Acord was born in Fresno County, California. He attended Sir Francis Drake High School's School Within A School (S.W.A.S.) program and went on to study photography and filmmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute. He began his professional career with photographer/filmmaker Bruce Weber. Together they made documentaries, commercials and music videos.
His breakthrough in the MTV music videos world came when director Stéphane Sednaoui offered him to work on Björk's Big Time Sensuality. Acord continued to work extensively in the commercials and music videos mediums. He earned the MTV Video Music Award for Best Cinematography for his work on Fatboy Slim’s “Weapon of Choice”, which featured Christopher Walken and was directed by Spike Jonze. He also worked with R.E.M. on a regular basis.
Stéphane Sednaoui, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, Mark Romanek, Spike Jonze, and Michel Gondry are a few of the directors Acord works with. He has shot and/or directed numerous television commercial campaigns for advertisers such as Levi's, Volkswagen and Nike.
Acord made his first foray into narrative feature filmmaking as the cinematographer on Vincent Gallo’s Buffalo ’66. Since then, he has been the director of photography on Spike Jonze’s features Being John Malkovich, Adaptation. (in which he also made a cameo, as himself during production of Being John Malkovich) and Where the Wild Things Are, Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation, Marie Antoinette, and her short film Lick the Star, as well as Peter Care’s The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys. He has two children with his wife.
- God's Pocket (2014) (cinematographer, producer)
- Where the Wild Things Are (2009)
- Marie Antoinette (2006)
- Lost in Translation (2003)
- Adaptation. (2002)
- The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys (2002)
- Southlander (2001)
- Chop Suey (2001)
- Eventual Wife (2000) Short
- Being John Malkovich (1999)
- Lick the Star (1998) Short
- Free Tibet (1998) Co-Cinematographer
- Amarillo by Morning (1998)
- Buffalo '66 (1998)
- How They Get There (1997) Short
- Road Movie (1996)
- Gentle Giants (1995) Short
- Billy Nayer (1992) Short