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Cinematography poll: "Amelie" best-shot film of decade

NEW YORK (CBS) Voters in an online poll chose the French romantic fantasy "Amelie" as the best-shot film of the 10-year period from 1998 to 2008.

Jean-Pierre Jeunet's 2001 "Amelie" ("Le fabuleux destin d'Amelie Poulain") made Audrey Tatou an international star, but the film's real star was Paris. Bruno Delbonnel's evocative cinematography depicting the magical-realist story, using heightened and selective coloring, different camera speeds and humorous digital effects, made Montmartre and environs come alive onscreen as never before.

More than 17,000 votes were cast in the American Society of Cinematographers' online poll, which was based on a ballot of 50 films nominated by subscribers to the ASC's house magazine, American Cinematographer.

Results of the poll were announced this week by the ASC.

A "look" quite different from that of "Amelie" was created for the dystopian fantasy "Children of Men" (2006), which came in second in the poll. Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki created a post-apocalyptic England ravaged by a malady that has seemingly made the human race sterile. Much of the film's celebrated handheld photography was conducted in long, carefully choreographed takes where the main characters sought refuge or escape from the dangers surrounding them.

Third on the list was Janusz Kaminski's blistering images for Steven Spielberg's World War II drama "Saving Private Ryan" (1998).

Rounding up the top 20 Best-Shot of the Decade were:

4. "There Will Be Blood" (2007) by Robert Elswit

5. "No Country for Old Men" (2007) by Roger Deakins

6. "Fight Club" (1999) by Jeff Cronenweth

7. "The Dark Knight" (2008) by Wally Pfister

8. "Road to Perdition" (2002) by Conrad L. Hall

9. "Cidade de Deus" (City of God) (2002) by C�?�©sar Charlone

10. "American Beauty" (1999) by Conrad L. Hall

11. "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (2007) by Roger Deakins

12. Tie: "In the Mood for Love" (2000) by Christopher Doyle and Mark Li Ping-bin; and "Pan's Labyrinth" (2006) by Guillermo Navarro

13. "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy (2001-2003) by Andrew Lesnie

14. "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (2004) by Ellen Kuras

15. "Gladiator" (2000) by John Mathieson

16. "The Matrix" (1999) by Bill Pope

17. "The Thin Red Line" (1998) by John Toll

18. "The Diving Bell and The Butterfly" (2007) by Janusz Kaminski

19. "Slumdog Millionaire: (2008) by Anthony Dod Mantle

20. Tie: "Eyes Wide Shut" (1999) by Larry Smith; and "Requiem for a Dream" (2000) by Matthew Libatique

Other top vote-getters were the two-part "Kill Bill (Robert Richardson); "Moulin Rouge" (Donald M. McAlpine); "The Pianist" (Pawel Edelman); "Hero" (Christopher Doyle); "Black Hawk Down" (Slawomir Idziak); "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" (Roger Deakins); "Babel" (Rodrigo Prieto); "Lost In Translation" (Lance Acord); "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" (Peter Pau); "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Claudio Miranda); "The Man Who Wasn't There" (Roger Deakins); "The New World" (Emmanuel Lubezki); "Sin City" (Robert Rodriguez); "Atonement" (Seamus McGarvey); and "Munich" (Janusz Kaminski).

Asked to comment on his recognition for "Amelie," Delbonnel told the ASC, "These are some of the finest cinematographers, and I'm not sure I deserve to be among them, but I am very happy to be. They are all explorers."

More on the poll will appear in the August issue of American Cinematographer.

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