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Monday, 12 March 2012 15:42

ASC Awards Top Honors to Cinematographers

Written by  James Thompson
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pre_asc_img_3379_webHollywood’s elite recently celebrated the 26th Annual American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Outstanding Achievement Awards at the Hollywood & Highland Grand Ballroom. The event honored the industry’s best cinematographers and their excellence in film and television.

Actor Antonio Banderas presented the Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Theatrical Releases Award to Emmanuel Lubezki, ASC, AMC for the superbly photographed Terrence Malick film The Tree of Life. The film explores the meaning of life as it follows the eldest son of a Midwestern family in the 1950s as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father. “As I have found in my career on both sides of the camera, filmmaking at its core is about telling stories with images,” said Lubezki. The acclaimed DP previously won this ASC Award in 2007 for Children of Men and was nominated in 2000 for Sleepy Hollow. The other nominees in this category were Guillaume Schiffman, AFC (The Artist), Jeff Cronenweth, ASC (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Robert Richardson, ASC (Hugo) and Hoyte Van Hoytema, FSF, NSC (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy).

Jonathan Freeman, ASC earned the One-Hour Episodic/Pilot Television Award for “21” from HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire.” Presented by Actress Amy Brenneman, this was the third ASC Award for Freeman. The other nominees in this category were David Franco for HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” (“To the Lost”), David Katznelson, DFF, BSC for PBS’s “Downton Abbey” (pilot), John Lindley, ASC for ABC’s “Pan Am” (pilot), and David Stockton, ASC for NBC’s “Chase” (“Narco: Part 2”).

pre_asc_img_3426_webActor Jon Cryer presented the inaugural Half-Hour Episodic Series/Pilot Television Award to Michael Weaver, ASC for his work on Showtime’s “Californication” (“Suicide Solution”). Weaver was previously nominated for “Pushing Daisies” in 2008. The other nominees in this category were James Bagdonas, ASC for ABC’s “Modern Family” (“Bixby’s Back”), Michael Balfry, CSC for The Hub’s “R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour” (“Brush with Madness”), Vanja Cernjul, HFC for HBO’s “Bored to Death” (“Forget the Herring”), and Levie Isaacks, ASC for ABC’s “Man Up” (“Acceptance”).

Martin Ruhe won top honors in the Motion Picture/Miniseries Television category for his work on Page Eight. The award was presented by Actors James Cromwell and Penelope Ann Miller. Nominated along with Ruhe were Ed Lachman, ASC for HBO’s Mildred Pierce, Kevin Moss for Showtime’s Chicago Overcoat, David Moxness, CSC for ReelzChannel’s The Kennedys (“Moral Issues and Inner Turmoil”), and Wojciech Szepel for PBS’s Any Human Heart (“Episode 2”). 
The highlight of the evening came when Matthew Libatique, ASC presented the ASC Board of Governors Award to Actor Harrison Ford. “There is art and there is craft, and there can be no art without the craft that gets it there,” said Ford during his acceptance speech. “I admire so much the people that I work with and I am so grateful to them for helping me to make an idea come to life. I thank you all very much for this very high honor.”

pre_asc_img_3274_webAcclaimed Filmmaker Michael Mann presented the ASC Lifetime Achievement Award to Dante Spinotti, ASC, AIC. As the cinematographer humbly accepted his award, he encouraged other ASC members to share their knowledge. “It is our responsibility as members of the ASC to advance and perpetrate our art form, and that we share the mutual obligation to pass our trade on to the next generation,” said Spinotti.

Additional event highlights included inspirational words from Cinematographer William Wages, ASC (“Burn Notice,” “Big Love”) as he received the Television Career Achievement Award. “I want to thank the ASC because living in Atlanta, I never thought I’d be invited to join,” said Wages, who was born and raised in Atlanta, Ga. “That feeling of not believing I could ever become a member makes this even more special.” Other awards handed out that evening included Producer/Director Michael Dinner presenting the ASC President’s Award to Francis Kenny, ASC (“Justified”); and Ralph Woolsey, ASC and Woody Omens ASC presenting the Bud Stone Award of Distinction to Fred Godfrey.
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