Digital makes inroads with two noms in the category

For only the second time in its 26 years of handing out awards, the American Society of Cinematographers nominated two directors of photography who shot their films entirely on digital: Robert Richardson, whose photography on “Hugo” using the ARRI Alexa also reps the second 3D inclusion in the category after “Avatar,” and Jeff Cronenweth, who used the RED EPIC in shooting David Fincher’s remake of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”

The ASC, whose 300, invitation-only members have always been strong proponents of film as the superior visual format, also nominated “The Tree of Life’s” Emmanuel Lubezki, whose photography on the Terrence Malick film has dominated the critics organizations d.p. winners so far, as well as Hoyt Van Hoytema for Tomas Alfredson’s “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” and Guillaume Schiffman’s b&w cinematography for Michel Hazanavicius’ “The Artist.”

The winner will be announced at the ASC Awards presentation at the Hollywood and Highland Grand Ballroom on Feb. 12.

“These five cinematographers have created works of art that serve the story and the director’s vision in unique and engaging ways,” said ASC awards commitee chair Richard Crudo in a statement.

In 2008, the ADC’s nominees included “Slumdog Millionaire” (Anthony Dod Mantle) and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Claudio Miranda), both digitally shot.

Regarding Schiffman’s work, it’s worth noting that two out of the last three nominees for b&w cinematography — Christian Berger for “The White Ribbon” and Roger Deakins for “The Man Who Wasn’t There” — went on to win the award.

“Hugo” represents Richardson’s 10 nom by the org, while Cronenweth was recognized last year for “The Social Network” and Lubezki won in 2007 for “Children of Men.” Schiffman and Van Hoytema are first-time nominees.

Since the ASC inaugurated its awards ceremony in 1986 when Cronenweth’s father, Jordan, won for “Peggy Sue Got Married,” the d.p. org’s winners and those of the Academy have overlapped 10 times, including four of the last six years. And only twice in that span of time has the Oscar winner not been nominated by the ASC.

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