- HOLLYWOOD, Calif.
For the fourth time in his illustrious career, Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC, has won the ASC Award for best cinematography in a motion picture, the latest honor coming during a gala ceremony on Saturday night (2/17) for his work on Blade Runner 2049.
In recent years, an ASC Award would bode well for the recipient’s Oscar prospects. Three of the past four years, the ASC winner has gone on to garner the Best Cinematography Oscar. But that symmetry has not been Deakins’ experience. None of his prior three ASC Awards--for Skyfall (2013), The Man Who Wasn’t There (2002), and The Shawshank Redemption (1995)--has translated into an Academy Award. He has been nominated 15 times for the ASC Award, and is a 14-time Oscar nominee. Deakins is hoping his current Academy Award nod, number 14 in his career--for Blade Runner 2049--will prove to be the charm. His first 13 have been unlucky as he still awaits his first Oscar win.
Deakins was not on hand to receive the ASC Award for Blade Runner 2049. He was in New York prepping for director John Crowley’s adaptation of The Goldfinch. Deakins’ wife accepted the ASC honor on the cinematographer’s behalf.
Deakins topped an ASC field of nominees which also consisted of: Bruno Delbonnel, ASC, AFC for Darkest Hour; Hoyte van Hoytema, ASC, FSC, NSC for Dunkirk; Dan Laustsen, ASC, DFF for The Shape of Water; and Rachel Morrison, ASC for Mudbound. These are the same five DPs in contention for the Academy Award. Morrison is the first woman to earn an ASC Award nomination in the marquee feature category. She is also the first female nominee for the Best Cinematography Oscar.
Topping the other ASC feature category on the night was Mart Taniel, ESC, who took the Spotlight honor on the strength of November. The ASC Spotlight Award--now in its fifth year--was established to recognize outstanding cinematography in feature-length indie projects that are screened at festivals, internationally or in limited theatrical release.
In the TV categories, ASC Award winners were Adriano Goldman, ASC, ABC for The Crown; Boris Mojsovski, CSC for 12 Monkeys; and Mathias Herndl, AAC for Genius.
Honorary awards were also presented at the 32nd annual ASC Awards ceremony. Among the winners were Angelina Jolie who garnered the The ASC Board of Governors Award, and Alan Caso, ASC, recipient of the ASC Career Achievement in Television Award.
Both Jolie and Caso in their acceptance remarks imparted messages about gender equality, diversity and inclusion. The Board of Governors honor is the only ASC Award not given to a cinematographer and is reserved for filmmakers who have been champions for DPs and the visual art form. Jolie thanked the cinematographers--such as Deakins, Christian Berger, Anthony Dodd Mantle and Dean Semler--who have taught her over the years, helping her to become a director. Jolie said she has “never been made to feel like a female director.” All along her job, in collaboration with others, was simply “to be a good director.”
At the same time, alluding to Morrison and others, Jolie affirmed that she’s “excited to see more women making their mark in cinematography, and being recognized for it.”
Career Achievement in TV honoree Caso (a four-time Emmy nominee for such endeavors as Into the West, Six Feet Under, and George Wallace) made an impassioned plea for creating more opportunities for women and people of color. He did so by noting that his Achievement Award overlooked a key area in which he has not achieved--but he has set out to change that. Caso said he came to the realization that it’s been hypocritical of him to complain about racism and sexism over the years “while surrounding myself with an almost exclusively white male crew.” He’s looking to make up for lost time, “kicking down some doors” for women and ethnic minorities who are aspiring cinematographers. Caso urged others to do their part to help out and mentor talented women and people of color. Otherwise you could find yourself having to admit like he did to himself that you’ve been “blissfully asleep in a bubble of your own privilege” for the majority of your career. He said that if we work at it, diversity is attainable. He affirmed that “there’s room for all of us.”
The ASC Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Russell Carpenter, ASC (Oscar winner for Titanic).
Russell Boyd, ASC, ACS (Oscar winner for Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World) received the ASC International Award.
Stephen Lighthill, ASC (Berkeley in the ‘60s, Gimme Shelter, CBS’ 60 Minutes) accepted the ASC Presidents Award. This award is given not only for the recipient’s body of work, but dedication to the ASC and its mission of advancing the art of cinematography through education. Lighthill is currently sr. filmmaker in residence: cinematography at the AFI Conservatory.
The ASC Bud Stone Award of Distinction was given to Frieder Hochheim, president and founder of Kino Flo Lighting Systems. This award is presented to an ASC associate member who has demonstrated extraordinary service to the ASC and/or has made a significant contribution to the motion picture industry.
Here’s a full rundown of the competition category winners spanning features and television:
Theatrical Release Category
Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC for Blade Runner 2049
Spotlight Award Category
Mart Taniel, ESC for November
Episode of a Series for Non-Commercial Television
Adriano Goldman, ASC, ABC for The Crown (“Smoke and Mirrors” episode) on Netflix
Episode of a Series for Commercial Television
Boris Mojsovski, CSC for 12 Monkeys (“Thief”) on Syfy
Motion Picture, Miniseries, or Pilot Made for Television
Mathias Herndl, AAC for Genius (“Einstein: Chapter 1”) on National Geographic