Oscars frontrunner ‘Birdman’ predicted to win American Society of Cinematographers award first

Four of the five Oscar nominees for Best Cinematography — Emmanuel Lubezki (“Birdman“), Robert D. Yeoman (The Grand Budapest Hotel“), Dick Pope (“Mr. Turner“) and Roger Deakins (“Unbroken“) — face off at the American Society of Cinematographer Awards this Saturday. The fifth Oscar nominees (Łukasz Żal and Ryszard Lenczewski for “Ida“) were snubbed here in favor of  Oscar Faura for “The Imitation Game.” 

Lubezki is the overwhelming frontrunner to win here and then at the Oscars for his lensing of “Birdman.” He has odds of 1/10 to win over his fellow cinematographers and odds of 2/9 to pick up an Academy Award as well. He won both prizes last year for “Gravity.” While that was his first Oscar, after five losses, he had prevailed twice before with the society (“Children of Men,” 2006; “The Tree of Life,” 2011). 

Among those he is likely to edge out in both races is Deakins who contends for “Unbroken.” While that veteran cinematographer has won three of his 13 ASC bids, he has yet to take home an Oscar despite 11 nominations to date. This is the second ASC for Pope and the first for both Faura and Yeoman.

As Deakins knows all too well, the ASC awards are not the most reliable precursor prize. In the 28-year history of these kudos, only 11 winners, including Lubezki, went on to repeat at the Oscars. The others were: 

Dean Semler, “Dances with Wolves” (1990)
John Toll, “Braveheart” (1995)
John Seale, “The English Patient” (1996)
Russell Carpenter, “Titanic” (1997)
Conrad L. Hall, “American Beauty” (1999)
Conrad L. Hall, “Road to Perdition” (2002)
Dion Beebe, “Memoirs of a Geisha” (2005)
Robert Elswit, “There Will Be Blood” (2007)
Anthony Dod Mantle, “Slumdog Millionaire” (2008)
Wally Pfister, “Inception” (2010)

The 29th annual ASC Awards take place on Feb. 15 at the Beverly Hilton. 

If you haven’t made your ASC predictions yet, there’s still time. Click here to visit our predictions center, where you can enter your picks or use the easy drag-and-drop menu below to get started with Period/Character Makeup and be in with a chance to win $100 if you get the highest score. 

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