Erik Messerschmidt Wins ASC's Marquee Feature Award For "Mank"
Erik Messerschmidt, ASC accepts the ASC Award for his lensing of the David Fincher-directed "Mank" (photo by Danny Moloshok)
"Two of Us" wins Spotlight Award; "The Truffle Hunters" tops Documentary category; TV winners are "The Crown," "The Queen’s Gambit," "Motherland: Fort Salem," "The Mandalorian"
  • HOLLYWOOD, Calif.
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The best cinematography in a theatrical motion picture honor went to Erik Messerschmidt, ASC for Mank, capping Sunday afternoon’s 35th American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Outstanding Achievement Awards. The virtual ceremony’s live streaming hub was the ASC Clubhouse in Hollywood.

In his acceptance remarks, Messerschmidt thanked, among others, Mank director David Fincher “for creating an environment where we can do our best work.”

Meanwhile on the strength of Two of Us, Aurélien Marra won the ASC Spotlight Award which recognizes exceptional cinematography in independent, foreign or art-house-type films.

Inaugurated in 2020, the ASC Documentary Award was presented to Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw for The Truffle Hunters. Dweck and Kershaw also co-directed the film. In his acceptance remarks, Dweck acknowledged the invaluable support provided early on by Lance Acord, ASC who served as an EP on The Truffle Hunters. Acord is of course a noted director and cinematographer in his own right (he is also co-founder of Park Pictures and Park Pictures Features). 

Cinematographers Ed Lachman, ASC and Philippe Le Sourd, ASC, AFC presented the ASC Board of Governors Award to writer-producer-director Sofia Coppola. The Society bestows the ASC Board of Governors Award to filmmakers for their significant and indelible contributions to cinema through their body of work. It is the only ASC Award not given to a cinematographer and is reserved for industry stalwarts who have been champions for DPs and the visual art form. In accepting the honor, Coppola thanked all the cinematographers she worked with over the years, including Lachman, Le Sourd, Acord, Chris Blauvelt and the late, great Harris Savides, ASC. Coppola also recalled the first cinematographer with whom she ever had a conversation, Vittorio Storaro, ASC, AIC who was collaborating at the time with her father, filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola. Sofia Coppola additionally thanked her dad for letting her come on film sets at an early age.

In the TV categories, Steven Meizler won for the limited series The Queen’s Gambit, specifically the “End Game” installment; Jon Joffin, ASC topped the one-hour episodic series in commercial television for the “Up is Down” episode of Motherland: Fort Salem; Fabian Wagner, ASC, BSC took the one-hour series on non-commercial TV for the “Imbroglio” episode of The Crown; and Baz Idoine came away with the half-hour TV series honor for the “Chapter 13: The Jedi” installment of The Mandalorian.

Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz served as ASC Awards emcee. He expressed the hope that this will mark the first and final virtual ASC Awards ceremony with the proceedings getting back to normal next year in a post-pandemic era. He then quipped that the in-person normal awards ceremony will again be marked by the audience “not laughing at my monologue.”

Here’s a category-by-category rundown of the ASC Award winners:

Feature Film
Erik Messerschmidt, ASC for Mank

Aurélien Marra for Two of Us

Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw for The Truffle Hunters

Motion Picture, Limited Series, or Pilot Made for Television
Steven Meizler for The Queen’s Gambit, “End Game”

Episode of a One-Hour Television Series – Commercial
Jon Joffin, ASC for Motherland: Fort Salem, “Up is Down”

Episode of a One-Hour Television Series – Non-Commercial
Fabian Wagner, ASC, BSC for The Crown, “Imbroglio”

Episode of a Half-Hour Television Series
Baz Idoine for The Mandalorian, “Chapter 13: The Jedi”


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