A frequent collaborator of directors Peter Weir and Gillian Armstrong and one of the most prolific cinematographers in the American film industry, Academy Award-winning director of photography Russell Boyd has been the man behind the camera on such widely revered films as Picnic at Hanging Rock, The Last Wave, and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. Deftly balancing his work on such challenging films as the aforementioned titles with mainstream popcorn films like Crocodile Dundee, White Men Can't Jump, and Doctor Dolittle, Boyd seems to have left no cinematic stone unturned.
Boyd was born and raised into a family of farmers in Victoria, Australia, and the young photo enthusiast's first job was working for a small production company that produced newsreels for Australian movie theaters. After performing various on-set jobs over the course of a year, the aspiring photographer was promoted to cameraman, and a few years of newsreel work eventually led to a job at one of Melbourne's top television news broadcasts. Though the job was exciting and the challenges came daily, the young camera operator soon realized that his true ambition was to enter a career in drama. A subsequent move to Sydney four years later found Boyd shooting for a small documentary company and filming commercials, with weekends spent shooting shoestring-budgeted student films with long-time friend Mike Thornhill. When Thornhill decided to make the move into feature territory with the 1974 historical drama Between Wars, the eager Boyd joined him -- sparking off an eventful career that eventually led him to the top tiers of the film industry.
For his contributions to the widely praised Between Wars, Boyd received the Cinematographer of the Year award from the Australian Cinematographers Society. The following year, Boyd embarked on the first chapter of an enduring professional relationship with director Peter Weir by stepping behind the camera to shoot Weir's haunting drama Picnic at Hanging Rock. In the years that followed, Boyd became increasingly prolific in the international film scene, with AGI awards for such efforts as The Last Wave and Break of Day attracting the attention of top Hollywood filmmakers. Subsequent Australian efforts such as Gallipoli, The Year of Living Dangerously, and Tender Mercies left little doubt as to Boyd's skills behind the lens, and in 1986, he brought Australian sensibilities to stateside shores with the break-out comedy hit Crocodile Dundee. After reprising his role of cinematographer for the 1988 sequel, Crocodile Dundee II, Boyd got the 1990s off to a solid start with the popular Woody Harrelson/Wesley Snipes comedy White Men Can't Jump. Increasingly prolific stateside work continued with Cobb, Operation Dumbo Drop, Tin Cup, and Liar Liar, and after the release of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World in 2003, Boyd earned the first Oscar of his extended career. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi