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Robert Elswit

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Title: Robert Elswit  
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Subject: Academy Award for Best Cinematography, Ghislain Cloquet, Dion Beebe, Philippe Rousselot, Oswald Morris
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Robert Elswit

Robert Elswit
Born Robert Christopher Elswit
(1950-04-22) 22 April 1950 [1]
California, USA
Nationality American
Occupation Cinematographer
Known for Good Night, and Good Luck
There Will Be Blood
Title ASC
Awards Emmy Award for Outstanding Cinematography
CBS Schoolbreak Special: The War Between The Classes 1986
Academy Award for Best Cinematography
There Will Be Blood 2008
ASC Award
There Will Be Blood 2007
Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography
Good Night, and Good Luck 2005

Robert Christopher Elswit, ASC (born April 22, 1950) is an American cinematographer. He has had multiple Oscar, BAFTA, and Independent Spirit nominations for several films, including There Will Be Blood. Elswit frequently works with director Paul Thomas Anderson.[2]

Life and career

Elswit was born in California. An early short film he worked on, was a 1982 TV adaptation of the Ray Bradbury short story 'All Summer in a Day'.

Elswit is a fierce defender of shooting with film, and whenever possible refuses to use digital cameras. Images shot digitally, he says, have "no texture, no grain."[3]

Elswit has also worked with director Good Night, and Good Luck. Notably, Elswit shot the film in color, then converted the film into black and white in post production. According to Elswit, this technique preserved the subtlety of the colors (as complex shades of blacks and greys) and made the overall look much richer in the final film.[4]

Elswit received his first Academy Award nomination for Best Cinematography in 2006 for his work on the movie Good Night, and Good Luck. He lost that Oscar to Dion Beebe for Memoirs of a Geisha. Two years later, Elswit would again be nominated and this time win the Oscar for Best Cinematography, for his work on There Will Be Blood.[5]

Elswit has cited early independent filmmaker John Cassavetes as a major influence. Elswit is a graduate of the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts and worked there as a teaching assistant in the 1970s.

Elswit is the godfather of actor Jake Gyllenhaal.[6]


Year Film Director
1985 The Sure Thing Rob Reiner
Moving Violations Neal Israel
Desert Hearts Donna Deitch
1986 Trick or Treat Charles Martin Smith
1987 Amazing Grace and Chuck Mike Newell
1988 Return of the Living Dead Part II Ken Wiederhorn
1989 How I Got Into College Savage Steve Holland
Heart of Dixie Martin Davidson
1990 Bad Influence Curtis Hanson
1991 Paris Trout Stephen Gyllenhaal
1992 The Hand That Rocks the Cradle Curtis Hanson
Waterland Stephen Gyllenhaal
1993 A Dangerous Woman Stephen Gyllenhaal
1994 The River Wild Curtis Hanson
1996 Hard Eight Paul Thomas Anderson
The Pallbearer Matt Reeves
Boys Stacy Cochran
1997 Boogie Nights Paul Thomas Anderson
Tomorrow Never Dies Roger Spottiswoode
1999 8mm Joel Schumacher
Magnolia Paul Thomas Anderson
2000 Bounce Don Roos
2001 Heist David Mamet
2002 Impostor Gary Fleder
Punch-Drunk Love Paul Thomas Anderson
2003 Gigli Martin Brest
Runaway Jury Gary Fleder
2005 Good Night, and Good Luck George Clooney
Syriana Stephen Gaghan
2006 American Dreamz Paul Weitz
2007 Michael Clayton Tony Gilroy
There Will Be Blood Paul Thomas Anderson
2008 Redbelt David Mamet
The Burning Plain Guillermo Arriaga
2009 Duplicity Tony Gilroy
The Men Who Stare at Goats Grant Heslov
2010 The Town Ben Affleck
Salt Phillip Noyce
2011 Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol Brad Bird
2012 The Bourne Legacy Tony Gilroy
2014 Inherent Vice Paul Thomas Anderson
Nightcrawler Dan Gilroy
2015 Mission: Impossible 5 Christopher McQuarrie


  1. ^ Robert Elswit - Biography. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved May 7th, 2010.
  2. ^ Eugene Hernandez, "Decade: Paul Thomas Anderson on 'There Will Be Blood'," indieWIRE (December 24, 2009) Retrieved June 4, 2010.
  3. ^ "A Little More Than Luck on Syriana and Good Night, and Good Luck," StudioDaily (January 1, 2006) Retrieved April 19, 2011.
  4. ^ "A Little More Than Luck on Syriana and Good Night, and Good Luck," StudioDaily (January 1, 2006) Retrieved April 19, 2011.
  5. ^ Robert Elswit - Awards. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved May 7th, 2010.
  6. ^  

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