Dion Beebe, ASC, ACS and Paul Cameron for COLLATERAL, Caleb Deschanel, ASC for THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, Bruno Delbonnel, AFC for A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT, Pawel Edelman, PSC for RAY and Robert Richardson, ASC for THE AVIATOR are the finalists in the feature film category of the 19th Annual American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Outstanding Achievement Awards competition. The winner will be named at the organization’s awards gala here on February 13 at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland.

“The six finalists were nominated by their peers who believe their artful cinematography made vital contributions to compelling motion pictures,” says Owen Roizman, ASC, who chairs the organization’s awards committee. “It wasn’t an easy decision because many other cinematographers demonstrated an extraordinary range of talent that contributed to the successes of a diverse range of films in 2004.”

Roizman notes there is no textbook formula for artful cinematography. The six finalists were nominated for different types of films, set in different places and periods. Themes ranged from drama and romance to biographical. The nominees are from France, Poland and Australia as well as the United States.

“Cinematography is both a subjective and collaborative form of artistic _expression,” Roizman says. “Each of the nominees succeeded in creating a sense of time and place that was appropriate for their stories. All of them created images that amplified moods and performances in ways that were transparent to audiences and consistent with the intentions of the scripts and the directors who were their collaborators.”

Deschanel is the only previous recipient of an ASC Outstanding Achievement Award. He took top honors in 2000 for THE PATRIOT, and earned another nomination for FLY AWAY HOME in 1997. Richardson was previously nominated for BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY, JFK, A FEW GOOD MEN, HEAVEN & EARTH, THE HORSE WHISPERER and SNOW FALLING ON CEDARS. Delbonnel was previously nominated for AMELIE and Edelman for THE PIANIST. COLLATERAL marks the first ASC nomination for both Beebe and Cameron.

“The ASC Outstanding Achievement awards were inaugurated in 1986 for the purpose of recognizing and inspiring the pursuit and achievement of artistic excellence,” says ASC President Richard Crudo. “Our members believed it was important to have a forum where the achievements of cinematographers are evaluated by their peers who are able to recognize visual nuances that are designed to be transparent to audiences. Many people equate artful cinematography with beautiful images but that isn’t necessarily true. Great cinematography can also be dark, ugly or simply realistic. Our members judged whether the images evoked appropriate emotional responses for the stories.”

ASC is one of the oldest existing organizations in the motion picture industry. It was founded by 15 charter members in January 1919. The organization provided a forum where the first generation of cinematographers could share ideas about their art and craft. It was also a platform for advocating progress. Membership has always been by invitation based primarily on the individual’s body of work. There are 275 active members of ASC today who trace their roots to some 20 countries. There are also 140 associate members in ancillary sectors of the motion picture industry that support the art and craft of filmmaking.

For more info, visit the ASC website.

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