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Beauty Break: ASC Tributes + Best Cinematography Honors

The American Society of Cinematographers will hold their annual awards dinner tonight where they'll be honoring Jeff Bridges with their Board of Governors Award, three-time Oscar winner Robert Richardson (Hugo, Aviator, JFK) with the Lifetime Achievement Award, and two time Emmy winner Jeffrey Jur (Carnivàle, Bessie) for the Career Achievement in Television Award. They'll also hand out some competitive prizes and presumably give Alfonso Cuarón yet another trophy for his mantle (let's hope he has steel reinforced shelving at home given this season's worth of hardware.) UPDATE: oops we were wrong and Cuarón lost for practically the first time this season.

Let's look at that beautiful imagery from the winners and nominees again with a few bonus gifs... 

  • WINNER: Łukasz Żal, PSC for “Cold War” 

What an incredible DP Żal is. After the consecutive Pawel Pawlikowski's successes of Ida (2013) and Cold War (2018), will he be in demand in Hollywood or just stick to work across the ocean? While his best work has been in black & white in Poland he does color and cinema from other countries as well...

This past year he shot the Russian biopic Dovlatov (2018) and we liked his fine sensitive work on the Swedish troubled teen drama The Here After (2015).

Are you happy with this win from the ASC? And who do you think should win the Oscar? And, in case you missed it, my own ballot of the year's best cinematography.


  • Alfonso Cuarón for “Roma”

  • Matthew Libatique, ASC for “A Star is Born”

  • Robbie Ryan, BSC, ISC for “The Favourite”

  • Linus Sandgren, ASC, FSF for “First Man”

Sandgren outdid himself with First Man, besting his own Oscar-winning work on La La Land, but he did not, sadly, transfer to the Oscar list. He lost his presumed spot to Caleb Deschanel's work on Germany's Oscar nominated epic Never Look Away.

Spotlight Award

  • Joshua James Richards for “The Rider”

So pretty.

  • WINNER: Giorgi Shvelidze for “Namme”

This was Georgia's Oscar submission for 2018. The film has no US distribution unfortunately. And now that it's won we're frustrated that we can't see it. Boo!

  • Frank van den Eeden, NSC, SBC for “Girl”

Say, does anyone perchance know what's going on with Netflix and the trans ballerina drama Girl? They've never, to my knowledge, published a release date for it though it does have a page on Netflix. I've even seen it listed on various sites as 'available to stream' on Netflix which it is not. What's the hold up? Or did they just lose interest altogether when the Belgian entry missed the Oscar finals for Best Foreign Film? They probably should have just started streaming it when it snagged a Golden Globe nod rather than hold out until it was no longer in the news cycle. There was no point in waiting since they didn't have to steer around a window for theatrical release.

Say what you will about its worthiness as a film -- and people sure have, it's proven quite divisive -- but it is gorgeously lensed. 

Motion Picture/Miniseries for TV James Friend, BSC for Patrick Melrose, "Bad News"
Episode of Non-Commercial Television Adriana Goldman, ASC, ABC for The Crown, "Beryl"
Episode of Commercial Television John Joffin, ASC for Beyond, "Two Zero One"
Bud Stone Award Franz Kraus


Here are three gifs dedicated to the non-competitive honorees tonight.

Look, it's all five cinematographers who were Oscar-nominated for shooting Jeff Bridges (though none won). It remains a tragedy of truly epic proportions that Michael Ballhaus didn't win the Oscar for The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989) among the tippity-top of all cinematography achievements in the 1980s. Ballhaus was one of the all-time greats and he died two years ago without ever winning an Oscar or being given an Honorary.

• Highlights from Robert Richardson's career (his chief loyal employers are Oliver Stone, Quentin Tarantino, and Martin Scorsese)

• Highlights from Jeffrey Jur's career (He regularly lensed features, too, up until My Big Fat Greek Wedding in 2003 but from them on its been almost exclusively TV work)

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Reader Comments (22)

Very sad that Ballhaus, one of my favorite DPs, never won an Oscar. People focus so much on "overdue" Oscars for actors; they forget about all the people who create great movies and work behind the scenes. They didn't even nominate him for shooting The Departed, which could have been an obvious "career achievement" Oscar.

The Fabulous Baker Boys was terrific work by him but also The Age of Innocence (IMO, one of the most beautifully shot movies ever) - he definitely understood Pfeiffer's beauty. He also lensed Goodfellas and Quiz Show, both of which were incredibly well shot.

At this point, I think I'd vote for A Star Is Born in this cateogry. Libatique should have won for Black Swan, and the film has been under-rewarded this season. But If Beale Street Could Talk should definitely be here.

February 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Zal - Libatique - Sandgren - Ryan - Cuarón

Girl is very good and the dad is very hot.

February 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

FIRST MAN for the win. It's a travesty Oscar dropped it here.

February 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Baker Boys lost to formidable competition in cinematography. And truth be told The Abyss should have won it considering the technical duress the crew was under shooting several hours underwater in a deep tank. Cameron's movies were always tremendous visual efforts in the photo chemical era. And the Titanic win for cinematography is bittersweet since all the previous nods were for stronger work: The Abyss and T2.

February 9, 2019 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

I think Netflix is taking to heart the criticism leveled at Girl, re: its fetishization of trans bodies and experiences. I think they may be having some legal issues with its display of underage full frontal nudity as well. I understand they used an adult body-double, but child pornography laws in the US and especially Canada are very strict and don’t really permit even fictional/simulated depictions of child nudity like this movie has (in excess).

February 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPfan

I read somewhere that Netflix was trying to have the nudity edited out, but the director (whose responses to all the criticism have been pretty tone-deaf) is refusing.

February 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPfan

With all respect to all the nominees, it's Cold War. As far as B&W it's the best since Schindler's List, and it's the best shot film since Lincoln (Kaminski is the best I honestly feel).

February 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMe

I can't seem to shake Cold War. I watched it for the first time this week and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. It's haunting me.

February 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBrad

Roma is the best one anyway you look it: light, composition and movement. I dont understand the weird backlash by award followers against it. It will go down as one of the best works in cinematography ever.

February 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterLSS

Besides the obvious Malick-y scenes, I never understood the passion for FIRST MAN’s cinematography. Or in general, apart from the wonderful score. I think Linus Sandgren’s best work is BATTLE OF THE SEXES, which surprised me with how beautiful it was photographed.

I am a big fan of Robbie Ryan’s work in THE FAVOURITE and Łukasz Żal’s in COLD WAR. Last weekend I saw the 70mm print of ROMA and it was breathtaking. (I had seen it twice before digitally and it never looked so good). I’m happy with any of the three winning.

Sam Mulligan for WE THE ANIMALS, Hélène Louvart for HAPPY AS LAZZARO, and James Laxton for IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK also deserved recognition.

February 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRoger

@LSS; Don't see any real backlash, and there's always respect for different opinions but Cold War is an all-timer.

Roma has beautiful individual shots, but it's not constantly poignant; sometimes it's just there, well done.

February 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMe

Hoping for a "Cold War" win.
Remember this the group that awarded "The White Ribbon" a decade ago.
They care mostly about the craft of cinematography, not just best picture heat.
And Cuarón position as director/cinematographer/editor/everything may hurt him here - remember that"Gravity" lost ACE on its way to a best editing Oscar in 2013.

February 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterVictor S

Brad - Saw it last October and I still think about it like twice a day.

February 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

is jeff bridges getting an award for looking good on film?

'cause surely that is reward in itself

February 9, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterpar

I honestly don't get when guilds like this give honourary awards to actors for seemingly no reason. At least when the costume guild do it it sort of makes sense since they actually *wear* costumes and are fashion's biggest exposure mechanism. But, like, Jeff Bridges and cinematography? Weird.

February 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

but Glenn, at least Jeff Bridges is a passionate photographer! I've seen his exhibition

February 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

@Glenn Dunks - I don't really get it either.

Matthew Libatique is amazing, his work for ASIB is awesome.

February 10, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

All yo prayers r answered!!

Cold War won!!! 😁

I hope it translates to Oscar!!

I dun mean to b bitchy but I'm tired o seeing quadruple threat, Cuaron keep goin up to collect prizes. Spread the wealth, everyone!!

I guess the Roma fatigue is finally setting in!

February 10, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterClaran

As Peggy Sue said, Jeff Bridges is a consumate photographer.

February 10, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSusie Diamond

So glad to see Cold War won. The film looks so crisp.

February 10, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Zal's cinematography was sublime.

February 10, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Woo

I still don't understand how someone could think a better-photographed film than Cold War could have existed this year (or decade).

February 10, 2019 | Unregistered Commentergoran

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