Emmanuel Lubezki won the top prize from the American Society of Cinematographers for lensing;"The Tree of Life." He has already won top honors with both the Gotham and L.A. film critics for his lensing of this Terrence Malick movie and is one of the five Oscar nominees.
He won this award in 2006 for "Children of Men" and contended in 1999 for "Sleepy Hollow." He reaped Oscar bids for those two films, as well as "A Little Princess" (1995) and "A New World," his last collaboration with Malick, but has yet to prevail at the Academy Awards.
Lubezki's strongest competiton at the Oscars may well be Robert Richardson. He reaped his 10th ASC nom for the 3D filming of "Hugo." While Richardson has won two of his previous six Oscar races -- "JFK" (1991) and "The Aviator" (2005) -- he has yet to win over his guild.
Jeff Cronenweth contended at the ASC for the second year in a row for lensing a David Fincher film. Last year, he picked up his first career nod with "The Social Network" and returned with "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." He too contends at the Oscars.
Rounding out the ASC list were a pair of first-time nominees: Hoyte van Hoytema ("Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy") and Guillaume Shiffman ("The Artist"). While Hoytema missed out on an Oscar bid, Shiffman, who just won the BAFTA Award, was nominated.
While the ASC snubbed four-time nominee Janusz Kaminski for his shooting of "War Horse," the two-time Oscar champ -- "Schindler's List" (1993) and "Saving Private Ryan" (1998) -- is contending at the Academy Awards.
Over the quarter century of these awards, the ASC choice for the best in the business has presaged the eventual winner at the Academy Awards only 13 times. However, the ASC has predicted 101 of the 130 Oscar nominees.
Last year, Wally Pfister won with the ASC for "Inception" before repeating at the Oscars. Among those he defeated in both races was Roger Deakins ("True Grit"). While Deakins prevailed with two of his 10 ASC bids, he remains without an Oscar despite nine nods. The other contenders at the ASC were first-time nominees Danny Cohen ("The King's Speech), Cronenweth ("The Social Network") and Matthew Libatique ("Black Swan").
In 2010, first-time ASC contender Christian Berger, who filmed "The White Ribbon," edged out nine-time nominee Richardson for "Inglourious Basterds," past ASC champ Dion Beebe ("Memoirs of a Geisha") who picked up his third nod for "Nine," and two other first-time ASC nominees -- Barry Ackroyd, who shot "The Hurt Locker," and Mauro Fiore, who lensed "Avatar." Fiore went on to win the Oscar.