Hoyte van Hoytema, ASC, NSC. FSF accepts at the 38th Annual ASC Awards.

Exceptional Images: 38th Annual ASC Awards

Oppenheimer, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Boston Strangler and Barry are among winners in seven categories.

David E. Williams

Hosted by actor Ed Helms — who definitely hit his quota of cinematography-related jokes for the evening — and attended by some 1,100 honorees, nominees and supporters, the 38th Annual ASC Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography ceremony was held at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Sunday, March 3.

Seven competitive categories celebrated creative camerawork in a wide range of productions, while four special honorees were recognized for their outstanding contributions to motion pictures.

Ed Helms (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Moloshok Photography, Inc.)

Here is the complete program livestreamed that night:

Following welcoming remarks by Awards Committee Chair Chuck Minsky, ASC, the first competitive category for the night was the Spotlight Award (to be found in the video above at 15:10), which is intended to gain attention for outstanding camerawork in a deserving independent project that might otherwise not be recognized. The three nominees were Eric Branco for Story Ave, Krum Rodriguez for Citizen Saint, and Warwick Thornton for The New Boy.

His name announced by presenter Rodney Taylor, ASC, winner Warwick Thornton was clearly stunned by the honor.

Winner Warwick Thornton and Rodney Taylor, ASC.
Thornton at the podium. Photo Credit: Hector Sandoval

Hailing from Alice Springs, Australia, Thornton sparked to cinematography when the public radio station he deejayed for launched a film unit. He graduated from the Australian Film, Television and Radio School in 1997 and began making shorts about the Aboriginal community. His first feature, Samson & Delilah, which he wrote, directed and shot, won the Camera d’Or at Cannes in 2009. His credits include Phillip Noyce’s feature Fast Charlie and episodes of Firebite (which he also co-created and co-directed) and Mystery Road.

He won the 2023 Camerimage Golden Frog for The New Boy, which he also wrote and directed. This was Thornton’s first ASC Award nomination.

Collaborator Cate Blanchett, Thornton and Taylor backstage.

Backstage, Thornton spoke to former American Cinematographer editor David Heuring on the red carpet about his win:

The next award, for Episode of a Half-Hour Series (found at 22:08) was presented by actors Dallas Liu and Ian Ousley. The nominees were Julian Court, BSC for The Diplomat, “The James Bond Clause”; Carl Herse for Barry, “Tricky Legacies”; Jon Joffin, ASC for Schmigadoon!, “Something Real”; Blake McClure, ASC for Minx, “I Thought the Bed was Gonna Fly”; and Andrew Wehde for The Bear, “The Bear.”

This year’s winner Carl Herse previously took the prize in this same category last year for the Barry episode “starting now,” making this a second consecutive ASC honor.

Herse studied film at Columbia College in Chicago, after which he worked in set lighting while building up his resume. His television credits include Comedy Central’s Nathan for You, Fox’s The Last Man on Earth, A24’s Moonbase 8, Showtime’s Black Monday, and Apple TV+’s The Afterparty. He earned a 2023 Emmy nomination for this same episode of Barry and was also previously nominated for the episode “starting now.”

Unfortunately, Herse was not in attendance, with the trophy accepted by his gaffer, Oliver Alling.

Oliver Alling accepts the award for winner Carl Herse.

Accepting the prestigious Career Achievement in Television Award (starting at 28:07), honoree Steven Fierberg, ASC was introduced and presented by producer and friend Sarah Treem, his collaborator on projects including In Treatment and The Affair. (You’ll find a detailed profile here.)

Steven Fierberg, ASC

He spoke to Heuring on the red carpet:

The award for Limited or Anthology Series or Motion Picture Made for TV (watch at 42:32), was presented by actor Titus Welliver. The nominees were Dan Atherton for Great Expectations, “The Three Keys”; Sam Chiplin for The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, “Part 1: Black Fire Orchid”; Ben Kutchins, ASC for Boston Strangler; Igor Martinovic for George and Tammy, “Stand by Your Man”, Jason Oldak for Lessons in Chemistry, “Book of Calvin”; Tobias Schliessler, ASC for All the Light We Cannot See, “Episode 2.”

Winner Kutchins was not in attendance at the ceremony, but his trophy was accepted for him by longtime friend Reed Morano, ASC.

Reed Morano, ASC (Photo by Phil McCarten/Moloshok Photography, Inc.)

Kutchins worked as a still photographer at Industrial Light & Magic before embarking on a career in cinematography. After shooting such features as Holy Rollers, Ten Thousand Saints and Sleeping with Other People, he transitioned to television, serving as director of photography on Mozart in the Jungle, Happyish, three seasons of Ozark (for which he received two Emmy nominations) and the first season of The White Lotus.

His cinematography on Boston Strangler was also nominated for an Emmy this year.

The Documentary Award was presented by actor Alma Har’el (watch from 49:57), and the nominees included Jeff Hutchens for Murder in Big Horn, “Episode 1”; Curren Sheldon for King Coal; and D. Smith for Kokomo City.

Curren Sheldon

Winner Curren Sheldon is based in Knoxville, Tenn., and shared a 2018 Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Short Subject with Elaine McMillion Sheldon for Heroin(e),
which also won a News & Documentary Emmy Award for Outstanding Short Documentary. With six colleagues, he shared a 2020 Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Short Format Children’s Program for Sesame Street in Communities: Meet Salia, which Sheldon directed and shot. He produced and shot the documentary feature Recovery Boys and co-created, directed and shot the web series Quarantine Life. He was nominated for a 2023 Camerimage Golden Frog for King Coal and this was his first ASC Award nomination.

Sheldon spoke to Heuring on the red carpet:

The President’s Award was then presented to Amy Vincent, ASC by Society associate member Beverly Wood (starting at 55:56), who spoke eloquently about her colleague and friend, highlighting not only her expert cinematography, but her tireless efforts to help aspiring filmmakers — especially from underrepresented groups — achieve their dreams through her leadership, mentorship and educational efforts. (You’ll find a complete profile on Vincent here.)

Honoree Amy Vincent, ASC

The Bud Stone Award of Excellence — named for the longtime co-chair of the ASC Awards — each year honors a member of the motion-picture community who has made a significant impact. It’s also announced as a surprise to the recipient, so it was a complete shock to Dan Perry of Sony Electronics when ASC President Shelly Johnson announced his name. (Watch from 1:13:26).

Perry later spoke to Heuring on the red carpet:

The night’s Music Video Award — a new category this year — was presented by director Mark Pellington, who is well-known in the field for his provocative clips. (Watch starting at 1:19:55. You can also see all of the nominated videos here.)

The nominees were Scott Cunningham, ASC for the song “Gorilla” (performed by Little Simz); Jon Joffin, ASC for “At Home” (performed by Jon Bryant); and Andrey Nikoleav for “Tanto” (performed Cassie Marin).

No stranger to the ASC Awards, Jon Joffin was announced as the winner for his romantic camerawork in “At Home,” which he also directed.

Jon Joffin, ASC (Photo by Phil McCarten/Moloshok Photography, Inc.)

After studies at York University in Toronto, Joffin moved to Vancouver, gaining experience as a camera assistant and operator. After going out on a day call for The X-Files, he ended up shooting on second unit, and would stay on for 24 episodes, then shooting another 11 as director of photography. His longform TV credits include Five Desperate Hours, Aftershock: Earthquake in New York, A Wrinkle in Time, The Andromeda Strain (earning an ASC Award nomination) and Alice (another ASC nomination), as well as the series Masters of Horror, Beyond (winning an ASC Award), Motherland: Fort Salem (winning an ASC Award) and Titans (winning another ASC Award).

Backstage, Joffin spoke to Heuring on the red carpet:

Known for an inspiring body of work that never hesitated to push boundaries and tackle provocative topics, director Spike Lee then enthusiastically took the stage to accept the ASC Board of Governors Award, which was presented by a trio of his cinematographers: Matthew Libatique, ASC, LPS; Ellen Kuras, ASC; and Ernest Dickerson, ASC (starting at 1:26:53).

From left, ASC members Ellen Kuras, Matthew Libatique and Ernest Dickerson. Photo Credit: Hector Sandoval

Each has shot multiple feature projects for the filmmaker, collaborating with him to create unique visual styles while bringing their respective “joint” projects to the screen, including Lee’s feature debut, She’s Gotta Have It, School Daze, Jungle Fever, Malcolm X, Summer of Sam, Inside Man and Chi-Raq.

Spike Lee takes the stage. (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Moloshok Photography, Inc.)

Lee later spoke to Heuring on the red carpet:

The award for Episode of a One-Hour Television Series was resented by actress Karen Pittman (starting at 1:46:20). The nominees were Ricardo Diaz for Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty, “The Second Coming”; Rob C. Givens for Gotham Knights, “Daddy Issues”; M. David Mullen, ASC for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, “Four Minutes”; Cathal Watters, ASC, ISC for Foundation, “In Seldon’s Shadow”; and Glen Keenan for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, “Hegemony.”

Busy prepping for a production in Paris, winner M. David Mullen was not in attendance, so the trophy was accepted on his behalf by friend Roy Wagner, ASC.

Mullen previously received ASC Award nominations in 2019, 2020 and 2021 for his work in Mrs. Maisel, winning in 2023, and has also earned five Emmy nominations for the show, winning three times.

Born in Iwakuni, Japan, his feature credits include Twin Falls Idaho (earning a Film Independent Spirit Award nomination), Jackpot, Northfork (again earning a Spirit Award nomination), The Astronaut Farmer, Jennifer’s Body and The Love Witch. His other series credits include Big Love, The Good Wife, United States of Tara, Smash, Extant, Get Shorty and Westworld.

Wagner later spoke to Heuring on the red carpet:

The Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award was then presented to veteran cinematographer Don Burgess, ASC (starting at 1:52:13), introduced by collaborator, longtime friend and director Robert Zemeckis.

Robert Zemeckis and Don Burgess, ASC. (Photo by Phil McCarten/Moloshok Photography, Inc.)

Together, the filmmakers have been creative partners on challenging feature projects including Forrest Gump, Cast Away, Contact and the upcoming Here. (You’ll find a complete profile on Burgess here.)

Photo Credit: Hector Sandoval

He later spoke to Heuring on the red carpet:

The last award of the night was for Theatrical Feature Film (starting at 2:07:30), presented by Lawrence Sher, ASC. Nominated in this final competitive category were Edward Lachman, ASC for El Conde; Matthew Libatique, ASC, LPS for Maestro; Rodrigo Prieto, ASC, AMC for Killers of the Flower Moon; Robbie Ryan, ISC for Poor Things; and Hoyte van Hoytema, ASC, FSF, NSC for Oppenheimer.

In a rare instance of synchronicity, the ASC’s nominee list this year exactly matches that of the Academy Awards.

Also of note, four of the nominated projects were shot on motion-picture film, with El Conde the only one captured digitally.

Sher applauds van Hoytema’s win. (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Moloshok Photography, Inc.)

This audience erupted as Sher announced van Hoytema’s win, his first following previous ASC Award nominations in this category for the features Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Dunkirk
(the latter of which also earned him an Oscar nomination). The cinematographer’s other feature credits include Let the Right One In, The Fighter, Interstellar, Her, Spectre, Ad Astra, Tenet and Nope.

Backstage, van Hoytema spoke to Heuring about his win:

A gallery of images from the ceremony will later be posted to accompany this report.

You'll find the ASC’s complete press release on the event here.

Photo Credit: Hector Sandoval

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