Dean Semler receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Roger Deakins took the top prize for his lensing of “Skyfall” at the 27th Annual American Society of Cinematographers Awards for Outstanding Achievement on Sunday night in the Grand Ballroom of Hollywood & Highland. It was Deakins’ third win from the organization, which bestowed its Lifetime Achievement Award to the Brit d.p. in 2011, and the first time a Bond film received such a distinction from the ASC or the Academy, which also nominated Deakins this past year for the 23th installment of the 007 franchise.

In the previous 26 years the ASC has been handing out awards, the Society has agreed with the Academy on the year’s best feature d.p. 10 times, a less than 40% success rate. Of the two orgs’ five nominees this year, the Acad differed from the ASC in once instance, favoring three-time Oscar winner Robert Richardson (“Django Unchained”) to ASC finalist Danny Cohen (“Les Misérables”). Also nabbing awards were Bradford Lipson for FX’s Wilfred (“Truth”) in the half-hour episodic series category; Florian Hoffmeister for the PBS’ “Great Expectations” in television movie/miniseries and not one but two winners in one-hour episodic television series:

Balazs Bolygo for Cinemax’s “Hunted” (“Mort”) and Kramer Morgenthau for HBO’s “Game of Thrones” (“The North Remembers”).

Receiving honorary awards were Aussie d.p. Dean Semler (“Dances with Wolves,” “Apocalypto”), who was given the ASC’s Lifetime Achievement Award by Angelina Jolie and left nobody out in his thanks from camera operators to grips to clappers; and Robby Müller, the Dutch master behind such films as “Paris, Texas” and “Dancer in the Dark” who was given the org’s International Achievement Award by actress Nastassja Kinski and director Steve McQueen.

In a tribute film to Müller, frequent collaborator Wim Wenders spoke of Müller’s affinity for the American painter Edward Hopper, and nominated d.p. Seamus McGarvey hailed the d.p.s “deceptive simplicity.”

Also honored for their body of work were Rodney Charters (Career Achievement in Television Award), who spoke longingly of the time when he could “listen to film chatter through the gate,” and Curtis Clark (President’s Award), who remains committed to the challengers “both chemical and digital.”

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