaven". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  12. ^ "Emmanuel Lubezki, DP of 'Gravity', Expounds on Cinematography in the Virtual Age". October 8, 2013. Retrieved November 22, 2015. 
  13. ^ Giardina, Carolyn (December 30, 2014). "Oscars: 'Birdman' Cinemtographer Reveals Secrets Behind Movie's Ingenious "Single Shot" Look". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 22, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Alejandro Innaritu Wins Best Director Oscar For The Revenant". Deadline. February 28, 2016. Retrieved March 4, 2016. 
  15. ^ Tapley, Kristopher (February 29, 2016). "'Revenant' Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki Sets Record with Oscar Win". Variety. Retrieved February 29, 2016. 

External linksEdit