Greig Fraser’s lensing of Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic Dune won the American Society of Cinematographers Award for a Feature Film at the 36th Annual ASC Awards, presented at a hybrid event, both in-person and streamed live from the ASC’s Hollywood Clubhouse.
Fraser, who was unable to attend the ceremony because he tested positive for COVID-19 just before last week’s BAFTAS, topped a field of nominees, including Bruno Delbonnel for The Tragedy of MacbethDan Laustsen for nightmare alleyHaris Zambarloukos for Belfast and Ari Wegner for The power of the dog† In a prepared speech, Fraser thanked his crew and suppliers, as well as the Dune team.
This is Fraser’s second time at the top of the ASC job category; he previously won the award in 2017, for Garth Davis’ Lion (for which he was also Oscar nominated). A week ago, Fraser collected a BAFTA for Dune†
Fraser, Delbonnel, Laustsen, Wegner and West Side Story DP Janusz Kaminski is nominated for the Oscar for cinematography. In six of the past ten years, the winner of the ASC film competition has won the Oscar for cinematography, including a year ago when Erik Messerschmidt won both awards for David Fincher’s missing. This year Messerschmidt presented the feature award.
Power of the dog DP Wegner is the second woman ever to be nominated for the Oscar for Cinematography and for the ASC’s Feature Film Competition. In both cases, the first was Rachel Morrison, who was nominated for the 2018 Academy Award and ASC for Dee Rees’ muddy.
Morrison was in attendance Sunday to present the ASC Lifetime Achievement Award to Ellen Kuras, the first woman to receive the award. “This meant that if I was the first woman, the path was clear for others to follow,” Kuras said of the award’s significance, adding that she was proud to be “part of a huge change, a change in culture.” Speaking of the support of the ASC community, she added: “This isn’t about me, it’s about all of us at ASC, as a family.”
“Change is happening all around us,” she asserted in a powerful speech, noting that something at risk is our safety, on and off the set… We have to fight for our quality of life. The culture has to change. Let’s continue to advocate for safety, on and off the set.”
Later in the speech, she warned: “Democracy itself is in crisis…. Let’s take the example of President Zelensky, who shows us what true courage is.” She encouraged members to vote in the midterm elections, adding, “If we’re silent, what’s the legacy we’ll be leaving to our next generation?”
The ASC Award for a half-hour series went to Snowfall‘s Tommy Maddox-Upshaw, a black cameraman, who took the credit and said, ‘Representation is very important. Thanks to the ASC.”
Jessica Beshir won first prize of the evening, in the documentary competition, for Faya Dayi. Pat Scola’s lensing of Pig won the Spotlight Award, which recognizes cinematography in independent, foreign or arthouse-style films. Winners in the episodic categories, along with Maddox-Upshaw, included Barry Jenkins’ collaborator James Laxton (Moonlight) in front of The Underground Railway† Jon Joffin for Titan† and Michael Berlucchi and Marc Carter for Mythical Quest†
During the evening, cinematographer and outgoing International Cinematographers Guild (IATSE Local 600) President John Lindley was honored with the President’s Award. “There is no working cameraman whose life has not been influenced by John Lindley,” said co-host and camerawoman Amy Vincent.
Taking the award, Lindley celebrated the ASC’s performers and said he’s proud that ASC and Local 600 are working together to allow cinematographers to focus on their art. [as they aim to protect] the health, safety and economic security” of its members.
Also in the evening, Peter Levy (The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, Californication† 24) was awarded the ASC Career Achievement in Television Award. Panavision’s lens expert Dan Sasaki received ASC’s inaugural Curtis Clark Technical Achievement Award, which recognizes a person who has made significant technological contributions to cinematography and is named after DP Curtis Clark (The draftsman’s contract), long-time leader of ASC’s technical initiatives. Sasaki accepted the award and thanked the cinematographers for their “inspiration” and “sharing your vision with me.”
ASC president Stephen Lighthill introduced an In Memoriam segment that recalled cinematographers including DP and former ICG president George Spiro Dibie, and cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who died last fall after being shot during a rehearsal on the set of Rust†
Also during the evening, Rob Hummel, a long-time ASC supporter and tech innovator, was surprised with a special prize for his commitment to the Society.
The ASC clubhouse – the home of the association since its founding in 1919 – gave a sense of history to the event. The clubhouse was also where the first ASC Award was presented to Jordan Cronenweth 36 years ago in 1986 for Peggy Sue is married† This year, due to COVID-19, an estimated 800 guests sat under tents on the ASC grounds for the dinner and presentation, which was hosted by Debbie Allen and also streamed live.
A full list of winners follows.
Greig Fraser, ASC, ACS for Dune (WINNER)
Bruno Delbonnel, ASC, AFC for The Tragedy of Macbeth
Dan Laustsen, ASC, DFF for nightmare alley
Ari Wegner, ACS for The power of the dog
Haris Zambarloukos, BSC, GSC for Belfast
Pat Scola for Pig (WINNER)
Ruben Impens, SBC for Titanium
Adolpho Veloso, ABC for Jockey
Jessica Beshir for Faya Dayic (WINNER)
Isabel Bethencourt and Parker Hill for cusp
Jan Haft and Daniel Schönauer for The hidden life of trees
Motion Picture, Limited Series or Pilot Made for Television
James Laxton, ASC for The Underground Railway – Episode: “Chapter 9: Indiana Winter” (WINNER)
Steve Annis for foundation – Pilot Episode: “The Emperor’s Peace”)
Tim Ives, ASC for Halston – Episode: The party is over
Christophe Nuyens, SBC for she-wolf – Pilot Episode: “Chapter 1”
Ben Richardson, ASC for Mare by Easttwon – Episode: “Illusions”
One Hour TV Series Episode – Non-Commercial
Jon Joffin, ASC for Titans – Episode: “Souls” (WINNER)
Stuart Biddlecombe for The Handmaid’s Tale – Episode: “The Wilderness”
David Garbett for sweet tooth – Episode: “Big Man”
David Greene, ASC, CSC for Chapelwaite – Episode: “The Promised One”
Boris Mojsovski, ASC, CSC for TITANS – Episode: “Home”
Kate Reid, BSC for THE NEVER – Episode: “Hanged”
One Hour Television Series Episode – Commercial
Tommy Maddox-Upshaw, ASC for Snowfall – Episode: “Weight” (WINNER)
Thomas Burstyn, CSC, NZSC for snow piercer – Episode: “Our Answer to Everything”
Ronald Paul Richard for Riverdale – Episode: “Chapter Ninety-Nine: Reservoir Dogs”
Brendan Steacy, CSC for Clarice – Episode: “Silence Is Purgatory”
David Stockton, ASC for Maya’s MC – Episode: “The Orneriness of Kings”
Gavin Struthers, ASC, BSC for Superman & Lois – Episode: “Heritage”
Episode of a half-hour television series
Michael Berlucchi and Marc Carter for Mythical Quest – Episode: “Back Story!” (WINNER)
Marshall Adams, ASC for Servant – Episode: “2:00”
Adam Bricker for hacking – Episode: “There’s No Line”
Paula Huidobro for Physically – Episode: “Let’s Get Together”
Jaime Reynoso, AMC for The Kominsky Method – Episode: “And It Gets More Absurd”