John Bailey (cinematographer)

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John Bailey
President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
In office
August 8, 2017 – August 7, 2019
Preceded byCheryl Boone Isaacs
Succeeded byDavid Rubin
Personal details
John Ira Bailey

(1942-08-10) August 10, 1942 (age 80)
Moberly, Missouri, U.S.
(m. 1972)
Residence(s)Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Alma materLoyola University (Loyola Marymount University)
USC School of Cinematic Arts
OccupationCinematographer, film director

John Ira Bailey, ASC (born August 10, 1942) is an American cinematographer and film director known for his collaborations with directors Paul Schrader, Lawrence Kasdan, Michael Apted, and Ken Kwapis. In August 2017, Bailey was elected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.[1] He was succeeded by casting director David Rubin in August 2019.[2]

Early life[edit]

John Ira Bailey was born August 10, 1942, in Moberly, Missouri, and raised in Norwalk, California.[3][4] He attended Pius X High School in Downey, California,[4] and briefly studied chemistry at Santa Clara University before transferring to Loyola University, Los Angeles,[3] where he graduated with a bachelor degree in 1964.[5] He earned a graduate degree from the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) in 1968.[6]


Bailey spent 11 years apprenticing as a crew member with cinematographers such as Vilmos Zsigmond and Néstor Almendros, working on Two-Lane Blacktop, The Late Show, 3 Women, Winter Kills, and Days of Heaven. He earned his first credit as director of photography for Boulevard Nights, followed by Ordinary People and American Gigolo.[citation needed]

In 1985, Bailey shared the Cannes Film Festival Best Artistic Contribution Award with Eiko Ishioka and Philip Glass for Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters. He was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography for Tough Guys Don't Dance and the Camerimage Golden Frog Award for Best Cinematography for Forever Mine. He is a member of the American Society of Cinematographers and member of the jury at the Venice Film Festival in 1987.[7] He worked on numerous comedy films such as Groundhog Day, As Good as It Gets, and The Producers. He is a veteran documentary cameraman.

Bailey's credits as a director include The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, China Moon, Mariette in Ecstasy, and Via Dolorosa.

He has been married to film editor Carol Littleton since 1972. They reside in Los Angeles.[3]


As director of photography[edit]

Year Title Director Notes
1972 Premonition Alan Rudolph
1979 Boulevard Nights Michael Pressman
1980 American Gigolo Paul Schrader
Ordinary People Robert Redford
City in Fear Jud Taylor
1981 Continental Divide Michael Apted
Honky Tonk Freeway John Schlesinger
1982 Cat People Paul Schrader
That Championship Season Jason Miller
1983 Without a Trace Stanley R. Jaffe
The Big Chill Lawrence Kasdan
1984 Racing with the Moon Richard Benjamin
The Pope of Greenwich Village Stuart Rosenberg
1985 Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters Paul Schrader
Silverado Lawrence Kasdan
1986 Brighton Beach Memoirs Gene Saks
Crossroads Walter Hill
1987 Swimming to Cambodia Jonathan Demme
Light of Day Paul Schrader
Tough Guys Don't Dance Norman Mailer
1988 Vibes Ken Kwapis
The Accidental Tourist Lawrence Kasdan
1990 My Blue Heaven Herbert Ross
1991 A Brief History of Time Errol Morris
1993 Groundhog Day Harold Ramis
In the Line of Fire Wolfgang Petersen
1994 Nobody's Fool Robert Benton
1996 Passion James Lapine
Extreme Measures Michael Apted
1997 As Good as It Gets James L. Brooks
1998 Always Outnumbered Michael Apted
Living Out Loud Richard LaGravenese
1999 The Out-of-Towners Sam Weisman
Forever Mine Paul Schrader
For Love of the Game Sam Raimi
2000 Michael Jordan to the Max Don Kempf
James D. Stern
2001 Antitrust Peter Howitt
The Anniversary Party Jennifer Jason Leigh
Alan Cumming
2002 The Kid Stays in the Picture Nanette Burstein
Brett Morgen
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood Callie Khouri
2003 How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days Donald Petrie
2004 Incident at Loch Ness Zak Penn
2005 The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Ken Kwapis
Must Love Dogs Gary David Goldberg
The Producers Susan Stroman
2006 The Architect Matthew Tauber
2007 The Death and Life of Bobby Z John Herzfeld
License to Wed Ken Kwapis
2008 Mad Money Callie Khouri
Over Her Dead Body Jeff Lowell
2009 The Greatest Shana Feste
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men John Krasinski
He's Just Not That Into You Ken Kwapis
2010 When in Rome Mark Steven Johnson
Ramona and Beezus Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum
Country Strong Shana Feste
2012 Big Miracle Ken Kwapis
2013 The Way, Way Back Nat Faxon
Jim Rash
A.C.O.D. Stu Zicherman
Snake and Mongoose Wayne Holloway
2014 The Angriest Man in Brooklyn Phil Alden Robinson
The Forger Philip Martin
2015 A Walk in the Woods Ken Kwapis
2016 Burn Your Maps Jordan Roberts
2017 How to Be a Latin Lover Ken Marino
2018 An Actor Prepares Steve Clark
2019 Phil Greg Kinnear

As director[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
1985 Cannes Film Festival Best Artistic Contribution Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters Won [8]
1988 Independent Spirit Award Best Cinematography Tough Guys Don't Dance Nominated
1994 CableACE Award Television Special The Search for Signs of
Intelligent Life in the Universe
Directing in a Comedy Special Nominated
1999 Camerimage Golden Frog Award Forever Mine Nominated
2001 Society of Operating Cameramen President's Award Won
2015 American Society of Cinematographers Lifetime Achievement Award Won
2018 Society of Operating Cameramen Governor's Award Won
2019 Camerimage Lifetime Achievement Award Won [3]


  1. ^ Tapley, Kristopher (August 8, 2017). "John Bailey Elected President of the Motion Picture Academy". Variety. Retrieved August 9, 2017.
  2. ^ Rottenberg, Josh (August 6, 2019). "David Rubin elected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d "John Bailey with Camerimage Lifetime Achievement Award!". Camerimage. August 22, 2019. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Williams, David E. (March 31, 2020). "John Bailey, ASC: Inside the Outsider". American Cinematographer. American Society of Cinematographers. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  5. ^ Featured Alumni, Loyola Marymount University
  6. ^ Notable Alumni, USC School of Cinematic Arts Archived August 26, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "John Bailey". IMDb.
  8. ^ "John Bailey - Awards - IMDB". Internet Movie Database. March 14, 2020. Retrieved March 10, 2019.

External links[edit]

Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Succeeded by
David Rubin