the ASC Awards in the rearview mirror – my intro to the Spotlight Award (comments on the state of the awards in general)

It’s my great pleasure to present the third annual ASC Spotlight Award.

What really thrills me about the Spotlight award is that it is a recognition of exceptional cinematography that is so often overlooked by the awards (PR) machines. It isn’t necessarily a film in a foreign language, studio or independent production or even a narrative work. It is about a film using the language of cinematography. Images that speak with a certain power or subtlety that takes the viewer deeper into the experience.

Because everyone on the panel who deliberated and chose these final three films from the many submissions, and every ASC member who voted on the finalists, were required to view each and every one of them there is a real meaning to the recipient of the Spotlight award. It is truly a recognition of exceptional work.

What these all have in common is that they were created by cinematographers with a point of view, an attitude and a collaboration with a director to go beyond the ordinary. These were all photographed using cameras, lights, sets, locations and people, not animation or CGI, and they become truly a ‘whole much greater than the sum of it’s parts’.

As in the past two years with “Ida” and “Concrete Night” we are celebrating what I believe to be the purest form of cinematographic art.

This is not a “best” award because I believe that there is no “best” in art. Art is so subjective that it depends as much upon the viewer as it  does upon its creator to form the experience. This is a celebration of cinematography that speaks to the viewer in a special way.

Here are the nominees.

“Beasts of No Nation”, “Macbeth”, “Son of Saul”.

Post Script- there was an unprecedented tie for the Spotlight Award. Both “Macbeth” and “Son of Saul” were recognized with awards. “Beasts of No Nation” was honorably mentioned.

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