ASC deems Omens presidential

Presidents Award recipient hopes kudo will aid fund-raising mission

A quick glance at Sherwood “Woody” Omens’ resume reveals a deceptively selective list of credits. He cut his teeth as a d.p. in television before working with two celebrated bigscreen funnymen: multihyphenate Mel Brooks on “History of the World — Part I”; and B.O. kingpin Eddie Murphy on a trio of films that began with 1998’s “Coming to America” and ended with 1992’s “Harlem Nights.” The credits appear to end there, but not the work.

Omens, as anyone who’s met him will attest, radiates warmth and civility, which makes him a born educator and mentor. His d.p. resume would no doubt be longer had he not decided to dedicate himself to teaching, and it’s this selflessness that has earned him the ASC’s President’s Award.

“He’s an excellent teacher, and he built a marvelous department at USC,” says William Fraker, who, in 1988, was asked by Omens — already a part-time teacher at USC — to help find a new head for the school’s cinematography program. Owens ended up in the position himself.

“When he asked me to join the department (in 1988), I was too busy, or anyway, that’s how I felt at the time,” says Fraker. “But looking back, I was wrong. Now that I’m teaching, it’s wonderful to see what students take from your experience. Woody knew that long before I did and has received great gratification. But let’s not forget, he’s also an excellent cinematographer and could have done many more features if he had chosen to.”

Omens, now a professor emeritus, says he “always felt my students could do more with what I know than I could myself, and I’m very happy with that choice.”

Omens hopes the Presidents Award will help promote his newest educational mission: fund-raising to build the ASC’s proposed Art, Technology and Education Center.

“The center is my dream, and I’m hoping recognition from this award will give me more credibility as a fund-raiser,” he says. “(The center) will have a screening room of 150 seats — a lecture hall that ASC cinematographers can use to mentor new cinematographers, and that’s very important.”

More Scene

  • Marianne Rendon, Matt Smith, Ondi Timoner

    Robert Mapplethorpe Biopic Team Talks 'Fast and Furious' Filming

    Thursday night’s New York premiere of the Matt Smith-led biopic “Mapplethorpe” took place at Cinépolis Chelsea, just steps from the Chelsea Hotel where the late photographer Robert Mapplethorpe once lived — but director Ondi Timoner had no sense of that legacy when she first encountered him in a very different context. “When I was ten [...]

  • Producer Mel Jones poses at the

    'Dear White People' Producer Talks Hollywood's 'Black Tax'

    “Dear White People” and “Leimert Park” executive producer Mel Jones is extremely familiar with growing up and watching “white men in all types of roles and never [seeing] ourselves as a part of those narratives.” Now, there may be some more opportunities for writers of color to tell their own stories, but, she notes, there [...]

  • Rebel Wilson Isn't It Romantic

    Rebel Wilson on Twitter Gaffe: 'It Was Purely to Lift My Fellow Plus-Size Women Up'

    “I obviously misspoke in that situation,” Rebel Wilson told Variety at the premiere of her latest film “Isn’t It Romantic” Monday, acknowledging the gaffe in which she claimed to be the first-ever plus-sized woman to star in a romantic comedy during an October appearance on “Ellen.” Following the comment, Wilson was met with criticism from Twitter [...]


    How Lena Waithe Convinced Halle Berry to Team Up for 'Boomerang' TV Series

    Halle Berry wasn’t immediately sold on the idea of a “Boomerang” reboot. The 1992 romantic comedy, which starred Berry, Eddie Murphy, and Robin Givens, told the tale of cocky ad executive and insatiable ladies’ man Marcus (Murphy) who meets his match in his new boss Jacqueline (Givens) — an exec who treats him the same [...]

  • Rebel Wilson and Miley Cyrus'Isn't it

    Why Liam Hemsworth Wasn't at His 'Isn't It Romantic' Premiere, but Wife Miley Cyrus Was

    Liam Hemsworth had every intention of bringing his wife, Miley Cyrus, to Monday’s premiere of his new romantic comedy “Isn’t It Romantic.” However, the Aussie actor was forced to skip the evening because of some “health things.” That didn’t stop Cyrus from attended the red carpet shindig at the Theater at the Ace Hotel in downtown [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content