Oscar®-Nominated Cinematographer Matthew Libatique to Receive AFI’s 31st Annual Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal – American Film Institute
Black and white photo of cinematographer Matthew Libatique, recipient of AFI’s 31st Annual Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal


Oscar®-Nominated Cinematographer Matthew Libatique to Receive AFI’s 31st Annual Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal

AFI is pleased to announce that two-time Academy Award® nominee Matthew Libatique, ASC (AFI Class of 1992) will receive the Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal, which will be presented at the upcoming AFI Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute to Nicole Kidman on April 27, 2024, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

The Schaffner Alumni Medal recognizes the extraordinary creative talents of AFI Conservatory Alumni who embody the qualities of filmmaker Franklin J. Schaffner: talent, taste, dedication and commitment to quality storytelling in film and television. Past recipients include Darren Aronofsky, Lesli Linka Glatter, Siân Heder, Patty Jenkins, Janusz Kamiński, Mimi Leder, David Lynch, Terrence Malick, Melina Matsoukas and Rachel Morrison.

“Matthew Libatique is one of our generation’s defining voices in the art of visual storytelling,” said Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO. “Now, AFI is honored to shine the light upon on him – celebrating his impact on the art form and the pride he brings us as a graduate of the AFI Conservatory.”

Matthew Libatique’s latest work can be seen in the critically acclaimed MAESTRO (2023), directed, produced, co-written by and starring Bradley Cooper, and in A24’s Academy Award®-winning film THE WHALE (2022), where he reteamed with director Darren Aronofsky (AFI Class of 1992), his longtime collaborator who he met on their third day while attending the AFI Conservatory.

Aronofsky and Libatique previously collaborated on projects including PI (1998); REQUIEM FOR A DREAM (2000), which earned Libatique a Film Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography; THE FOUNTAIN (2006); BLACK SWAN (2010), for which he received his first Academy Award® nomination; NOAH (2014); and MOTHER! (2017), starring Jennifer Lawrence.

In 2021, Libatique shot DON’T WORRY DARLING, Olivia Wilde’s story of a 1950s housewife living in a utopian experimental community. This project marked his second time working with Wilde, having lensed the short WAKE UP, which premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.

Previously, Libatique worked with director Ryan Murphy on THE PROM (2020) starring this year’s AFI Life Achievement Award honoree Nicole Kidman along with Jo Ellen Pellman, Meryl Streep, James Corden, Keegan-Michael Key, Andrew Rannells, Ariana DeBose and Kerry Washington.

Libatique received Academy Award® and American Society of Cinematographers nominations for his lensing of Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut A STAR IS BORN (2018), starring Lady Gaga. To add to his impressive list of credits, he has also collaborated with Academy Award® winner Spike Lee on numerous films, including INSIDE MAN (2006), MIRACLE AT ST. ANNA (2008), CHI-RAQ (2015) and SHE HATE ME (2004). He also shot the anti-hero action blockbuster VENOM (2018), the Oscar®-nominated STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON (2015), COWBOYS & ALIENS (2011), EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED (2005) and TIGERLAND (2000), as well as Academy Award®-nominated superhero films IRON MAN (2008) and IRON MAN 2 (2010), kicking off a defining style for the Marvel universe franchise. He is represented by UTA in the United States.

The presentation of the Schaffner Medal will take place at the 49th AFI Life Achievement Award Tribute to Nicole Kidman. Tickets to attend the in-person Gala are available at AFI.com/laa/. The air dates for THE 49TH AFI LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: A TRIBUTE TO NICOLE KIDMAN special on TNT and Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will be announced at a later date. This marks the ninth year the Emmy®-winning AFI Life Achievement Award special will air on TNT.

The highest honor given for a career in film, the AFI Board of Trustees established the AFI Life Achievement Award in 1973. It is presented to a single honoree each year based on the following criteria as mandated through a resolution passed by the AFI Board of Trustees: “The recipient should be one whose talent has in a fundamental way advanced the film art; whose accomplishment has been acknowledged by scholars, critics, professional peers and the general public; and whose work has stood the test of time.”

To learn more about AFI and the AFI Life Achievement Award Tribute to Nicole Kidman, please visit AFI.com.

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