ASC top honors go to 'Geisha,' 'Warm Springs'

Dion Beebe walked away with top honors Sunday night for his lensing of “Memoirs of a Geisha” at the American Society of Cinematographers’ Outstanding Achievement Awards gala, held at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel.

Beebe, who is a member of both the ASC and its sister organization, the Australian Cinematographers Society, is in Oscar contention for “Geisha,” although the ASC and the Academy have agreed only six times since the lensers org started handing out awards 20 years ago.

Beebe, an ASC member for two years, is representative of the org’s increasingly international profile. Last year, France’s Bruno Delbonnel (“A Very Long Engagement”) was the first non-member d.p. to receive the ASC feature honor.

Beebe also won the BAFTA lensing award Feb. 19.

“It’s really quite extraordinary how many international members the society does have,” Beebe said before the ceremony. “As an outsider, it’s really encouraging to be welcomed.”

In the television categories, Robbie Greenberg won for HBO original “Warm Springs,” while Nathan Hope took the episodic laurel for “Who Shot Sherlock?” from CBS’ “CSI.”

In keeping with the 20th-anniversary spirit of the occasion, the event began with an homage to past ASC lifetime achievement honorees, with nine present in the audience, including this year’s recipient, Richard Kline.

Not present was 91-year-old Brit lenser Gilbert Taylor (“A Hard Day’s Night,” “Dr. Strangelove”), the international achievement honoree.

Other special tributes were presented to director Sydney Pollack (board of governors award), d.p. Woody Omens (presidents’ award) and docu filmmaker Frederick Wiseman (award of distinction).

With nearly 1,600 people in attendance, celebrity presenters included Nicole Kidman, Curtis Hanson, Emily Deschanel, Bill Paxton and Edward James Olmos, who, in presenting the TV movie award to Greenberg, said, “Great cinematography isn’t necessarily something you see; it’s something you feel on a subconscious level.”

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