'Gangs,' 'Pianist,' 'Heaven,' 'Frida' among contenders

The American Society of Cinematographers has nominated the late Conrad Hall for its outstanding achievement award for his work on “Road to Perdition.”

It’s Hall’s fifth nomination.

The ASC also tapped a quartet of first-time nominees — Michael Ballhaus (“Gangs of New York”) Pawel Edelman (“The Pianist”), Ed Lachman (“Far From Heaven”) and Rodrigo Prieto (“Frida”).

Winner will be named Feb. 16 at the 17th annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards gala at the Century Plaza Hotel.

Oscar for ‘Beauty’

Hall, who died Jan. 4, won ASC awards for “American Beauty,” “Tequila Sunrise” and “Searching for Bobby Fischer” and received a nomination for “Love Affair.” He took home the cinematography Oscar for “American Beauty.”

“The truth is that there is no easy or exact way to judge artistic achievements in cinematography, because it is a subjective and collaborative art form,” said Owen Roizman, chairman of the awards committee. “These five amazingly talented artists were selected by their peers in ASC based on how effectively their images tell stories.”

Reliable predictor

The ASC nominations have been a reliable indicator of Academy Awards noms in the cinematography category, with matches of nearly 90%. There are 210 ASC members, while the cinematographers branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has 177 voting members.

Four of the past seven ASC winners also took home Oscars, including Hall, Russell Carpenter for “Titanic,” John Seale for “The English Patient” and John Toll for “Braveheart.” Roger Deakins won last year’s ASC award for “The Man Who Wasn’t There,” while Andrew Lesnie took the Oscar for “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.”

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