Seabiscuitcinematographer John Schwartzman won top honours at the 18th Annual AmericanSociety of Cinematographers (ASC) Outstanding Achievement Awards gala on Sunday(Feb 8).

It was the first victory for Schwartzman in the ASC competitionafter his nomination for Pearl Harbor in 2002.

He beat Russell Boyd for Master and Commander: The Far Side OfThe World, Andrew Lesniefor The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King, John Seale for Cold Mountain and John Toll for The Last Samurai.

"I suspect this is what the founders of ASC had in mind 85 yearsago when they envisioned a quest for artistic excellence in visualstorytelling," Jim Sheridan, who presented the award, told guests at the LosAngeles ceremony.

"Each of the nominated films was a singular artistic triumph. Theyranged from fantasy to reality with strong characters who made intimate connectionswith the audience."

Michael Chapman received the Lifetime Achievement Award for hisbody of work that includes Raging Bull, Taxi Driver and Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

The Czech Miroslav Ondricek claimed the International AchievementAward and his credits include Amadeus, Ragtime, Hair, Silkwood, Slaughter-House Five and Awakenings.

Irwin Winkler received the ASC Board of Governors Award, presentedannually to an individual "who has made extraordinary and enduringcontributions to advancing the art of film-making". His producing creditsinclude Rocky, Raging Bull, The Right Stuff and Goodfellas.