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ASC lifetime achievement: Butler did it

Lenser has worked with Spielberg, Coppola, Kaufman

Bill Butler, the cinematographer who lensed such blockbusters as “Jaws” and “Grease,” has been tapped to receive the ASC’s lifetime achievement award.

Butler will be feted during the 17th annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards Feb. 13 at the Century Plaza Hotel.

Previous winners include Haskell Wexler, Conrad Hall, Gordon Willis, Sven Nykvist and Vittorio Storaro.

The 71-year-old Butler, who shared an Oscar nomination with Wexler for shooting “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and won Emmys for “Streetcar Named Desire” and “Raid on Entebbe,” has compiled some 70 narrative credits.

Besides working with directors like Steven Spielberg, Butler has lensed for Francis Ford Coppola (“The Rain People,” “The Conversation”) and Philip Kaufman (“Fearless Frank”) and did Jack Nicholson’s 1971 directorial debut, “Drive, He Said.” Recent credits include “Frailty,” directed by Bill Paxton.

“Bill Butler has extraordinary talent and the unrelenting determination that is necessary to succeed in making important films,” said Owen Roizman, chairman of the Outstanding Achievements Awards Committee and fellow lifetime achievement recipient.

If certain cinematographers are known for a particular style, Butler might be considered a rather eclectic craftsman, able to adapt to myriad scales, stories and tones. He’s distinguished by an array of blockbusters: Eight of his films have broken through the $100 million barrier at the box office.

Other Butler credits include HBO’s “Don King: Only in America”; telefilm “The Execution of Private Slovik”; and miniseries “The Thorn Birds.”

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