As expected, cinematographer Roger Deakins took the top prize for “Blade Runner 2049” at the 32nd annual ASC Awards at Hollywood & Highland. It was his fourth ASC award, besting the other four Oscar nominees: Bruno Delbonnel (“Darkest Hour”), Hoyte van Hoytema (“Dunkirk”), Dan Laustsen (“The Shape of Water”), and Rachel Morrison (“Mudbound”), the first female from her branch nominated by the ASC and the Academy.
But can Deakins finally earn the elusive Academy Award after 14 nominations? He’s certainly the sentimental favorite for his trippy, sci-fi naturalism in Denis Villeneuve’s “Blade Runner” sequel. And winning the BAFTA Sunday (also his fourth) would certainly provide added momentum.
But there’s also a case to be made for three of the other contenders: Van Hoytema’s innovative IMAX work for Christopher Nolan’s World War II survival epic, Lausten’s sublime imagery for Guillermo del Toro’s Best Picture favorite, and Morrison’s poetic work for Dee Rees’ “Mudbound.” Although the dark horse, she clearly has buzz from both her historic nomination (benefiting from the Academy’s long-overdue diversity program) and her great work on Ryan Coogler’s zeitgeist-grabbing “Black Panther.”
Meanwhile, Mart Taniel won the Spotlight Award for the psychological thriller “November” (Estonia’s foreign language Oscar entry); Adriano Goldman took the episodic non-commercial series award for “The Crown” (“Smoke and Mirrors”); Boris Mojsovski earned the episodic commercial series award for “Twelve Monkeys” (“Thief”); and Mathias Herndl captured the miniseries award for “Genius” (“Einstein: Chapter 1”).
Special honors went to actress-director Angelina Jolie, who took the Board of Governors Award; Russell Carpenter (the Oscar-winning “Titanic”) won the Lifetime Achievement Award; Alan Caso (“Six Feet Under”) earned the Career Achievement in Television Award; Russell Boyd (the Oscar-winning “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World”) won the International Award; Stephen Lighthill (“Gimme Shelter”) grabbed the Presidents Award; and Frieder Hochheim, president and founder of Kino Flo Lighting Systems, earned the Bud Stone Award of Distinction.
Jolie (“First They Killed My Father”) summed up the emphasis on diversity and inclusion in many of the acceptance speeches: “I am grateful that I’ve never been made to feel like a female director, but my job is to be a good director. I’m very excited there are more women making their mark in cinematography and being recognized for it. I am hopeful that in our lifetime we will be able to see the rise of more women…that surge of light that has been held back for far too long.”