'Inception' Cinematographer Wally Pfister Wins ASC Film Award

Inception - Movie Still - 2010
Courtesy of Warner Brothers

Also earning trophies were Stephen Windon for HBO's "The Pacific" and Jonathan Freeman for his work on the network's "Boardwalk Empire."

Wally Pfister won the feature film category for his lensing of Inception at the 25th annual American Society of Cinematographers Outstanding Achievement Awards, held Sunday at the Hollywood and Highland Grand Ballroom.

This was the third ASC nomination for longtime Christopher Nolan collaborator Pfister, who was previously nominated for Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Pfister was in London and accepting the award for him was director of photography Owen Roizman.

At the ASC Awards, he topped a list of nominees  that also included Matthew Libatique for Black Swan, Danny Cohen for The King's Speech, Jeff Cronenweth for The Social Network and Roger Deakins for True Grit. 

Diane Lane presented the ASC's feature award.

Deakins -- who earlier Sunday won the BAFTA for cinematography -- received the ASC Lifetime Achievement Award from Joel Coen. Nine-time Oscar nominee Deakins has never received an Academy Award despite receiving nominations for True Grit, as well as The Shawshank Redemption, Fargo, Kundun, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Man Who Wasn't There, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, No Country for Old Men and The Reader (shared with Chris Menges).

All nine of those films and Revolutionary Road were also nominated for ASC Awards. Deakins previously earned ASC Awards for The Shawshank Redemption and The Man Who Wasn't There.

Deakins joked that a lifetime achievement award was "a little premature. ... I'm not about to retire. I love cinematography as much as I ever have."

This year, all five nominees in the ASC feature competition mirror the list of Oscar nominees for cinematography.

Also during Sunday's ceremony, Jonathan Freeman's work on HBO's Boardwalk Empire ("Home" episode) won the ASC Award for episodic TV program or pilot; and Stephen Windon was honored in the TV movie or miniseries category for his lensing of HBO's The Pacific ("Okinawa" episode). Allison Janney and Gillian Jacobs presented, respectively.

Several honorary awards were also handed out during the ceremony. Julia Roberts received the Board of Governors Award, which was presented by Tom Hanks.

"Thank god (for cinematographers)," Roberts said in accepting her award. "I know what I look like at a 5:30 rehearsal and what I look like at a matinee."

John Seale was presented the International Award by Michael Apted. Michael O'Shea was awarded for Career Achievement in TV, presented by John C. Flinn III. And Douglas Kirkland was handed the Presidents Award by Ellen Kuras.

The William A. Fraker, ASC, BSC Heritage Awards were presented to Boyd Hobbs, an undergraduate at Full Sail University; and Dagmar Weaver-Madsen, a graduate student at UCLA.

Also during the ceremony, ASC president Michael Goi announced that the organization will hold an international cinematography summit May 2-5 in Hollywood.