Rachel Morrison Hopes Her Oscar Nomination Opens the Door for More Female Cinematographers (Exclusive)

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Angela Weiss/AFP

Rachel Morrison is having quite a year.

The 39-year-old cinematographer is the first-ever female nominee for the Best Cinematography Academy Award, for Dee Rees’ period drama, Mudbound, and her most recent film, Black Panther, is the No. 1 movie in the world.

“It’s amazing, it’s absolutely incredible,” Morrison told ET’s Kevin Frazier and Nancy O’Dell on the Oscars red carpet. “I mean, this is everything that you hope one day might come true, and never quite believe until it happens.”

“The amount of people looking to me feels like a little extra pressure, but win or lose, I do think it is already making a huge change in the industry that women can get here and can shoot films like Black Panther,” she added. “Hopefully that’s gonna open the doors for so many more women.”

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Morrison admitted that she thinks of her nomination as a part of history separate from the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, but acknowledged that all are part of a significant moment for women in Hollywood.

“I like to think that the work is what got us all here,” she noted, “but with that said, you know, I do think, like everybody else, it’s time for gender equity, it’s time for pay equity. It’s time for us to be taken seriously on all fronts.”

However, she admitted that part of her was not quite ready to make history again with the first female win for Best Cinematography.

“I live in fear of public speaking, so I'm kind of hoping [Blade Runner 2049 cinematographer Roger] Deakins will take this one home,” Morrison said with a laugh.

The talented cinematographer will likely be in Oscars conversation next year as well, when Black Panther will be awards season eligible. But for Morrison, the positive public reception of Ryan Coogler’s Marvel epic is even more satisfying than the box office returns.

“The most meaningful thing is seeing people, you know, coming in their grandmother’s clothing from the past, and seeing voter registration set up at Black Panther screenings,” she noted. “That’s incredible. Wakanda forever.”

See more on Black Panther’s historic debut in the video below.

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