Cinematographer Rachel Morrison on ‘Mudbound’

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In the 90 year history of the Academy Awards, there had never been a woman nominated for best cinematography...until now.

In contention this year is Rachel Morrison, the director of photography on 'Mudbound,' a sweeping historical drama directed by Dee Rees. The film tells the story of two families--one white, one black--living separately and far from equally, on a farm in Mississippi, during and after World War II.

In addition to Morrison’s nod for cinematography, Dee Rees is nominated with Virgil Williams for best adapted screenplay, and Mary J. Blige is up for 2 Oscars, for best supporting actress and best song.

For Morrison, her historic nomination follows an almost 20-year career as a cinematographer. She tells us how she got her start in the industry, and why reality TV ended up being a surprisingly good training ground for shooting scripted films.

She also makes history another way this year--she's the first woman to direct a big comic book movie, the upcoming 'Black Panther.'

While 'Mudbound' was an independent film with a modest budget, Marvel’s 'Black Panther,' of course, is the diametric opposite. Morrison came to 'Black Panther' thanks to her history with director Ryan Coogler--the two first worked together on his 2013 film 'Fruitvale Station.'

Morrison tells us about getting a crash course in visual effects while working on 'Black Panther,' and how she sees the industry changing for the better for aspiring women cinematographers.




Kim Masters


Kaitlin Parker