To virtually nobody’s surprise in the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland, Emmanuel Lubezki claimed the top prize at the 28th Annual ASC Awards on Saturday night for his cinematography on “Gravity.” The Alfonso Cuaron-directed drama, shot mostly in digital on Arri Alexa cameras, marked the first time a 3D film took the feature film prize from the 95-year-old, 300-member organization. It was also the third ASC win for the Mexican-born d.p., following previous awards for “Children of Men” (2006) and “Tree of Life” (2011).
Lubezki, who is also nominated for an Oscar by the Academy — which has agreed with with the ASC’s choices 10 out of the last 27 years — also lit the film’s considerable CGI imagery, a technical achievement that might have helped in his favor (visual effects were supervised by Tim Webber). The visuals also benefited from a lightbox lined with some 4,000 LED bulbs that projected images of space sometimes reflected in the shots.
In other developments, the inaugural Spotlight Award, introduced to the proceedings for “non-mainstream” films (as in art-house and foreign-language fare), went to Ryszard Lenczewski and Lukasz Zal for the b&w “Ida,” from Poland; Blake McClure (“Drunk History”) for half-hour series/pilot; Jeremy Benning (“Killing Lincoln”) for motion picture/miniseries TV; and Jonathan Freeman (“Game of Thrones”) for one-hour episodic series/pilot.
Honorary awards went to Richard Rawlings Jr. for career achievement in television; writer-director-producer John Wells (Board of Governors); and Beverly Wood (Bud Stone Heritage Award, for the org’s biggest booster); among others.
Edward Zwick accepted the International Award on behalf of Eduardo Serra (“Girl With a Pearl Earring,” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”).
And Dean Cundey (“Back to the Future,” “Jurassic Park”), who achieved Brahmin status as the year’s Lifetime Achievement honoree, accepted his kudo from a frequent early collaborator, John Carpenter. He thanked Carpenter for wanting to use his discipline for advancing a movie’s story rather than capturing “partially clad women with machine guns.”
Not ready to be perceived as having his best years behind him, the 28-year ASC member preferred to view the kudo as a “semi-lifetime achievement award.”