Oscar Artists: Lubezki Wins Top Honors from ASC for The Revenant

Emmanuel Lubezki earned the top kudo at the 30th annual American Society of Cinematographers Awards at the Century Plaza hotel on Sunday night for his work in The Revenant.

It was Lubezki’s fourth win in the feature film category from this organization, and his third consecutive triumph.

The Mexican-born cinematographer, known as “Chivo” to colleagues, solidifies his frontrunner status in the Oscar cinematography race, which he also has won the last two years, for Gravity and Birdman, the latter of which was directed by The Revenant helmer Alejandro G. Inarritu, who also is from Mexico City.

Vanja Cernjul (“Marco Polo”) bested the competition in the TV series category, while Pierre Gill (“Casanova”) won in the miniseries-pilot category.

The Spotlight category, which recognizes work on the festival circuit or in limited release and presented for the third year, was a tie between Adam Arkapaw (Macbeth) and Matyas Erdely (Son of Saul).

The Revenant represents as much a physical endurance test as it does bravura filmmaking. In shooting the harrowing tale of survival and revenge in and around the Louisiana territories of the early 1800s (filming actually took place in Canada and Argentina), Lubezki and Inarritu placed the accent on natural light and absolute authenticity in terms of weather and hardship.  Lubezki shot digitally, using the relatively new Arri Alexa 65, which uses a larger, 65 mm chip for wider image and higher, 6K resolution.

In the first memorial tribute in the ceremony’s history, such recently passed cinematographers as Vilmos Zigmond, Haskell Wexler and Andrew Lesnie, among others, were acknowledged for their contributions to the craft.

John Toll: ASC Life Achievement Award

John Toll received the ASC’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his work on such films as The Thin Red Line, Legends of the Fall and Braveheart, receiving a standing ovation from the assembled. He thanked mentors like Jordan Cronenweth, adding that “we couldn’t do what we do if we weren’t just a little crazy.”

Geena Davis presented the Governor’s Award to director Ridley Scott (“The Martian”) for his lush visual sensibility on such films as “Blade Runner,” “Alien, “Gladiator” and “Thelma & Louise,” in which she starred.  In accepting his award, Scott, via video clip, quoted Napoleon in stating his case for the cameraman’s role in telling a story visually: “a good sketch is better than a long speech.”

Lowell Peterson (“Desperate Housewives,” “Six Feet Under”) accepted the Career Achievement in TV Award from actress Gina Rodriguez (“Jane the Virgin”), noting that one of his inspirations as an aspiring D.P. was seeing Douglas Sirk’s “Written on the Wind” and talking about the deep bond between lensers and actors, going so far as studying facial anatomy in his training.



“The Revenant” (Emmanuel Lubezki)


“Marco Polo” – “The Fourth Step” (Vanja Cernjul, ASC, HFS)


“Casanova” (Pierre Gill, CSC)


Adam Arkapaw — “Macbeth”

Mátyás Erdély — “Son of Saul”