ASC's top nod to 'Children's' Lubezki


Emmanuel Lubezki was honored for "Children of Men" in the feature film competition at the 21st annual American Society of Cinematographers Outstanding Achievement Awards ceremony, held Sunday at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. His victory capped a big week for the Academy Award nominee, who a week earlier won in the cinematography category at the Orange British Academy Film Awards.

In the ASC competition, Lubezki topped a field that included nominees Dick Pope for "The Illusionist," Dean Semler for "Apocalypto," Robert Richardson for "The Good Shepherd" and Vilmos Zsigmond for "The Black Dahlia."

Tim Allen presented the award to Lubezki, who said, "It is a great honor to be here; it's incredible be nominated amongst these excellent cinematographers." He thanked many, including the film's cast, crew and director Alfonso Cuaron. Lubezki praised the work of "Children" camera operator George Richmond, whom he invited up to the stage, where the pair received applause.

In the ASC's television categories, John Stokes was recognized in the television movie competition for "Umney's Last Case" from the miniseries "Nightmares and Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King," and David Moxness won the episodic TV trophy for the "Arrow" episode of "Smallville." The awards were presented by David James Elliott and Beau Bridges, respectively.

Several special trophies were awarded during the evening.

Charlize Theron presented Allen Daviau with the ASC Lifetime Achievement Award. "He is the youngest person to receive this recognition," she said. "And I'm certain his best is yet to come." Daviau has earned Oscar nominations for "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial," "The Color Purple," "Avalon," "Empire of the Sun" and "Bugsy."

Daviau recounted his early interest in cinematography as well as career highlights, and thanked the ASC for "this special, special honor."

Ron Howard was recognized with the Board of Governors Award and discussed his collaboration with and respect for directors of photography. "Cinematographers have been saving my ass for just about my entire life," he said, starting with a humorous story of how director of photography Robert Burks covered for his poor dance skills when he was a child actor in "The Music Man."

"I have truly cherished the relationship I've had with the cinematographers," he concluded.

Martin Scorsese presented Michael Ballhaus with the International Achievement Award. The Academy Award-nominated director said, "The joy of making movies -- that is what Michael gave me."

Gerald Hirschfeld was recognized with the President's Award. Donald M. Morgan was honored with the first ASC Award for Career Achievement in Television Cinematography.

The ASC John Alonzo Heritage Award was presented to two student filmmakers, Brian Melton from the North Carolina School of the Arts and Lyle Vincent from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

ASC president Daryn Okada acknowledged the 50th anniversary of Laszlo Kovacs and Vilmos Zsigmond's now famous escape from their home in Hungary after documenting the revolt on 35mm film. In 1957, the pair migrated to the United States as political refugees.

ASC Awards chair Russ Alsobrook paid tribute to past Lifetime Achievement Award winner Sven Nykvist, who died in September.

An estimated 1,600 turned out for the awards ceremony. The event capped a weekend of ASC events. Friday night, a nominees dinner was held at the historic ASC Clubhouse, during which nominees were presented certificates. The ASC hosted its annual open house Saturday at the Clubhouse.