Roger Deakins wins cinematography award for Blade Runner 2049
American Society of Cinematographers' award could be indication for Oscar success
Roger Deakins may be inching closer to making good on his 14th Oscar nomination after winning the American Society of Cinematographers' feature film award for Blade Runner 2049.
His wife, James Deakins, accepted the award on her husband's behalf Saturday night, saying he was busy filming in New York. Roger Deakins has received ASC accolades before, but none translated into an Oscar.
His wife said he shares the award with his fellow nominees in the category, all of whom are also in contention for the cinematography Oscar next month.
Deakins beat out Bruno Delbonnel (Darkest Hour), Hoyte van Hoytema (Dunkirk), Dan Laustsen (The Shape of Water) and Rachel Morrison (Mudbound) to claim the ASC prize. Morrison is the first woman to compete in the organization's feature film category and the first woman nominated for cinematography in the 90-year history of the Academy Awards.
The ceremony at Hollywood & Highland's Ray Dolby Ballroom also recognized outstanding TV cinematography, where winners were The Crown, Genius and 12 Monkeys.
Angelina Jolie received the first award of the evening. Dean Semler, the cinematographer on her 2011 directorial debut, In the Land of Blood and Honey, called Jolie "a true screen goddess" as he presented her with the Board of Governors Award.
"She's a great film director, wonderful actress, dedicated humanitarian, wonderful mother and a cinematographer's dream," Semler said, adding that Jolie has made an "indelible mark, not only on our industry but right across the whole planet."
Accepting the award, Jolie said she still feels "wonder at the privilege of being able to work as an artist," especially because for past generations of women, "the freedom to pursue art and ideas independently, on equal footing, was a bitter dream.
She credited Semler, Deakins and other cinematographers she's worked with as her directing teachers.
"I'm very grateful that I've never been made to feel like a female director, but that my job was to be a good director," Jolie said.
Gender was on the minds of many at the 32nd ASC Awards. The group's president noted that Morrison's ceiling-shattering nomination isn't "a fad" and asked the other female cinematographers in the room to stand. About two dozen did. But apart from Morrison, every nominee at the ASC Awards was male, and nearly all were white.
Presidents Award recipient Stephen Lighthill, head of the American Film Institute Conservatory's cinematography program since 2004, said the school will graduate its 99th female cinematographer under his tenure in June.
"My hope, though, is soon there will be no need to gender-identify us," he said.
Let's not only kick in some doors for members of minority groups, let's uninstall them for good.- Cinematographer Alan Caso in his acceptance speech
Oscar-winning Titanic cinematographer Russell Carpenter received a lifetime achievement award, as did Alan Caso, who used his acceptance speech to talk about recognizing his own hypocrisy. He said he was complaining about what he saw as racism and sexism from the current political administration when he realized he'd spent decades surrounding himself "with an almost exclusively white and male crew."
"I have no excuse nor can I justify the many years I spent in a bubble, worrying only about myself," Caso said as he accepted the Career Achievement in Television Award. His many credits include Dexter, Six Feet Under and Hawaii Five-O.
"I have sworn to myself that I will spend the remaining years of my career mentoring or kicking doors in for aspiring cinematographers who don't look like me," he said. "I'm appealing to my peers and my colleagues in this room tonight: You can avoid a moment like I'm having here, standing on a stage admitting you were blissfully asleep in a bubble of your own privilege for the majority of your career.
"Let's not only kick in some doors for members of minority groups, let's uninstall them for good."