While the drama series “Game of Thrones” and “Westworld” have faced off for several kudos over the past couple of months, both are favored to win at Saturday’s American Society of Cinematographers awards due to a change in the rulebook. Last year, the guild decided that pilots are akin to miniseries and telefilms rather than regular episodes of ongoing series. To that end, the debut episode of “Westworld” is expected to win Best Movie/Mini/Pilot Cinematography while “Game of Thrones” is favored for Best Non-Commercial Series Cinematography.
“Game of Thrones” has two nominations and the episode overwhelming favored to win (with odds of 2/13 based on the aggregate predictions of Gold Derby’s Experts, Editors and Users) is “Battle of the Bastards.” Ironically, while it swept the Emmys winning awards for writing, directing, editing, makeup, sound mixing and visual effects, it was not even nominated for its cinematography.
Another “Game of Thrones” episode (“Home”) contended at the Emmys but lost to the pilot of “The Man in the High Castle,” which was in the running at the ASC last year. This is the third consecutive ASC bid for“Battle of the Bastards” lenser Fabian Wagner, who lost to “Marco Polo” last year and “Boardwalk Empire”in 2015. While “Game of Thrones” won with the ASC in both 2013 and 2014, that was before Wagner had joined the series.
The other nominated episode of “Game of Thrones,” “Book of the Stranger,” was shot by Anette Haellmigk, who is on her third ASC bid in four seasons working on the show. However, she has odds of only 66/1 to finally prevail.
Although the three other shows in contention are all returning dramas, this year marks their first nominations from the ASC. “Penny Dreadful” is at 18/1 while both “House of Cards” and “Outlander” are at 40/1. While this is the first ASC nomination for “Outlander” cinematographer Neville Kidd, he won an Emmy in 2014 for “Sherlock.”.
Over in Best Movie/Mini/Pilot Cinematography, “Westworld” is far ahead with odds of 2/7. Its strongest rival is the miniseries “The Night Of” (11/2) followed by the telefilm “All the Way” (28/1), the miniseries “Harley and the Davidsons” (40/1) and the pilot of “The Exorcist” (80/1).
While “Harley and the Davidsons” cinematographer Balazs Bolygo is the only past ASC champ among the two dozen nominees across the five film and TV categories this year, he is not a member of the guild. He won the defunct Best One-Hour Series Cinematography race (2012: “Hunted”). “Westworld” cinematographer Paul Cameron is the only TV nominee this year with a past ASC nomination for feature film work (2004: “Collateral”).
Unlike the Emmys, ASC does not have separate cinematography categories for multi-camera, nonfiction and reality programs. Its only other TV category is Best Commercial Series Cinematography, which includes only dramas this year: “Gotham,” “Manhattan,” “Mr. Robot,” “Preacher” and “Underground.”
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