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Oscar Winning ‘Dune’ Cinematographer Predicts Lack of Women and Minorities Will Improve in a Decade

”There is a massive groundswell of interest [in] other voices,“ says cinematographer Grieg Fraser

At this year’s Oscars, movies made by women won top awards for Best Picture (Sian Heder’s “CODA”) and Best Director (Jane Campion for “The Power of the Dog”). But women accounted for only 23 percent of total winners, the lowest ratio since 2018.

And the 94-year trend continued in Best Cinematography, the only Oscar category that has never been won by a woman. This year cinematographer Ari Wegner (“The Power of the Dog”) scored just the second nomination ever for a woman, after Rachel Morrison for 2017’s “Mudbound.”

That stat takes nothing away from the extraordinary work “Dune” cinematographer Grieg Fraser (“Zero Dark Thirty,” “Rouge One,” “The Batman”), who won his first Oscar on Sunday night.

Greig Fraser accepts the Cinematography award for ‘Dune’ onstage during the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood (Getty Images)
Greig Fraser accepts the Cinematography award for ‘Dune’ onstage during the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood (Getty Images)

In the backstage press room, Fraser was asked by TheWrap about the lack of parity for women in the field of cinematography.

“I’m glad you asked about that because, yes, there is a massive groundswell of interest [in] other voices that are occurring in the industry, generally,” Fraser said. “And that has filtered its way down to the cinematography world.”

He addressed the long-standing institutional reasons for the lack of representaiton.

“Cinematography has a long lead-up time,” he said. “To learn how to be a cinematographer, it takes time.  And because of that, it means that we are looking at the world almost in reverse. We’re looking at (lack of opportunities in) 2010, 2011, 2012. So I’m feeling at this point in 2022, we are beginning the process to continue for underrepresented people, women, minorities to be able to kind of have a voice in the cinematography world.”

Fraser voiced optimism for major changes in the next decade, as more women and minorities work their way up from film schools to apprenticships to the camera department on feature films.

“I’m really excited asking to look at what is going to be happening, cinematography-wise, in 2032. That’s going to be my interest level there.  It’s going to be exciting.”

He also praised his fellow Australian Wegner and the Australian film industry. Fraser was born and raised in Melbourne, which was where Wegner attended university. And interestingly, Fraser was the cinematographer on Jane Campion’s previous film, 2009’s period drama “Bright Star.”

“Australians are very resilient and we come up with some amazing stories, some of the best in the world,” he said.  And we have some of the best talents in the world. You know, (we) have Ari Wegner who, as you know I am a huge fan of, (and I’m) really, really, really am proud of her success.”

Fraser, who’s also won an Emmy for his cinematography for Disney+’s “The Mandalorian,” is currently working on Garreth Edwards’ sci-fi romance “True Love,” before filming commences on “Dune: Part Two.”

He was tight-lipped about the sequel, but revealed, “I will tell you that this is a bigger story.  I’ve read the script and I’m more blown away by this script than I was by ‘Part One.’ I am more excited.”