Erik Messerschmidt’s black-and-white lensing of Mank — David Fincher’s ’30s set biopic about Citizen Kane screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz — collected the feature film trophy during the 35th American Society of Cinematographers Awards, which were presented during a virtual ceremony from the historic (and expertly lit) ASC Clubhouse in Hollywood.
Messerschmidt topped a field of nominees that also included Phedon Papamichael for The Trial of the Chicago 7, Joshua James Richards for Nomadland, Newton Thomas Sigel for Cherry and Dariusz Wolski for News of the World.
Mank, Nomadland, News of the World and The Trial of the Chicago 7, along with Sean Bobbitt’s lensing of Judas and the Black Messiah are currently nominated for the Oscar in cinematography. In six of the last 10 years, the winner of the ASC feature competition went on to win the cinematography Oscar, including a year ago when Roger Deakins won both awards for 1917. This year, Roger Deakins and his wife and collaborator James Deakins presented the feature film award.
Also during the ceremony, Matthew Libatique presented the Spotlight Award — which recognizes cinematography in independent, foreign or art-house-type films — to Aurélien Marra for Two of Us. The documentary prize, presented by Ellen Kuras, went to Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw for The Truffle Hunters.
In the TV categories, trophies were awarded to Steven Meizler for The Queen’s Gambit, “End Game;” Fabian Wagner, for The Crown, “Imbroglio;” Baz Idoine for The Mandalorian “Chapter 13: The Jedi;” and Jon Joffin for Motherland: Fort Salem, “Up is Down.”
Ed Lachman (The Virgin Suicides) and Philippe Le Sourd (On The Rocks) presented the ASC Board of Governors Award to Sofia Coppola. Accepting the award, Coppola thanked Lachman, Le Sourd and all of cinematographers with whom she has worked, saying that they “helped her express herself through film;” and she thanked her father, Francis Ford Coppola, “for having me on so many sets where I saw great cinematographers working.”
An instrumental performance at the Clubhouse accompanied an ‘In Memoriam’ segment.
Nice touches to the show included moments such as when host Ben Mankiewicz showed the “Panabar” — a Panavision-created camera case and portable bar.
Guests viewed the virtual awards on a system that featured a clever CG rendering of the ASC Clubhouse and nearby Hollywood buildings. Guests could navigate around these settings and “mingle” through video chat features.
The complete list of nominees and winners follows.
- WINNER Erik Messerschmidt, ASC for Mank
- Phedon Papamichael, ASC, GSC for The Trial of the Chicago 7
- Joshua James Richards for Nomadland
- Newton Thomas Sigel, ASC for Cherry
- Dariusz Wolski, ASC for News of the World
- Katelin Arizmendi for Swallow
- WINNER Aurélien Marra for Two of Us
- Andrey Naydenov for Dear Comrades!
- WINNER Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw for The Truffle Hunters
- Victor Kossakovsky and Egil Håskjold Larsen for Gunda
- Gianfranco Rosi for Notturno
Motion Picture, Limited Series, or Pilot Made for Television
- Martin Ahlgren, ASC for The Plot Against America, “Part 6”
- Anette Haellmigk for The Great, “The Great”
- Pete Konczal for Fargo, “The Birthplace of Civilization”
- WINNER Steven Meizler for The Queen’s Gambit, “End Game”
- Gregory Middleton, ASC, CSC for Watchmen, “This Extraordinary Being”
Episode of a One-Hour Television Series – Commercial
- Marshall Adams, ASC for Better Call Saul, “Bagman”
- Carlos Catalán for Killing Eve, “Meetings Have Biscuits”
- François Dagenais, CSC for Project Blue Book, “Area 51”
- WINNER Jon Joffin, ASC for Motherland: Fort Salem, “Up is Down”
- Kim Miles, ASC, CSC, MySC for Project Blue Book, “Operation Mainbrace”
Episode of a One-Hour Television Series – Non-Commercial
- David Franco for Perry Mason, “Chapter 2”
- Ken Glassing for Lucifer, “It Never Ends Well for the Chicken”
- Adriano Goldman, ASC, ABC, BSC for The Crown, “Fairytale”
- David Greene, ASC, CSC for Impulse, “The Moroi”
- David Mullen, ASC for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, “It’s Comedy or Cabbage”
- WINNER Fabian Wagner, ASC, BSC for The Crown, “Imbroglio”
Episode of a Half-Hour Television Series
- Ava Berkofsky for Insecure, “Lowkey Lost”
- Greig Fraser, ASC, ACS for The Mandalorian, “Chapter 1: The Mandalorian”
- WINNER Baz Idoine for The Mandalorian, “Chapter 13: The Jedi”
- Matthew Jensen, ASC for The Mandalorian, “Chapter 15: The Believer”
- Jas Shelton for Homecoming, “Giant”