Conrad Hall

Conrad Hall
Los Angeles Times


Conrad Hall
Film: South side of the 7000 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Born June 21, 1926 in Tahiti, French Polynesia
Died Jan. 4, 2003 of bladder cancer in Santa Monica, CA

Conrad L. Hall was a cinematographer whose diverse visual vocabulary proved so enduring he won Academy Awards 30 years apart.

Unlike some popular cinematographers whose elaborate lighting designs and camera moves are instantly identifiable, Hall showcased a wide range of timeless cinematic looks. From the sepia glow of "Butch Cassidy" to the harsh black-and-white "of In Cold Blood," Hall's work defied easy categorization, except that it was all outstanding.

He could bring something as moribund as chess to life, as he did with "Searching for Bobby Fischer." Among his most memorable images is a hand-held video sequence of a plastic bag caught in a circle of wind, from "American Beauty." That film also won the Academy Award for best picture.

For all his singular artistry, however, Hall did not intimidate newcomers: First-time directors like Sam Mendes ("American Beauty") and Steve Zaillian ("Bobby Fischer") hired him as their director of photography. He also was popular with some of the most accomplished actors.

One of Hollywood's most sought-after directors of photography during his time, Hall completed "Road to Perdition," directed by Mendes, only a year before his death. Hall won Oscars for his cinematography on 1999's "American Beauty" and on 1969's "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," directed by George Roy Hill.

He received the highest honor, the lifetime achievement award, from the American Society of Cinematographers in 1994.

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    Academy Awards

    Year Category Work
    1965 Best Cinematography - Black and White Morituri Nomination
    1966 Best Cinematography - Color The Professionals Nomination
    1967 Best Cinematography In Cold Blood Nomination
    1969 Best Cinematography Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Win
    1975 Best Cinematography The Day of the Locust Nomination
    1988 Best Cinematography Tequila Sunrise Nomination
    1993 Best Cinematography Searching for Bobby Fischer Nomination
    1998 Best Cinematography A Civil Action Nomination
    1999 Best Cinematography American Beauty Win
    2002 Best Cinematography Road to Perdition Win

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