This is not going to be an article bemoaning the nominations for this year’s Oscars.
It is not going to be a diatribe debating that Denis Villeneuve should be nominated for Best Director for Bladerunner 2049 or that Hugh Jackman should be nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role for Logan.
Such arguments are futile because the nominations have been announced and, aside from the aove snubs, they are pretty spot on. What this article is going to be is a tirade in favour of one nominee who absolutely has to win an Oscar.
That man’s name is Roger Deakins and that award is Best Achievement in Cinematography for Bladerunner 2049.
Anybody who has seen the film itself knows that it is a true work of art. Denis Villeneuve’s direction is magnificent, the performances of Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford and Ana de Armas are fantastic and the score is overwhelming in the best possible way.
However, the work of Deakins is something else entirely. His use of the space in each location, the long takes, the portrayal of the dystopian landscape. All of it is epic in every sense of the word.
Then there is the sequence in the restaurant with the malfunctioning hologram projector. It is a scene which is equal parts beautiful and chilling.
Granted, the film features its fair share of visual effects – another category it is rightly nominated for – but it wouldn’t be nearly as impressive without Deakins’ potentially iconic work.
Through Bladerunner 2049, Deakins continues to reaffirm his status as a master filmmaker, which makes it all the more distressing that he has never picked up a statuette at the Oscars despite 13 (THIRTEEN) previous nominations.
Deakins has been up for the best cinematography prize for some of the best films in recent years. Sicario, Unbroken, Prisoners, Skyfall, True Grit, No Country For Old Men, Fargo and Shawshank Redemption are just eight of his 13 previous nods.
With his latest nomination, he now holds the record for the most cinematography noms without a win at 14.
His work on each of those films could have made him a worthy winner. Bladerunner 2049 should make him the worthy winner.
While Deakins will be the favourite in many corners, he does have some stiff competition this year. Hoyte Van Hoytema’s work on Dunkirk helped establish Christopher Nolan’s war epic as authentic in its aesthetic.
Then there is Dan Leusten’s work on The Shape of Water which may nab the award on the basis of just how many Oscars that Guillermo del Toro’s film is up for.
However, as great as those other films are, nothing captures the imagination of future filmmakers like Bladerunner 2049. Every frame and every scene is meticulously crafted and eye-gasmically shot that is leaves you flabbergasted wondering just how they pulled it off.
Suffice to say, I have never been this invested in the Academy Awards. I will not bat an eye when Frances McDormand wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role honour or when Gary Oldman wins the Best Actor statuette.
I will not change my facial expression when The Shape of Water wins Best Picture or when Christopher Nolan wins Best Director.
There is but one category that I will be awaiting with baited breath because it is the one in which a legend of the industry must be belatedly honoured. Roger Deakins is that legend and, after 13 previous denials, the 2018 Academy Awards should be his crowning moment