8842713337_8309ea4719_bUPDATE: In what has apparently become one of the most controversial nominations of recent history, (Hollywood Reporter  Article) the films nomination was recently rescinded.  Still, it’s been a pretty interesting 3 weeks as this small indie has dominated much of the Oscar conversation.  It will be interesting to see how things play out over the next few weeks.


Talk about surprised.  Last Thursday I started receiving messages, emails and calls claiming that a film I worked as the Director of Photography was nominated for an Academy Award.  I knew that the Production company had pushed for the film to qualify but it was a small, indie, faith-based film that had a very limited, 9 city release in September and a one week engagement in LA (to qualify for the Academy Awards).  The wider release wasn’t even planned until later in 2014.  The release was successful in many ways as the per screen average in those cities were higher than the other films released that same week but still, I couldn’t believe that such a small and for the most part obscure film would even be considered.

Well, it was.  The nomination is for Best Original Song for the song “Alone Yet Not Alone” by Bruce Broughton, lyrics by Dennis Spiegel.  So now I can legitimately claim that I am the Director of Photography of an Academy Award nominated film.  With that fact and a $1.00 I can (maybe) buy a cup of coffee but still it is a nice way to begin the new year.

Alone_Yet_Not_Alone-Suttlefilm-James_Suttles 36It has been interesting to read and follow the controversy that the nomination generated.  The fact it is a faith-based film is probably the biggest contributing factor the controversy and I can total understand the surprise.  Having said that, it has been awesome seeing images that I created (with the help of an amazing, hard-working crew) in every major entertainment magazine from Entertainment Weekly & Variety to Vanity Fair & Billboard Magazine.

I had the opportunity to see the finished film in theaters back in September and for the most part I am proud of my work.  There are tons of critiques I can give for the Color Correction, shot selection, etc but that is the same with all projects.  I’ll leave the  critiquing of the overall film to the plethora of others who will now take notice due to the nomination.

The film’s production was challenging to say the least.  It was probably the most stressful and exhausting film I have ever done (and that includes the first film I Directed as well as  Produced and DP’ed where we had a baby on week 3 of production) not only because of the remote nature of the film but also because of all the behind the scenes shenanigans that occurred every single day.  At the end of the day though, all the hard-working crew and cast that worked on the film can now add to their résumé that they too worked on an Academy Nominated Film.  Congrats!