LOVE is in the air at ASC Awards Celebration

Even Academy Award winning actress and star Julia Roberts, who received the ASC Board of Governor’s Award, couldn’t take the spotlight off honorees at the ASC Awards ceremony last night at the Hollywood and Highland Ballroom. The night before Valentine’s Day there definitely was a lot of love going on in that room, mostly for the nominated cinematographers. 

Diane Lane announced Wally Pfister as the winner of the ASC Award in the feature film competition for Inception, after being nominated twice before for Batman Begins (2006) and The Dark Knight (2009).  And he along with the other nominees are all nominated for Oscars this year, too, including Matthew Libatique ( Black Swan), Danny Cohen (The King’s Speech), Jeff Cronenweth (The Social Network) and Roger Deakins (True Grit).

Deakins who should have won in 2007 when he was nominated for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and No Country for Old Men, was still a winner this evening as he received the ASC Lifetime Achievement Award.

Deakins, ASC, BSC, has been nominated for the ASC Award ten times, winning twice in 1995 for The Shawshank Redemption and in 2002 for The Man Who Wasn’t There).  He’s also has earned nine Oscar nominations during his amazing career.

“I’m not retiring anytime soon,” he told the crowd. And it’s obvious he loves what he does. “Every film I start seems like the first one I have worked on.”

He received the award from Joel Coen who called him a friend and a co-author of the stories we tell. Joel and his brother, Ethan, and Deakins have collaborated on eleven films, including Barton Fink, True Grit, No Country For Old Men, The Man Who Wasn’t There,  O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Fargo

Deakins also served as the cinematographer on A Beautiful Mind, House of Sand and Fog, The Village and In the Valley of Elah along with the animated films Wall-E and How to Train Your Dragon.

Earlier in the evening, Academy Award winning cinematographer John Seale won the ASC International Award. His first film in American was for another fellow Aussie Peter Weir director of Witness, starring Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis, one of my favorite films. Seale earned an Academy Award nomination for that film and he won the Oscar for The English Patient in 1996 for the late British writer-director Anthony Minghella.

Born in Queensland and raised in Sydney, he worked for a while as a sheep wrangler before catching the film bug. He served as a camera operator under DP Russell Boyd on Weir’s Picnic at Hanging Rock and The Last Wave. Then came Witness and his career in America took off and in the 80’s alone he shot Children of a Lesser God, The Mosquito Coast, Gorillas in the Mist, Rain Man and Dead Poets Society. He worked on two other films for Minghella including The Talented Mr. Ripley and Cold Mountain.

The Career Achievement in Television Award was presented to Emmy   Michael O’Shea for his work on shows like CSI: Miami, Bones, and he pilots for Everwood, Once and Again and The Player. Ellen Kuras, ASC, one of only a handful of women members in the ASC, presented the ASC Presidents Award to photographer Douglas Kirkland.

Emmy Award winning actress Allison Janneypresented the Award for Oustanding Achievement Award for a television series to Jonathan Freeman, ASC, for the eisode “Home” on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. And Stephen Windon, ACS, won for Motion Picture/Miniseries for televisoin for the “Okinawa” episode of The Pacific.

Roberts, who’s still a Pretty Woman took the stage in a funky white pantsuit, thanked presenter Tom Hanks, her director and co-star in her newest film Larry Crowne (slated for release in July). 

“Cinematography is second only to love in terms of being a language that transcends everything,” she said. “You can put on a movie and put it on mute and it still looks amazing.”

While she’s worked with a list of more than 17 ASC cinematographers, including Philippe Rousselot, ASC, AFC, (Mary Reilly, Larry Crowne)Roberts, only had eyes for her husband, Danny Moder. The two met in 2000 when he served as the cameraman on The Mexican, which she starred in along with James Gandolfini and Brad Pitt. 

“As it’s the eve of Valentine’s Day, I’m out with my favorite DP,  sorry but he is,” she joked.

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