Oscar 2007: Robert Elswit Wins Cinematographers Award for There Will Be Blood

January 27, 2008–Rovbert Elswit won the American Society of Cinematographers Award for his work on Paul Thomas Andersons There Will Be Blood.

I just think its impossible to pick these five films apart from one another, said Elswit, who has shot all of Andersons movies dating back to the filmmakers 1996 feature debut Hard Eight. Im really lucky that Janusz Kaminki did extraordinary work a year after he resigned from the ASC, and that Roger (Deakins) is competing with himself. To avoid this (from happening again) there should probably be a category called best cinematography in a movie by Roger Deakins.

As Elswit suggested, its anybodys guess as to whether Deakins two nominations, for No Country for Old Men and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, might have split the vote in Deakins disfavor. With the ASCs nominees in perfect alignment with those of the Academy for only the second time in the ASCs 22 years of bestowing awards, one might view Elswits ASC win as an Oscar bellwether.

But given that the ASCs 298 members only represent a fraction of the Academys 6,000 or so who are eligible to vote for Oscars winning cinematographer, its more like comparing apples and oranges.

The last time the two organizations matched nominations, John Seale won both contests for The English Patient.”

Elswits skill is evident in more than one film released this year; he also shot Michael Clayton, whose star, George Clooney, worked with Elswit on Good Night, and Good Luck.

Others taking awards from the Hollywood and Highland Grand Ballroom included Aussie d.p. Ben Nott, who won in the movie/miniseries/pilot category for TNTs The Company; and Glen Winter, who aced the episodic TV award for Noir, an episode of CWs Smallville.

Honorary awards dominated the evening, with Annette Bening being given the Board of Governors Award; Stephen Burum, a frequent collaborator with Brian De Palma, accepting the orgs Lifetime Achievement Award; Brit lenser Walter Lassally (Tom Jones, A Taste of Honey) being honored with the International Award; George Spiro Dibie awarded the Career Achievement in Television kudo; and visual effects wizard Richard Edlund accepting the Presidents Award.