32nd ASC Awards ceremony

By Richard Andry, AFC President

[English] [français]

Our English friends of the BSC, like our American friends of the ASC, have an annual ritual which is unfamiliar to us, an awarding ceremony or “Awards”, celebrating the talents and the glory of the cinematography.

These events are held in summer for the first ones : as part of a Summer Luncheon, in the ballroom at Pinewood Studios, and in winter, a few weeks before the Oscar ceremony, in a huge ballroom, the Ray Dolby, in Hollywood, for our American colleagues. In the wake of the Carte Blanche that had been offered to them, in Paris, at the 2018 AFC Micro Salon, ASC President Kees van Oostrum, who had not been able to be present in Paris, invited me to the 32nd ASC Awards ceremony. So I arrived with my suitcase at his Los Angeles home on Wednesday February the 14th, in the evening, after an eighteen hours trip (twelve hours flight).

The ASC Awards, orchestrated masterfully by Don McCuaig ASC, is not an event aimed only at maintaining the spirit of conviviality, but a huge show bringing together many actors from the world of the cinematographic industry. It is a Dinner gathering 1550 attendees around more than a hundred tables. The equivalent of the assistance of a full Friday at the AFC Micro Salon. Impressive. There is almost everyone.
Arri came in force around Dr. Jörg Pohlman, the general manager of the Arri Group, flying from Germany via a stop in Beijing. There was also the whole fantastic team of Camerimage, coming on the heels of their 8th Winners Show held a few days before at the American Film Institute. Kazik took the opportunity to thank the AFC warmly, for the compilation of interviews and articles made during the last Festival Camerimage that we sent to them, early this year, with our Holidays greetings.

The ASC Awards ritual lasts several days and begins on Thursday morning, with a presentation breakfast gathering the sponsors of the event and all the members of the organizing committee. It takes place at the Club House, the headquarters of the ASC in Hollywood.
In its little plexiglas sarcophagus, the No. 2 Mitchell BNC with which Gregg Toland shot Citizen Kane, and which has just been offered to the ASC, is now enthroned in the lobby.

Gregg Toland, Orson Wells et le Mitchell BNC 2
Le BNC 2 en vitrine

At the door of the American Cinematographer’s magazine office, I met Emmanuel "Chivo" Lubezki, ASC, AMC who was trying out the new T-shirt printed with the image of this famous "N° 2" he was going to wear under his tuxedo jacket during the ceremony where he will give an award in the "theatrical release" teaming up with his buddy : Matty Labatique, ASC. The first thing he said to me was, "Will Bruno come ?" ; during these two days of "prep" he will not be the only one to ask me this question. At this moment, I did not have the answer. Then we talked about shoes and back pain, he showed me his insoles, I could boast my french “Paraboots” which he said he appreciate the comfort but obviously less the look.

Emmanuel "Chivo" Lubezki et Matthew Libatique

We quickly deviated to the HDR, when I reminded him of the screening of The Revenant he had proposed and commented in 2016 at the Dolby Theater, he is a true fan of Dolby Vision. Simple and nice discussion with a multi-Oscar winner who did not become big-headed.
The sun was beating hard, I inherited an ASC cap to protect my nose. In the evening the local "AFC, ASC" organized a very nice "welcome" meal at Glynn Speeckaert’s ; Edu his companion had prepared a superb paella and Denis Lenoir brought an excellent home made cocktail. Kees having joined us, we were able to discuss the specificities of our associations and by the way, Denis asked me why we would not organize AFC Awards ? Yes it would not be a bad idea. It may be necessary to think about it ? An opportunity to party with our partners.

Friday night, “Nominees dinner”. There are only few selected guests with the nominees of the eleven Prizes that will be awarded ; Patricia Armacost called "Patty" the great organizer of the events for the ASC kindly accepted I attend the party...

Le dîner des nommés

Bruno Delbonnel, AFC, ASC, who is nominated for Darkest Hours has just arrived from the airport. He will make the round trip on this occasion and will fly back on Sunday to Paris. I have noticed once again that he is very popular and appreciated in the assembly and I understand why. He joins Hoyte van Hoytema’s, NSC, FSF, ASC nominated for Dunkirk and Rachel Morisson, ASC, nominated for Mudbound. This famous Rachel whom we had waited so long for in Paris for the ASC Carte Blanche. We talk about life, I took the opportunity to make a small selfie with her.
At the table, my neighbor was Rodney Charters, ASC, very "jet-lagged" but delighted with his stay in Paris for the ASC Carte Blanche, a new big fan of the micro salon that closely followed all the screenings of the large sensor camera tests presented on this occasion by members of the AFC, he enjoyed the “studio atmosphere” of The Fémis and the very friendly small Parisian cafes in the area around. And he did not fail to make all that known to our table neighbors.

Bruno Delbonnel et Richard Andry
Hoyte Van Hoytema
Richard Andry et Rachel Morisson

Panavision, in the persons of Kim Swyler and Hugh Wittaker, was very present near the nominees. As well as Kodak. President Kees van Oostrum in his presentation does not forget to call me as a guest of honor from France to represent the AFC and will never forget, in public, to quote us as a well-respected sister society very close to the ASC. He is really great.

Ellen Kuras et Kees Van Oostrum

Finally, the big night. An animated but disciplined crowd, in evening dresses, joins the "Grand Ballroom" and takes place around the tables. Let the show begin : Angelina Jolie, Stephen Lighthill, ASC, Russell Boyd, ACS, ASC and Russell Carpenter, ASC, received an Honor Award ; Owen Roizman, ASC, a moving homage and standing ovation for his Oscar. Thus the rewards follow one another. Roger Deakins, BSC, ASC, absent but represented by his wife, is rewarded for the cinematography of Blade Runner2049.

Angelina Jolie
Stephen Lighthill et Don McCuaig

After the ceremony, the party went on, less formally, in the gardens of the ASC Club House, where still about eight hundred people gathered at the sound of Salsa around a Tex-Mex buffet. It will end late but without me and without a number of jet-lagged Europeans than I can see dizzy, glued to their smartphone waiting for an Uber that does not arrive. Like me.

Dans le jardin du Club-House

The ASC knows how to organize a great and successful ceremony. Congratulations. Thank you President Kees. Cheers !

Read the article on ASC website.

All photographs by Richard Andry