The AmericanSociety of Cinematographers (ASC) has thrown its weight behind theseason's epic studio releases with the announcement of nominees for the18th Annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards in Los Angeles on Feb8.

The fivenominees are Russell Boyd for Master And Commander: The Far Side Of TheWorld, Andrew Lesnie forThe Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King, John Schwartzman for Seabiscuit, John Seale for Cold Mountain and John Toll for The Last Samurai.

"Accordingto their peers, these five outstanding film-makers have set the higheststandards for artistic excellence in feature film cinematography during thepast year," Owen Roizman, chairman of the ASC's awards committee,said in a statement.

"Itwasn't an easy decision because many cinematographers displayed anincredible range of talent and skill that contributed to the success of filmslast year."

Roizman said allthe nominees demonstrated "extraordinary abilities to create a sense ofplace and time and to visually punctuate moods and other emotionalcontent."

Toll previouslywon the award for Braveheart in 1996 and The Thin Red Line in 1999 and was nominated for LegendsOf The Fall in 1995.

Seale took tophonours for The English Patient in 1997 and was nominated for Rain Man in 1989 and The Perfect Storm in 2001.

Lesnie andSchwartzman both earned nominations in 2002 for Lord Of The Rings:Fellowship Of The Ring andPearl Harborrespectively. This is Boyd's first nomination.