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.
|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|