While critics and audiences alike seem to be divided on whether Birdman deserves its many accolades for writing that is smartly satirical/pretentiously self-satisfied, and performances that are bold and revelatory/calculated and hammy, everyone can agree on at least one thing: Its swooping, single-take cinematography is a dazzling feat/an annoying gimmick. That sentiment was certainly shared by the American Society of Cinematographers, who last night named Emmanuel Lubezki’s work on Birdman the best feature film cinematography of the year, very sincerely/sarcastically.
What is not up for debate is that Lubezki has now tied Conrad L. Hall as the Society’s most recognized cinematographer, with Birdman joining a history of wins that includes Gravity, The Tree Of Life, and Children Of Men. As with Gravity, it also makes him the favorite to win another Oscar this year (though winners at the ASC Awards don’t always line up with the Academy’s). But either way, it’s a tribute to Lubezki as one of cinema’s most gifted artists, whose talents for complex blocking, seamless transitions, and innovative designs were put to good use/totally wasted on Birdman.
On the television side, Boardwalk Empire’s final season received some awards recognition at last for Jonathan Freeman’s work on the episode “Golden Days For Boys And Girls” (beating out the considerable contender of Game Of Thrones), while the pilot episode of Manhattan earned a Best Miniseries Or TV Movie Cinematography win for John Lindley.
Elsewhere, the Finnish film Concrete Night took home the relatively new Spotlight Award, recognizing movies that primarily played at festivals, and lifetime achievement honors were handed out to John Bailey (American Gigolo, Groundhog Day) and TV cinematographer Bill Roe (The X-Files, Mad Men). Finally, this year’s Governors Award went to Barbra Streisand, who delivered what The Wrap notes was “by far the evening’s longest speech” that the ASC members thoroughly enjoyed/suffered through while glancing longingly at the bar.