×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Owen Roizman Followed Family Footsteps for Legendary Hollywood Career

If Owen Roizman had lived his childhood dream, he would have played baseball. Rather than keeping his eye on the literal ball, he focused on camera work instead — a decision that paid off with five Academy Award nominations for cinematography on “The French Connection,” “The Exorcist,” “Network,” “Tootsie” and “Wyatt Earp.” On Nov. 11, he’ll receive a Governors Award in recognition of his accomplishments.

Roizman’s father, Sol, had been a cameraman for Fox MovieTone News, but Owen hadn’t initially planned to follow in his father’s footsteps.

“When I went to school, I was best in math and physics, but when I went to job interviews my senior year and asked how much money I could make [in those fields], it wasn’t very exciting,” he says. “So I asked my father how much I could make as an assistant cameraman, and it was a lot more than a physicist or a mathematician, so I figured, ‘I’m going for the money!’”

Once in Hollywood, however, it quickly became evident that Roizman wasn’t in it just for the money: he was in it to deliver the best possible work.

“Not only do I applaud Owen’s expertise, but I think he’s an artist,” says Dustin Hoffman, who worked with Roizman on “Straight Time” and “Tootsie.”

Prior to starting “Tootsie,” Hoffman had been unhappy that they hadn’t conquered the makeup problem that left his beard shadow still slightly visible when he was in the guise of his female alter ego, soap opera actress Dorothy Michaels. Early in filming, director Sydney Pollack assured him that the problem would be solved when the film was color-corrected.

“I asked Owen, ‘What do you think? Is it because of color correction?’” says Hoffman. “And he said, ‘No. I think it’s a problem.’ This was in front of Sydney. And I don’t think Sydney liked hearing that. But that was Owen’s feeling, and I believed him, so I said, ‘I’m gonna stop shooting. Tell Columbia that we cannot resume until we’ve solved this problem.’ It was a tough moment, but Owen told the truth as he saw it. I think without him I probably would’ve shelved the picture.”

There were clearly no hard feelings on Pollack’s part: he secured Roizman to serve as his cinematographer on the 1990 film “Havana.”

“If you end up doing more than one picture with a director, it’s usually a good relationship,” says Roizman. “I made lifelong friends with a lot of those directors. Out of everything, that was the most gratifying.”

More Film

  • Chris Pratt Tom Holland Julia Louis-Dreyfus

    Chris Pratt, Tom Holland, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Octavia Spencer to Voice Pixar's 'Onward'

    Chris Pratt, Tom Holland, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Octavia Spencer are leading the voice cast for “Onward,” Pixar’s next original movie. Pixar had previously referred to the film as an untitled suburban fantasy. Dan Scanlon, who helmed 2013’s “Monsters University” for Pixar, is directing “Onward.” He’s re-teamed with producer Kori Rae, who also produced “Monsters University.” [...]

  • Steve Carell Welcome to Marwen

    Steve Carell on New Film 'Welcome to Marwen' and Reprising His 'Anchorman' Character

    In 2000, Mark Hogancamp was nearly beaten to death by five men outside of a bar. Left with brain damage and little money to afford therapy, Hogancamp began creating miniature doll versions of himself, his friends, and his attackers as a way to cope. This true story inspired the 2010 documentary “Marwencol” and the upcoming [...]

  • Maniac

    Emma Stone, Darren Criss and More React to SAG Award Nominations

    The nominations for the 25th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards were revealed on Wednesday morning, and “A Star Is Born” commanded the list with four noms alongside TV series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “Ozark.” The awards recognize acting and ensemble performances across television and film, and this year, plenty of performers will be competing [...]

  • Sterling K Brown The Fence

    Sterling K. Brown to Star in Fox Searchlight's 'The Fence' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Following his SAG nomination for actor in a drama series, Sterling K. Brown is in negotiations to star in Fox Searchlight’s biopic “The Fence,” sources tell Variety. Peter Nicks is on board to direct. George Pelecanos and Dennis Lehane, who originally brought the book to HBO before it landed at Searchlight, teamed up to adapt [...]

  • Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER..L to R:

    Ryan Coogler on How 'Black Panther' Broke Barriers Below-the-Line, Too

    With more than $1.3 billion at the global box office, “Black Panther” was one of the year’s biggest hits. Though some people expected just another superhero film, the project turned out to be much deeper and more complex than that. Many called it a social turning point because it was the first blockbuster with a [...]

  • Biggest Box Office Hits of 2018

    The Biggest Box Office Hits and Flops of 2018

    It was the revival nobody saw coming. After a dismal 2017, in which the North American box office tumbled to a three-year low, moviegoing rebounded in a big way. And it wasn’t just superhero tentpoles and animated adventures raking in the green. With all due respect to “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” [...]

  • If Beale Street Could Talk Sharp

    Golden Globes: Amy Adams, Regina King Lead List of Crossover Nominees

    In the age of peak TV, actors, writers, directors and producers, and subsequently their managers and agents, are open for business in any medium, and that new attitude shows in awards nominations, especially when it comes to the Golden Globe acting fields. Amy Adams and Regina King scored nominations in both film and TV categories [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content