Roger Alexander Deakins CBE (born 24 May 1949) is an English cinematographer, best known for his work on the films of the Coen brothers, Sam Mendes, and Denis Villeneuve. Deakins is a member of both the American and British Society of Cinematographers. He received the 2011 American Society of Cinematographers (A.S.C.) Lifetime Achievement Award. Its president, Richard Crudo, called Deakins "the pre-eminent cinematographer of our time."
Deakins at the 83rd Academy Awards in February 2011
Roger Alexander Deakins
24 May 1949
|Other names||Roger A. Deakins, Matt Campbell|
Isabella James Purefoy Ellis (m. 1991)
|Awards||Academy Award for Best Cinematography|
2018 Blade Runner 2049 Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography
2009 A Serious Man
In recognition of outstanding contribution to the British film industry, Deakins is an honorary fellow of the National Film School in Buckinghamshire of which he is an alumnus. In 2013 he received a CBE at Buckingham Palace for "services to film." A recipient of four BAFTA Awards for Best Cinematography, Deakins has received fourteen nominations and one win for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography. His most well-known works include The Shawshank Redemption, Fargo, A Beautiful Mind, Skyfall, Sicario, and Blade Runner 2049, the latter of which earned him his first Academy Award.
Deakins was born in Torquay in the English county of Devon, the son of Josephine (née Messum), an actress, and William Albert Deakins, a builder. He attended Torquay Boys' Grammar School. While growing up in Torquay, Deakins spent most of his time in and out of school focusing on his primary interest: painting. Several years later he enrolled in the Bath School of Art and Design (in the city of Bath) where he studied graphic design. While studying in Bath, he discovered his love of photography. He proved to be a very talented photographer, and this led to his being hired to create a photographic documentary of his home town, Torquay. About a year later, Deakins transferred to the National Film and Television School in Buckinghamshire.
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Shortly after graduating, Deakins found work as a cameraman, assisting in the production of documentaries in various locations abroad for approximately seven years. During this seven-year stint, his first project involved a nine-month trip as one of the entrants of a 'round-the-world yacht race called Around the World with Ridgway. This project captured the lives and growing tensions between several of the yacht's crewmen. After completing Around the World with Ridgway, Deakins was hired by television studios to film several documentaries in Africa. His first, Zimbabwe, was a depiction of the genocide that had been going on there, following Zimbabwe's civil war. His second, Eritrea – Behind Enemy Lines, was another depiction of conflict, this time within the borders of Sudan, Ethiopia and Djibouti.
From the time of his work in Africa until the early 1980s, Deakins continued his cinematographic and directorial work in documentaries as well as the burgeoning field of music videos. His early work as both a director and cinematographer of music videos including a lot of the early Madness videos. Carl Perkins' "Blue Suede Shoes" and the concert film Van Morrison in Ireland. Subsequently, he worked on Towers of Babel, Sid and Nancy, The Kitchen Toto, and Pascali's Island.
Deakins's first feature film in America as cinematographer was Mountains of the Moon (1990). He began his collaboration with the Coen brothers in 1991 on the film Barton Fink (the director Barry Sonnenfeld worked as cinematographer on the Coen brothers' previous three films Blood Simple, Raising Arizona, and Miller's Crossing). Since then, Deakins has been the Coens' main cinematic collaborator and has been their principal cinematographer.
Deakins received his first major award from the American Society of Cinematographers for his outstanding achievement in cinematography for the internationally praised major film The Shawshank Redemption. The ASC continued to honour Deakins with outstanding achievement nominations for his later works, including Fargo, Kundun, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and The Man Who Wasn't There, for which he won his second ASC Award. The U.S. National Board of Review of Motion Pictures honored him with an award for Career Achievement in Cinematography in 2007.
In 2008, Deakins became the first cinematographer in history to receive dual ASC nominations for his works The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and No Country for Old Men. The latter won the BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography and he received Academy Award nominations for both films. In 2009, he was double-nominated for the ASC Award again for Revolutionary Road and The Reader (with Chris Menges). In 2011, he was nominated again for his work on True Grit and also received an ASC Lifetime Achievement Award.
Deakins signed on as cinematographer for Skyfall, having previously worked with director Sam Mendes on Jarhead and Revolutionary Road. For his work, he received his third ASC Award for outstanding achievement in cinematography from his ninth ASC Award nomination. Deakins also worked as one of the visual consultants for the Pixar's animated feature WALL-E, DreamWorks Animation's How to Train Your Dragon series and The Croods, and Nickelodeon Movies' Rango. In 2018, he received his fourth ASC award, his fourth BAFTA award, and his first Academy Award for Blade Runner 2049, directed by Denis Villeneuve. That year, he filmed an adaptation of The Goldfinch, based on the novel of the same name, directed by John Crowley. He reunited with Sam Mendes on the 2019 war film 1917.
Deakins married script supervisor Isabella James Purefoy Ellis, professionally known as James Ellis, on 11 December 1991. He lives in his home county Devon in the south west of England. Deakins's principal hobby is taking still photographs. Before he entered the National Film School in Buckinghamshire he spent a year in North Devon, documenting life on the farms and in the villages. This cemented his passion for still photography that continues to this day. When not in his boat while in Devon, Deakins enjoys travelling to various places to augment his growing series of images.
Deakins maintains a website through which he frequently communicates with fans, admirers, and other industry practitioners. His correspondence includes sharing lighting plans, cinematography tips, and feedback on some commentators' work.
|Denotes films that have not yet been released|
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- "CBE For NFTS Alumnus". National Film and Television School. 4 October 2017.
- "2007 Award Winners". National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. 2016. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
- American Society of Cinematographers (7 January 2009). "ASC Names Feature Film Nominees". Archived from the original on 29 January 2009. Retrieved 11 January 2009.
- "Roger Deakins confirms James Bond 23 involvement". MI6-HQ.com. 1 May 2011. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
- Sharf, Zack. "Roger Deakins is Following 'Blade Runner 2049' With 'The Goldfinch' - IndieWire". www.indiewire.com.
- D'Alessandro, Anthony; D'Alessandro, Anthony (28 March 2019). "Sam Mendes' '1917' Nears Production: Mark Strong, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch & More Join Cast". Deadline. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
- "No. 60534". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 June 2013. p. 7.
- "Roger Deakins". IMDb.
- "Roger Deakins: Devon's movie maestr". Devon Life. 4 October 2017.
- Roger Deakins on IMDb
- Video interview with Roger Deakins, FILMdetail
- Filmed interview with Roger Deakins on The Reel Show
- I just had to pinch myself, interview with Roger Deakins on ITV Local Westcountry
- Information on Roger Deakins at the International Cinematographers Guild
- An interview with Roger Deakins from InDigest Magazine