In something of a surprise, “Inception’s” Wally Pfister won his first ASC Award from the American Society of Cinematographers for best film cinematography tonight.
Pfister, who was previously nominated for “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight,” beat out strong competition from Matthew Libatique’s work in “Black Swan,” Jeff Cronenweth’s lighting in “The Social Network,” Danny Cohen’s lensing in “The King’s Speech” and Roger Deakins’ work in “True Grit.” Earlier in the day, Deakins beat a similar field at the 2011 BAFTA Orange Awards including Pfister’s work in “Inception.” Deakins was also awarded with the organization’s lifetime achievement award.
Deakins is a nine-time Oscar nominee who has never won. Pfister is enjoying his fourth nomination. The conventional wisdom was that both men were the strongest candidates to win, but Deakins would win the Susan Lucci vote after coming away from the show Oscar-less so many times. And plus, well, it’s Roger Deakins. Could Pfister’s win mean “Inception” could steal the prize? Hard to tell, but if Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster dominates the below the line awards as many expect, Pfister could walk away the winner.
Among other ASC winners, Jonathan Freeman won the episodic television award for “Boardwalk Empire” and Stephen Windon was honored in the television movie/mini-series category for “The Pacific.”