Erik Messerschmidt, a Cape Elizabeth native, was nominated Monday for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography for his work on “Mank,” directed by David Fincher.
“Mank,” a 1940s period piece about screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz as he writes the script for “Citizen Kane,” received a total of 10 Oscar nominations, including for Best Picture, Best Director for Fincher, Best Actor for Gary Oldman, Best Supporting Actress for Amanda Seyfried, as well as Best Production Design, Costume Design, Makeup and Hairstyling, Sound and Score.
Messerschmidt was born in 1980 in Portland, the son of James and Ulla Messerschmidt, and grew up in Cape Elizabeth, graduating from Cape Elizabeth High School in 1999. He attended Emerson College in Boston, and later relocated to Los Angeles, where he worked as a gaffer on shows including “Mad Men” and “Bones.”
In 2014, his association with director Fincher began when he was a gaffer on the film “Gone Girl.” Messerschmidt was then tapped by Fincher to be director of photography — also known as a cinematographer — for his Netflix series “Mindhunter.” That, in turn, led to his role as cinematographer for “Mank,” a passion project for Fincher that was written by Fincher’s father, Jack, before he died in 2003.
Fincher and Messerschmidt shot “Mank” in black and white, with many references to the groundbreaking cinematography of “Citizen Kane.” It was praised by critics for its stylish, evocative cinematography and production design, with Messerschmidt’s work particularly singled out. Messerschmidt has also been nominated for a British Academy Film Award (BAFTA), a Critic’s Choice Award and a Satellite Award for his work on “Mank.”
“Mank” is available to stream on Netflix.