The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) is an interesting subset of a voting group. The history of the group dates back to 1919, it’s neither a union or a guild, but a society of like minded cinematographers looking to share the wealth of technological knowledge. However, ASC didn’t start handing out awards until the mid-1980s.
In the past, the group has awarded the spectacle or artistically driven films, meaning gasping wide-shots and a strong visual component to the overall storytelling, win the award. For instance, Erik Messerschmidt winning for Mank in possibly the weakest year for cinematography ever, was due to Fincher emphasizing the eye-catching compositions. He would go on to win the Oscar…
For Oscar predicting pundits, seven out of the last 10 winners have gone on to win the Oscar. The last winner to miss was the inspired pick Łukasz Żal for his immaculate work on Cold War (2018), a most deserving winner. One of the best winners of the past decade.
As for the crop of this year’s nominees, only Bruno Delbonnel has a previous win for his work on A Very Long Engagement (2004), which was a very odd pick. Dan Lausten for Nightmare Alley, a surprise selection after most award shows have snubbed Guillermo Del Toro’s remake, and Greg Fraiser for Dune, have received previous nominations. Ari Wegner for The Power of the Dog and Haris Zambarloukos for Belfast being the two first time nominees.
Now, based on previous winners and relating their style to current nominees and names. The obvious first thought is Bruno Delbonnel’s stylish black-and-white cinematography, and as a previous winner he clearly has support among his peers. Furthermore, the work is undeniable. The nomination was the biggest hurdle for the film and now could be the surprise winner.
However, the odds on favorite still lies with the Oscar frontrunner The Power of the Dog or Belfast. Ari Wegner is a burgeoning star in the cinematography world and this could be her larger introduction to the public. Dune is studio cinematography done at a high level with epic scale involved, but the genre bias makes me overlook its potential.
Happy to see some recognition towards Titane. The cinematography is striking and serves the story in a way that others don’t. Neon and A24 have dominated this category lately and this year extends that streak.
- Bruno Delbonnel, ASC, AFC, THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH
- Greig Fraser, ASC, ACS, DUNE
- Dan Laustsen, ASC, DFF, NIGHTMARE ALLEY
- Ari Wegner, ACS, THE POWER OF THE DOG
- Haris Zambarloukos, BSC, GSC, BELFAST
- Ruben Impens, SBC, TITANE
- Pat Scola, PIG
- Adolpho Veloso, ABC JOCKEY
- Jessica Beshir, FAYA DAYI
- Isabel Bethencourt and Parker Hill, CUSP
- Daniel Schönauer, THE HIDDEN LIFE OF TREES