Rachel Morrison's journey from 'Mudbound' to 'Black Panther' to creating Oscar history

It is a completelydifferent feeling when one gets recognized for doing what they love and this is exactly what is happening in Rachel Morrison's life. One could say that 2018 happens to be about her. In January, Rachel created history as she became the first-ever female cinematographer nominated for an Oscar for the best cinematographer for her work on 'Mudbound'. 

She is the first woman to be nominated for the Oscars best cinematographer category (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SBIFF)

Rachel helped bring the stunning World War II-era saga revolving around two Mississippi families, one white, one black, into life just by giving it a little extra touch of what she thinks fits perfectly for the show. Little did she know that just a few days after wrapping her work on the sets of 'Mudbound', she will be hopping on the plane to South Africa for her next big-ticket film, 'Black Panther'. 

She was nominated for her work in Mudbound  (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SBIFF)

Blank Panther has already managed to break records and has done beyond the box-office expectations. As for Rachel, the experience of being part of something like Black Panther was immensely different than what she had ever done before. For instance, the number of people she worked with for 'Mud-bound' had been around 15 but for Black Panther, it was around 500. For someone else it might be a bit nerve-wracking, however, for Rachel, it was exactly the delightful situation that she wanted to be in. 

Right after finishing Mudbound she started working on black panther (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SBIFF)

Despite this huge gap in her role, she is set on what she wants and looks only for that. Before accepting any offers, Rachel makes sure that the movie she is part of is something she would love to watch and at the same time carries a message with it. In an interview with The Washington Post, she explains why she does so. 

She believes that the world of entertainment encourages people to think outside the box  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

“Our world, especially now, is a little too messed up for just pure entertainment for entertainment’s sake,” Rachel said. “The best kind of entertainment is the kind that also makes you question something or think outside the box or live another life. Those are the stories that I’m drawn to.”

She says she is trying to get used to the attention she is getting (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

All this while Rachel was used to doing her magic from behind the camera but one cannot help but appreciate the beauty of magic when it is so pure and beautiful. The same goes for Rachel and her skills. Just after people came to notice the work she had done, one could say she was put in the spotlight where people wanted to know her and work with her. But one thing that pushes her further is to be the role model for all the people, especially women and motivate them to think about becoming a cinematographer one day. 

She hopes that the success of Blank Panther encourages people to come forward and follow their dreams  (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)

"Hopefully the success of Black Panther will serve as an example to get more studios to hire women. That’s how we keep going. You can only shoot small movies and documentaries for so long if you want to have a family that you support; eventually, you need to get let into the big leagues," she said in the interview. 

She believes one should do what they love (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images for Women In Film)

While Rachel was able to find her stream of success, she knows that it is not something that comes easy. Despite this, being in a position she is now, she does have advice for all those people who aspire to follow her footsteps. To all those who are having a hard time understanding what to do next, Rachel has only one thing to say: "Make really conscious choices, make films that you would want to go see and that you would be proud of, even if that means making one film a year instead of three." 

In the interview, Rachel also emphasized on the idea that it is important for one to know what they want and work on it. "The most important thing above all else is that you enjoy the journey and that it’s not about the destination because it could take a very long time to get where you’re going," she said. "But as long as you love going to work every day, then it doesn’t feel like a job, and 15 years can go by in the blink of an eye." 

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Prerna Nambiar


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