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Last Updated:  Monday, 24 March, 2003, 04:31 GMT
Hall's legacy lights the way
Conrad L Hall
Conrad L Hall has had 10 Oscar nominations
BBC News Online continues its Oscar countdown with a profile of the late cinematographer Conrad L Hall, who won a posthumous Oscar.

Respected cinematographer Conrad L Hall died this year aged 76.

He contracted bladder cancer and died on 4 January 2003 from complications.

Six weeks later he was nominated for an Oscar for his work on Road to Perdition, directed by Sam Mendes.

A week after that, his peers, the American Society of Cinematographers, gave him their award for best photography for the same film.

His award was accepted by his son, Conrad W Hall, who has followed in his footsteps and was credited as a cinematographer on Panic Room and director of photography on Sleepy Hollow.

Everybody deserves a little light, don't they?
Conrad L Hall
"I guess if you're going to go, (it's good) to go out on top," his son told the audience.

Road to Perdition, a 1930s-set mafia thriller starring Tom Hanks and Jude Law, could give Hall his third Oscar.

He is up against rivals Edward Lachman for Far From Heaven, Dion Beebe for Chicago, Pawel Edelman for The Pianist and Michael Ballhaus for Gangs of New York.

During his long career, Hall was no stranger to award ceremonies having notched up 10 Academy Award nominations.

Low-budget start

The son of author James Normal Hall, who wrote Mutiny on the Bounty, he studied film-making at the renowned film school of University of Southern California.

Hall set up a production company with two friends, producing a project they sold to television.

Road to Perdition
Road to Perdition followed his work on American Beauty
The company then launched into the advertising world and industry films.

Hall was hired as a cinematographer on the TV series Stoney Burke, which starred Hawaii Five-O's Jack Lord.


He worked on a number of low-budget movies including Edge of Fury and the horror film Incubus starring William Shatner.

He received his first credit as director of photography on the movie The Wild Seed in 1965.

And just a year later he received his first Oscar nomination for the black and white film Morituri.

The following years saw him nominated in 1967 for The Professionals and in 1968 for In Cold Blood.

But is was not until 1970 that Hall finally stepped up to the podium to collect an Academy Award for best cinematography, for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

American Beauty
American Beauty won Conrad L Hall an Oscar in 2000
His other Oscar-nominated films included Day of the Locust (1975), Tequila Sunrise (1988), Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993) and A Civil Action (1998).

In 2000, Hall's work on the dark family tale American Beauty was recognised by the Academy for his exquisite lighting.

He joked that he told director Sam Mendes he did not know how he was going to succeed on the project.

"I kept asking Sam, 'How are we going to light these people? They're all so unlikeable'," he said. "But everybody deserves a little light, don't they?"

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