The American Society of Cinematographers has named its nominees for the 29th Annual Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography Awards. The winners will be given their statuettes on February 15, during a ceremony in Los Angeles.
“Our members had a very difficult time choosing these nominees from such an incredible field of submissions,” said ASC president Richard Crudo. “They have done superlative work in a very challenging medium, and we salute them.”
The nominees for Episode of a Regular Series are: P.J. Dillon for Vikings, “Blood Eagle” (History); Jonathan Freeman, ASC, for Boardwalk Empire, “Golden Days for Boys and Girls” (HBO); Anette Haellmigk for Game of Thrones, “The Children” (HBO); Christopher Norr for Gotham, “Spirit of the Goat” (Fox); Richard Rutkowski for Manhattan, “Perestroika” (WGN America); Fabian Wagner for Game of Thrones, “Mockingbird” (HBO).
Game of Thrones’ Anette Haellmigk says, “I’m thrilled beyond words at being nominated again. It’s a great reward for the hard work that the crew and I put into the show.”
How did she choose the scenes she sent in for judging? “I submitted clips that demonstrated a variety of shots that highlight great composition and lighting – the essence of cinematography. The show allows us to be courageous, and in ‘The Children,’ we were able to explore the depths of visual storytelling to communicate the moods and emotions of the characters. Capturing the intensity of the vast landscape of the locations was also a key objective of the visuals for us.” The final color was done at Modern VideoFilm and she offers a shout-out to colorist Joe Finley.
According to Gotham’s Chris Norr, “The primary scene I submitted to the ASC is a flashback when Bullock and a partner from the past chase a villain into an abandoned theater where they discover an altar with a woman’s body on display. It’s spooky, full of light shafts and shadows, and it features graphic wide shots and wide lens close-ups capturing the massive ornate architecture. It’s basically a modern film noir.
“With graphic novels serving as inspiration, the aesthetic of the show caters to great cinematography. Everything in Gotham is always gloomy, wet, steamy, dark or foggy. I feel like there is nothing else like it on television. TV tends to follow the leader and this is clearly very different. I had the opportunity to push the boundaries and do something bold, which the Gotham team not only supports, but also encourages. We use Deluxe for post, and my dailies colorist is John Bonta.”
The nominees for Television Movie, Miniseries or Pilot are: David Greene, CSC for the TV movie The Trip to Bountiful (Lifetime); John Lindley, ASC, for the Manhattan pilot (WGN America); David Stockton, ASC for the Gotham pilot (Fox); Theo Van de Sande, ASC, for the TV movie Deliverance Creek (Lifetime).
Says Manhattan’s John Lindley, “Cinematography awards are always a result of the coalescence of good actors, well-designed sets, wardrobe, and hair and make-up, and this is especially true of period pieces that get recognition. Equally important is the support of a director who believes stories are told with images as well as words. And a dedicated colorist and a talented crew are essential. The show I worked on was blessed by having all those elements.”
What about the clip he submitted? “The opening scene of my pilot was a wordless sequence of the show’s main character hitting golf balls into a desert void at night during a dust storm. The dust obscures the images and draws the viewer in the way a stage whisper makes an audience listen more carefully to what is being said. I’m pleased with the affect that scene has on the viewer.”
The colorist was Encore’s Pankaj Bajpai. “He is brilliant, dedicated and most importantly, creative,” adds Lindley. “I have worked with him several times and hope to again.”
Theo van de Sande was the DP on Lifetime’s Deliverance Creek. He reports that after more than 25 years of working in the US, this show was his first period piece. “In Europe, I was more or less ‘specialized’ in period films of all different eras. I’ve always liked period films, because visually you have to bring a world to life that nobody is familiar with — especially before 1900 because nobody alive has lived it! So, visually you are very free.
“In ‘the world’ of Deliverance Creek I wanted to use a lot of different moods to keep it visually interesting, and I wanted to apply techniques I had developed during the years in more urban films. I tried to create atmospheres with some bold colors — unusual for the limited palette you have in a period film — then I desaturated the overall look almost 40 percent in order to have these colors blend to a ‘period’ consistency and still be diverse color-wise.”
In terms of his clips, he feels he was able to select a few different moods while still showing a strong unity in style and vast scope. “They included desaturated HMI/steel blue hues for the night exteriors, deep golden ‘low key’ interior atmosphere from oil lamp sources, and moody day interiors for a lack of artificial light due to small windows (we shot in historical interiors). All this has a real period feel to it, but doesn’t lose color. I am truly proud of it!”
FotoKem colorist John Daro, worked with van de Sande from stills he had already timed in Lightroom using the LUTs created during the show. “This gave us more time during the limited DI session to do other image manipulations that we planned from the beginning.”
This is Jonathan Freeman’s eighth nomination. He has won four ASC Awards for Game of Thrones (2014), Boardwalk Empire (2012, 2011) and Homeland Security (2005), with additional noms for Taken (2003), Strange Justice (2000) and Prince Street (1998).
Stockton previously won for his work on Eleventh Hour (2009) and earned nominations for the Alcatraz pilot (2013), Chase (2012), and the Nikita pilot (2011).
Also receiving prior noms are Greene for Beauty and the Beast (2014), Haellmigk for Game of Thrones (2014) and Lindley for Pan Am (2012).
Dillon, Norr, Rutkowski, Van de Sande and Wagner are first-time nominees.
HBO’s Game of Thrones is our main photo.