The Revenant and Scandal Take Top Honors At The SOC Awards
The Society of Camera Operators held its annual lifetime achievement awards at the Paramount Theatre in Los Angeles this past weekend. The evening’s two competitive honors went to P. Scott Sakamoto as camera operator of the year in feature films for his miraculous work on The Revenant, and Steve Fracol was honored as camera operator of the year in television for Scandal.
Sakamoto could not attend because he was on location, but cinematographer Caleb Deschanel read a statement from the operator. “The Revenant was probably the most challenging movie in many ways, but also the most rewarding in many ways. I want to give a special thanks to Chivo, who was not only my inspiration for doing The Revenant, but a wonderful collaborator and contributor to the camera’s visual language of the movie. My career has been influenced by many great DPs, but tonight, I want to single out Haskell Wexler. He brought me into this business and was a dear friend. He always attended when I was nominated and must have some pull up there because I won. Thank Haskell. May your voice never be forgotten.”
The heartfelt message reminded us of the loss of one of the great cinematographers who passed away in December. The SOC looked back in memorandum at Haskell’s legendary career along with another industry titan who we lost, cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond.Fracol, who has his own courageous story of breaking into the industry took the moment to thank his wife and family for letting him go to work and chase down his dreams.
During the entire evening you could feel the members of the SOC are a family, especially when honoring Stephen Campanelli, SOC with the lifetime achievement award for camera operator of the year. Clint Eastwood took the stage to present Campanelli with the honor saying, “My operator Jack Green was moving up to DP and I asked him who is going to be able to do this? Scott said I got a guy named Stephen Campanelli. I said he’s Italian so he can’t be too bad. That was 21 years ago. Eighteen films later I’m still hanging out with him. The secret to making a great film is to get a lot of people who are good and then let them make you look good. Steve is one of those guys.”Campanelli assured us he had plenty of working years left as an operator. “I love going to work every single day and it’s an incredible honor to be doing it. I have to thank my mom for instilling the love of cinema for me. I also want to thank my dad who always been the rock of our family and always sacrificed in order to give us a life we wanted to have. Cinema allows people to escape their normal lives and into a life we create as camera operators. And any camera operator is nothing without their focus puller and their dolly grip. I had the pleasure of working for 20 years with Bill Coe, who’s been the source of professionalism, sharpness and an incredible sense of humor. I can’t thank him enough for his tremendous skill and all the crazy steadicam shots I’ve come up with… I feel like I’m way too young for this prestigious honor. Thank you so much.”
Bruce Doering, now retired after 30 years from being the national executive director of the International Cinematographers Guild was honored with the President’s Award. “The first SOC awards I attended was in 1986. I can’t tell you how much the SOC has grown. I’m proud to be standing here tonight.”
Also during the ceremony, the SOC presented several lifetime achievement awards. As previously announced, the honorees were Jack Glenn, mobile camera platform, Gregory Irwin, camera technician, and Murray Close, still photographer,Gary Lucchesi, president of Lakeshore Entertainment and president of the Producers Guild, was presented the Governor’s Award. “Many years ago I read and was proudly touched by Theodore Roosevelt’s speech on citizenship which I think accurately depicts and sums up the Society of Camera Operators. The speech reads: ‘The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.’ I feel this way about the SOC. You are the artists who are actually in the arena. You are the one who sweat every day and night to get it right. I am profoundly grateful for this award and I will cherish it forever.”
Steven Manios, Sr., of Precision Optics was honored with the distinguished service award and the technical achievement award was presented to Cartoni for their Lambda Head.