Cinematographer Don McAlpine honoured by AACTA

Last week Australian cinematography legend, Donald M. McAlpine (ACS/ASC), was announced as this year’s recipient of the AACTA Raymond Longford Award. You can watch him receiving the news about the award from his old friend Jack Thompson  in the clip below. And yes, he was genuinely surpised! No acting required.

McAlpine’s career spans more than 50 films made over 40 years, and includes Australian classics such as Don’s Party, My Brilliant Career and ‘Breaker’ Morant, through to international blockbusters such as Predator, Patriot Games and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. He has received numerous accolades throughout his career including an Oscar® and BAFTA nomination for Best Cinematography for Moulin Rouge!, a BAFTA nomination for William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, working with Baz Luhrmann, as well as three AFI Awards.

Don McAlpine filming 'Mental', for writer/director P..J. Hogan.

McAlpine, now aged 77, is still working at full speed and continues to adapt to new digital technology. With his lifelong partner, his wife Jeanette, at his side, he has just completed filming for P.J. Hogan’s latest feature film, Mental, starring Toni Collette, Liev Schreiber and Anthony LaPaglia.

Upon being told of the Award, Don McAlpine said, “I accept the Raymond Longford Award as a great personal honour. I am thrilled with the honour it implies to the art and craft of Australian cinematographers.”

You can watch the ABC News story on Don’s win, here.  Note how he says he “loves every minute of it” – and that his favourite work is Baz Lurhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet. It’s a nice choice. Who could forget that luminous and magical scene with Leonardo Dicaprio and Claire Danes looking at each other through a fish tank?

Or why not listen to Don being interviewed by Fran Kelly on Radio National, here. Listen out for the part where he talks about filming Julia Roberts’ smile, and the secret of her success.

McAlpine will be officially awarded with a special presentation at the Samsung AACTA Awards Luncheon on Sunday 15 January – the first of AACTA’s two awards events, both of which will be held in January to fall within the international screen awards season. The Luncheon will include special tributes for McAlpine by fellow screen luminaries Bruce Beresford, Jack Thompson and P.J. Hogan.

For more information about Don McAlpine and the AACTA Raymond Longford Award, visit the AACTA website here.