By Leonard KladyThough the American Society of Cinematographers has honored international craftsmen in the past, its theatrical award to Bruno Delbonnel, AFC for A Very Long Engagement marks the first time the organization has cited work in a non-U.S. production in a competitive category. (The other nominees in the feature category were Dion Beebe, ASC, ACS and Paul Cameron for Collateral; Caleb Deschanel, ASC for The Passion of the Christ; Pawel Edelman, PSC for Ray; and Robert Richardson, ASC for The Aviator.)The ASC’s annual dinner on February 13 saw a number of popular winners, including Robbie Greenberg, ASC for the cable-TV movie Iron Jawed Angels and Nathan Hope in episodic for his work on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.It might have seemed like a good omen that the event shifted venues to the Hollywood and Highland complex, but the move was necessitated by a strike at the Century Plaza hotel and a board decision not to cross potential picket lines. The Kodak, which also hosts the AFI dinner, proved awkward and cumbersome for the ASC with neither the projection of clips nor the slightly echoing acoustics working to anyone’s favor. Virtually every aspect of the evening was slightly off center, from a meal absent of a vegetable to teleprompter glitches and presentation and acceptance speeches that may have strived for intimacy but were dwarfed by the cavernous environment.Career honors went to Fred Koenekamp, ASC and Tonino Delli Colli, AIC, while the President’s Award was given by Peter Fonda to cinematographer and Panavision cofounder Richard Moore, ASC. Koenekamp was visibly moved by his prize but strived too hard and long to recall everyone that had shaped his career. Delli Colli received his award from Alan Alda. Moore overcame the room with a speech that was personal and reflective of the craft, talking most eloquently about embracing new technologies and opening doors for the next generation.Considering the nature of the organization, it’s always seemed a bit curious that it honors only the cinematographer rather than citing at least the core department of operator, gaffer and assistant. One hopes future outings will redress those omissions. Other winners cited during the evening were Jonathan Freeman in network features for Homeland Security, Gil Cates, awarded the Governors prize and the newly created Award of Distinction presented to Leonard Maltin.
Written by Len Klady