Roger Deakins became the first cinematographer to garner two nominations for features in the same year from the American Society of Cinematographers on Monday. He was cited for his lensing of the Coen’s brothers’ “No Country for Old Men,” as well as his lyrical work on Andrew Dominik’s “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.”
Because of the double nomination, the Brit lenser will be facing off with only three other d.p.’s: Robert Elswit (“There Will Be Blood”), Janusz Kaminski (“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”) and Seamus McGarvey (“Atonement”).
Deakins, who also lensed “In the Valley of Elah,” has been nominated five times previous by the ASC, and won for “The Shawshank Redemption” and “The Man Who Wasn’t There.” (He is also a five-time Oscar nominee, but a braidesmaid in each case.) In an interview with Daily Variety recently, Deakins described his work on “No Country” as “poetic realism” and cited such films as “Days of Heaven” and “Heaven’s Gate” as two of the many visual references on “Jesse James.”
Elswit, the sole American of the bunch, also has enjoyed a banner year, having also shot “Michael Clayton.” He has previously been nominated by the ASC and the Academy for his work on “Good Night and Good Luck.” More recently, the New York Film Critics Circle bestowed its cinematography award to Elswit for “Blood,” as did the National Society of Film Critics.
Kaminski, who has won two Oscars for his epic work with Steven Spielberg (“Schindler’s List” and “Saving Private Ryan”) went very intimate on “Diving Bell,” which is largely told from the viewpoint of a man deprived of all motor functions save for his left eyelid. The Polish-born d.p., nominated three times previously by the ASC, told Daily Variety that “this story, right from the beginning, permits a very unconventional approach because we’re looking at the movie from the perspective of a man with locked-in syndrome.”
Kaminski just recently won the Golden Frog for best feature work on “Diving Bell” at the Camerimage Film Fest in Lodz, Poland, which is devoted solely to the art of cinematography.
The ASC nod reps the first major nomination for the Irish d.p. McGarvey, whose credits include “World Trade Center” and “The Hours.” The 5 ½-minute tracking shot depicting the evacuation of Dunkirk in “Atonement” has already received its share of cinephile accolades. The sequence was originally planned as a series of short scenes, but McGarvey said he and director Joe Wright “realized how much we had to shoot in those two days” and decided instead to combine all the complicated logistics into one long take.
Winners will be announced Jan. 26 at the Hollywood and Highland Grand Ballroom.