Oscar 2010: Inception Wins Top Award from American Society of Cinematographers

The dreamscape of “Inception” won out over “Black Swan,” “The King’s Speech,” “True Grit,” and “The Social Network” as lenser Wally Pfister took the top competitive prize at the 25th annual American Society of Cinematographers Awards. It was Pfister’s first win after two previous nominations, both for pictures directed by Christopher Nolan.

Jonathan Freeman, one of two lensers nominated for HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire,” took the laurel for TV episodic series-pilot category, while in the TV movie-miniseries category, Stephen Windon was singled out for HBO’s WWII drama, “The Pacific.”

Roger Deakins, honored for career achievement in features and nominated for his lensing of “True Grit,” assured the crowd in the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood and Highland that he is “not about to retire, no way.” He said that Conrad Hall’s work on “Fat City” inspired him to become a cinematographer. John Seale, who won an Oscar and an ASC award for “The English Patient,” was given the international achievement kudo.

Michael O’Shean, recipient of the career achievement in TV honor, proposed that “we’ll fix it in post” is unacceptable” and that cinematographers have “to fight for every image.”

Julia Roberts, accepting the Board of Governors award from Tom Hanks, said “thank God (for cinematographers) because I know what I look like at 5:30 at a rehearsal, and what I look like in a matinee.”

Douglas Kirkland, a photographer at Life and Look magazines during their glory years, accepted the President’s award with exuberant praise for the d.p.s in the room, exhorting they were responsible for transporting viewers to “other worlds and times and fantasies.”