Moviegeek5: Roger Deakins
Remember all the take around Oscar time 2017 about whether or not Leonardo DiCaprio would finally get the Oscar he deserved after six nominations? Well, one that got cheated of the golden statue yet again was the magnificent cinematographer Roger Deakins. His Oscar nomination for Blade Runner 2049 (2017) this year is his 14th nomination in the category and despite giving us some of the most beautifully shot movies, he is yet to win. Since he sees strong competition this year, we thought we would praise his incredible work with a moviegeek5 of movies shot by a man who truly masters how to make a movie look stunning.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Yes, the adaptation of Stephen King’s short story is by many considered one of the very best movies ever made, and mainly due to the strong story of human endurance, hope and friendship. But can you even imagine the movie giving the same impact without the iconic scene, where Tim Robbins stands in the rain? This was the first Oscar nomination Deakins received and shows his skills of making timeless shots that helps this movie still hold its number one spot for many.
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
Deakins has several times collaborated with the Coen Brothers, but O Brother is probably the finest example of how versatile his talent is and how he can adapt it to the given material. With the Coen Brothers he took us straight to the American South using cinematic colour grading that gave the movie light-soaked landscapes that made you feel the burning heat. It was the first time this now common digital color-adjustment technology was used and it made the movie look that more stunning as well as giving it an antique-feel that suited the story perfectly.
Getting Sam Mendes to direct Skyfall may have been a genius stroke but an even better one was hiring Deakins to shot it! The result is that Skyfall is not just one of the best James Bond movies made, it is THE best looking made! Virtually every frame of this stunning movie could be hung on your wall as art and whether it is the silhouette fight or Bond arriving by boat to a casino in Shanghai, Deakins delivers jaw-dropping visuals in his flirt with the world’s most famous agent.
It rains almost constantly in Denis Villeneuve’s crime drama, but that doesn’t stop Deakins from making it look stunning. With his skill for using shadows to his benefit, he expertly helps Villeneuve create a sense of dread that perfectly underlines the emotional complex story. The cast delivers some of their best performance in this tense drama but it is Deakins’s work that makes sure you get so absorbed in the story, that it almost becomes unbearable.
Once again working with Denis Villeneauve, with whom he also collaborated with on Blade Runner 2049 for which he is nominated this year, Deakins received his 13th Oscar nomination for his work on crime drama about the Mexican drug cartel. Once again he showed the wide range of his talent when he brought the movie from bright sunshine to dark underground without any trouble. Just as he has easily showed colourful fantastic scenes in movies like O Brother and Balde Runner, here he creates a gritty and realistic world which is just as memorable.