It’s been a long time coming but finally on his 14th nomination, legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins has won his first Academy Award.
In a career spanning more than 40 years, he’s worked on notable films such as The Shawshank Redemption, Fargo and Skyfall.
His victory came for Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049, a return to Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi world.
Accepting his Oscar, Deakins said: “I really love my job.”
He graciously continued: “One of the reasons I really love it is because of the people I work with in front of and behind the camera.”
He saw off competition from Dunkirk’s Hoyte van Hoytema, Darkest Hour’s Bruno Delbonnel, and Mudbound’s Rachel Morrison, the first woman cinematographer to be nominated.
Deakins’ first nomination was in 1994 for The Shawshank Redemption.
He’s probably best known though for his work with the Coen brothers, having shot 11 of their films, including No Country for Old Men and O Brother, Where Art Though?
He’s also also formed partnerships with Sam Mendes and Villeneuve, with whom he has made three movies.
Before this year’s ceremony, there was media speculation as to why Deakins had not been honoured with a statuette.
Variety’s opinion was “part of the problem is that so many of Deakins’ nominations have come for films that weren’t widely embraced by the Academy”.
“It’s rare for the cinematography prize to go to a film not nominated for best picture.”
Deakins himself modestly maintained he wasn’t that bothered by the lack of recognition, telling the Los Angeles Times: “I’m just proud to still be doing the job, really, and happy doing it.”
Outside the post-Oscars ceremony star-studded Vanity Fair party, BBC correspondent Rebecca Jones caught up with the cinematographer.
Asking him how he felt about his long-awaited victory, Deakins said: “This night is about the celebration of movies. It’s not about winning or losing.”
He added he hadn’t really thought about his lack of previous Oscar success: “I was just too busy working. Time passes and one day you wake up and think, ‘Oh, it’s been 23 years’.”
And his win this time was just a mark of the fact he “was just here doing it, doing the job you love and enjoying your life”.
Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya – who lost out to Gary Oldman in the best actor category – was beside Deakins. He said of Deakins’ win, he was happy for “good people, who just do the work, to be recognised, to be put on a platform and be told, ‘well done’ for the work that you’ve done”.
“For me, it fills me with joy to see that happen for Roger.
“It’s human to want to be recognised.”
And there was effusive reaction to Deakins’ success on Twitter.
Prominent celebrity and fashion magazine Vanity Fair said Deakins’ win was the night’s “most deserving”.