‘Cold War’ Wins American Society of Cinematographers Award

Lukasz Zal scores an upset victory over “Roma” director and cinematographer Alfonso Cuaron, who could have become the first person to win DGA and ASC Awards

Last Updated: February 14, 2019 @ 11:05 AM

Lukasz Zal has won the American Society of Cinematographers Award for theatrical motion pictures for Pawel Pawlikowski’s black-and-white drama “Cold War,” scoring an upset victory over Alfonso Cuarón and “Roma.”

If he had won, Cuarón would have become the first person to win the ASC Award for a movie he also directed, and the first to win the top prizes from the ASC and the Directors Guild of America.

It is the second ASC Award for Zal, who won the Spotlight Award for Pawlikowski’s last film, 2013’s “Ida.” He came onto that film after original cinematographer Ryszard Lenczewski dropped out, and shared the award with Lenczewski. He shot “Cold War,” which spans a dozen years in post World War II Europe, by himself.

Over the 32 previous years of the ASC Awards, the winner has gone on to receive the Oscar for Best Cinematography less than half the time. The ASC is often more adventurous than the Oscars. It recognized Roger Deakins more than 20 years before he finally won an Oscar and gave Lubezki two awards before Academy voters gave him his first.

In four of the last five years, though, the ASC winner has also won the Oscar.

Zal and Cuarón are both nominated for this year’s Oscars, along with Robbie Ryan for “The Favourite,” Matthew Libatique for “A Star Is Born” and Caleb Deschanel for “Never Look Away.”

In other awards, Giorgi Shvelidze won this year’s Spotlight Award, which goes to the cinematographer of a film that has not received wide release, for “Namme.” The film was Georgia’s entry in this year’s Oscar foreign-language race, but it was not nominated or shortlisted.

Television awards went to “The Crown” for the second year in a row, and also to “Beyond” and “Patrick Melrose.”

The ceremony paid tribute to the ASC’s 100th anniversary. Honorary awards went to cinematographers Robert Richardson and Jeffrey Jur and actor Jeff Bridges.

The ASC winners:

Theatrical Release: Łukasz Żal, PSC for “Cold War”
Spotlight Award: Giorgi Shvelidze for “Namme”
Episode of a Series for Non-Commercial Television: Adriano Goldman, ASC, ABC for “The Crown”: “Beryl”
Episode of a Series for Commercial Television: Jon Joffin, ASC for “Beyond”: “Two Zero One”
Motion Picture, Miniseries, or Pilot Made for Television: James Friend, BSC for “Patrick Melrose”: “Bad News”

ASC Student Heritage Awards
Gerald Hirschfeld Undergraduate Award: Matthew Hayward, “The Latent Image”
Sol Negrin Graduate Award: Steven Breckon, “A Place to Stay
Haskell Wexler Documentary Award: Alejandro Cortes Sanchez, “Adrift”

Lifetime Achievement Award: Robert Richardson, ASC
Career Achievement in Television Award: Jeffrey Jur, ASC
Board of Governors Award: Jeff Bridges