Cinematographers Pick a Top 5: ‘Arrival,’ ‘La La Land,’ ‘Lion,’ ‘Moonlight’ and ‘Silence’

Four of the five cinematographers nominated by the ASC are first-timers, and none of the five has ever won

“La La Land,” “Moonlight,” “Silence,” “Lion” and “Arrival” have been nominated by the American Society of Cinematographers as the best achievements in cinematography in 2016, the ASC announced at a luncheon in Hollywood on Wednesday.

The five films have to be considered the front-runners for the cinematography Oscar, with a handful of other features — including “Jackie,” “Hell or High Water,” “Hacksaw Ridge,” “Hail, Caesar!” and “Nocturnal Animals” — also in the running.

Surprisingly for the ASC, four of the five nominated cinematographers are first timers. This is the first nomination for Greig Fraser for “Lion,” James Laxton for “Moonlight,” Linus Sandgren for “La La Land” and Bradford Young for “Arrival.”

Only “Silence” cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto has been nominated before, for “Frida” and “Brokeback Mountain.”

The ASC also announced the nominees for its Spotlight Award, which goes to the cinematographers of feature films that have limited theatrical releases or have screened at film festivals or internationally.

Those nominees are Lol Crawley for Brady Corbet’s Jean-Paul Sartre adaptation, “Childhood of a Leader”; Gorka Gomez Andreu for the Georgian Oscar entry “House of Others”; Ernesto Pardo for the Mexican documentary “Tempestad”; and Juliette van Dormael for the French-language story of a woman who gives birth to an invisible boy, “Mon Ange.”

The ASC is an honorary organization of cinematographers, with membership by invitation only. It has more than 360 active members and more than 200 associate members.

Over the last 10 years, ASC’s feature-film nominees have gone on to receive Oscar nominations more than 80 percent of the time, with the two organizations picking the same winner six times.

The 31st annual ASC Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography will take place on February 4 at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at the Hollywood & Highland Center.