John Toll

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John Toll
Born (1952-06-15) June 15, 1952 (age 65)
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Occupation Cinematographer
Years active 1978–present
Organization American Society of Cinematographers
Known for Braveheart
The Thin Red Line
The Last Samurai
Cloud Atlas
Spouse(s) Lois Burwell (November 14, 1998–present)

John Toll, A.S.C. (born June 15, 1952) is an American cinematographer.[1][2] Toll's filmography spans a wide variety of genres, including epic period drama, comedy, science fiction, and contemporary drama. He won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography in both 1994 and 1995 for Legends of the Fall and Braveheart respectively, and has also won numerous BAFTA, ASC, and Satellite Awards. He has collaborated with several noteworthy directors, including Francis Ford Coppola, Edward Zwick, Terrence Malick, Mel Gibson, John Madden, The Wachowskis, and Ang Lee. Outside of film, he has shot several commercials, the pilot episode of Emmy Award-winning drama series Breaking Bad, and has served as chief cinematographer on the Netflix original series Sense8 by the Wachowskis, on which he also got executive producing credit in its second season.[3]

Life and career[edit]

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Toll began work on his first film Norma Rae, in 1978 as a camera operator. He won back-to-back Academy Awards for Best Cinematography in 1994 and 1995, for the movies Legends of the Fall and Braveheart. He is also only 1 of 4 cinematographers to win back-to-back Oscars.

He was also nominated for an Academy Award for his work on The Thin Red Line and won an Honorable Mention at the 49th Berlin International Film Festival.[4] He was also nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for the pilot of Breaking Bad.

He was the cinematographer in 1987 for a Ben-Gay baseball-themed national television commercial shot in Anaheim Stadium in southern California, written and co-directed by Peter Hoffman, a creative director at the New York advertising agency Ally & Gargano. It was the first commercial to use a baseball team's human mascot – in this case a giant "bird" – as a star in a commercial.

He has been a regular collaborator for acclaimed filmmakers like Francis Ford Coppola, Edward Zwick, Cameron Crowe and The Wachowskis. He was presented with the ASC's Lifetime Achievement Award on February 14, 2016.

He is married to Lois Burwell who also worked on Braveheart as the make-up artist (for which she won an Oscar, too).[5]



Year Title Dir. Notes
1985 The Beach Boys: An American Band Malcolm Leo Documentary film
1992 Wind Carroll Ballard
1994 Legends of the Fall Edward Zwick Won:


1995 Braveheart Mel Gibson Won:


1996 Jack Francis Ford Coppola
1997 The Rainmaker
1998 The Thin Red Line Terrence Malick Won:


1999 Simpatico Matthew Warchus
2000 Almost Famous Cameron Crowe
2001 Captain Corelli's Mandolin John Madden
Vanilla Sky Cameron Crowe
2003 The Last Samurai Edward Zwick Won:


2005 Elizabethtown Cameron Crowe
2006 Seraphim Falls David Von Ancken
2007 Gone Baby Gone Ben Affleck
2008 Tropic Thunder Ben Stiller
2009 It's Complicated Nancy Meyers
2011 The Adjustment Bureau George Nolfi
2012 The Odd Life of Timothy Green Peter Hedges
Cloud Atlas The Wachowskis
Tom Tykwer
with Frank Griebe


2013 Iron Man 3 Shane Black
2015 Jupiter Ascending The Wachowskis
2016 Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk Ang Lee Nominated:


Year Title Notes
1989 The Young Riders 1 episode


2008 Breaking Bad[6] Pilot episode


2015-17 Sense8[7] 23 episodes

Also executive producer


Awards & nominations[edit]

Industry Awards[edit]

Academy Award for Best Cinematography

American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography

Berlin International Film Festival

BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography

British Society of Cinematographers Award for Best Cinematography


Deutscher Filmpreis Film Award in Gold for Best Cinematography

Hollywood Film Award

  • 2003: Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography (won)

Primetime Emmy Award

Satellite Award for Best Cinematography

Critics awards[edit]

Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography

Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography

International Online Film Critics' Poll

National Board of Review, USA

  • 2003: Career Achievement Award (won)

National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Cinematography

New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Cinematographer

Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Cinematography

St. Louis Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematographer


  1. ^ Staff, (2015-02-06). "John Toll | Biography and Filmography | 1952". Retrieved 2017-09-12. 
  2. ^ "JOHN TOLL". Retrieved 2017-09-12. 
  3. ^ "Happy F*cking New Year". Sense8. December 23, 2016. Netflix. 
  4. ^ "Berlinale: 1999 Prize Winners". Retrieved 2012-02-04. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Q&A – John Toll (Cinematographer)". AMC. Retrieved 2017-09-12. 
  7. ^ "Sense8 / John Toll, ASC - The American Society of Cinematographers". Retrieved 2017-09-12. 

External links[edit]