ASC Cites Five Feature Nominees
Michael Ballhaus, ASC ("Gangs of New York"), Pawel
Edelman ("The Pianist"), Conrad Hall, ASC ("Road to Perdition"), Ed Lachman, ASC
("Far From Heaven") and Rodrigo Prieto, ASC ("Frida") claimed nominations in the
feature film category of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC)
Outstanding Achievement Awards competition. The winner will be named at the
17th Annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards gala at the Century Plaza
Hotel in Los Angeles on Feb. 16.
This is the fifth ASC Award nomination for Hall, who passed away on Jan.
4. Hall took top honors for "Tequila Sunrise" (1988), "Searching for Bobby
Fischer" (1993) and "American Beauty" (1999). These are the first nominations
in the annual competition for Ballhaus, Edelman, Lachman and Prieto.
"The truth is that there is no easy or exact way to judge artistic
achievements in cinematography, because it is a subjective and collaborative
art form," says Owen Roizman, ASC, chairman of the awards committee. "These
five amazingly talented artists were selected by their peers in ASC based on
how effectively their images tell stories. I can assure you that it wasn't
an easy decision, because many cinematographers displayed an incredible
range of talent that contributed to the success of last year's films."
In each instance, Roizman says, the cinematographer
was nominated because they succeeded in creating images that accentuated
"Most movie fans and even critics tend to look for striking or beautiful
pictures when they judge cinematography," Roizman says. "How often have you
read a review that said, 'The photography was gorgeous.' The truth is that
great cinematography is usually transparent and non-obtrusive. It's
something you feel rather than see. When our members judge artful
cinematography, they dig beneath the surface and look at how nuances in
colors, textures, light, shadows, movement and composition serve the story."
The organization's Outstanding Achievement Awards competition was
inaugurated in 1986 for the purpose of recognizing and inspiring artistic
achievements in cinematography. The first competition was a modest event
hosted by Gregory Peck with fewer than 100 people in the audience. Jordan
Cronenweth won the first award for "Peggy Sue Got Married."
Crudo points out that the ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards are unique in
that the nominees and ultimate winners are chosen solely by their peers. He
says that it generally takes a peer to recognize and judge how subtleties in
images accentuate performances and provide a sense of place and time.
The annual ASC awards have proven to be a reliable precursor of the Academy
Awards in the cinematography category. Almost 90 percent of the finalists in
the ASC competition have also earned Oscar nominations. Four of the past
seven ASC Outstanding Achievement Award winners also took home Oscars.
The awards ceremonies will be preceded by an open house and Internet chat
with the nominees on Sat., Feb. 15. For additional information about
the ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards visit www.theasc.com.