Gettysburg Alum Owen Roizman ‘58 Wins Governor’s Award from Academy
By Samantha Anastasiou, Contributing Writer
Had he followed his original dream, he may well have played baseball or become a mathematician, but instead, second generation cinematographer Owen Roizman ’58 was honored with the Governor’s Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences over the weekend to honor his extended career that spanned 25 years. Academy President John Bailey called the recipients “very representative of the breadth of filmmaking.”
Roizman graduated from Gettysburg in 1958; he was a student athlete who majored in mathematics, minored in physics, and pitched for the college’s baseball team. His father had been a cameraman for Fox MovieTone News, and Roizman never really had intentions of following in his father’s footsteps [clearly by what he studied in college]. When he would ask about his career prospects and how much money he could make on his original career path, he came to a career changing realization.
Roizman told Variety: “So I asked my father how much I could make as an assistant cameraman, and it was a lot more than a physicist or a mathematician, so I figured, ‘I’m going for the money!’” In actuality, it wasn’t just about the money for him because his effort was always to the highest degree.
In Roizman’s career, he had received five Oscar nominations, but had never won … until now. Establishing his reputation for realism on camera, “The French Connection,” received his first Oscar nomination in 1972. Films such as “The Exorcist,” ”Network,” ”Tootsie” and “Wyatt Earp” soon followed. Although never having won, it appeared to be a very attainable goal. Roizman shot his final fame with “French Kiss” in 1995, and retired with digital photography as his past time.
In addition to his recent award, he served as president of The American Society of Cinematographers in 1997, and received their Lifetime Achievement Award. Then this past weekend, Roizman attended a private dinner gala at the Hollywood & Highland complex to be honored once again with the who’s who of the film industry.
Needless to say, Roizman made a name for himself in Hollywood with a remarkable cinematography career.