Clint Eastwood knows how to play to an audience.
When he appeared Sunday at the Society of Operating Cameramen’s 10th Lifetime Achievement Awards to honor cinematographer Jack Green — with whom he’s worked on more than two dozen films — Eastwood made sure the entire crowd got a little glory.
“Everyone in Hollywood thinks their job is the most important,” he said, pausing for effect before the roomful of camera operators and crews. “But we know this is the most important. The kings of the world know that — even the queens of the world do.”
Eastwood’s association with Green dates back to “Play Misty for Me” (1971). His current project, “True Crime,” is their 27th film together, and Green’s 11th as his director of photography. Green, who also shot “Twister” and “Speed 2,” was one of the founding members of the Society of Operating Cameramen in 1981, an organization set up, he told the audience at the Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey, “to establish more respect for the position of operating cameraman.”
The SOC’s Board of Governors’ Award went to director Ron Howard, who also made the right noises for the camera people, calling them the “least pretentious, most can-do individuals on a film.” Howard said that when he was a child actor, it was a camera operator who first let him look through a lens and see the world from a different perspective.
“It seems a little strange to be getting a lifetime achievement award at this point,” said Howard, who is 43. “I hope I still have a ways to go.”
The SOC also conferred awards on camera operators John Lee, Vaughn Wilkins and Garrett Brown; still photographer Elliott Marks; camera assistant Cal Roberts; and to the late mobile platform camera operator James Buck.
“I’m very happy to be part of an event that honors people behind the camera,” said actress Christine Baranski, presenting Buck’s award to his brother Larry. “At this time of year, we’re pretty sick of events that honor people in front of the camera.”