The 84th Academy Awards takes place this Sunday. We thought we’d call up drum & bass’s resident film buff High Contrast for his predictions. Applying his trademark high definition attention to detail you’ll find on his new single, he’s come back with detailed reflections on the Oscars AND created his own alternative awards. Ladies, gentlemen, esteemed guests, High Contrast brings you… The Contras!
Take it away, Mr Contrast….
My feelings towards the Oscars are certainly mixed. I think the whole circus of awards and their ceremonies can all be a bit silly. But at the same time, if they actually recognise good work and can help more of it to get made, then that’s something.
Of course the Oscars seem to get it wrong more often than right…. Forrest Gump beating Pulp Fiction? The Kings Speech beating True Grit, Black Swan and The Social Network? But at least they aim to be reflections of cinematic worth rather than box office receipts. 2008 Best Picture winner The Hurt Locker, for example, made only $17 million in US cinemas.
So here’s my take on 6 Oscar categories this year…
This category was expanded to 10 nominees recently which, in theory, allows for a more interesting mix. Yet I cannot believe that Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy didn’t get in. Especially as at least three of those that did are highly dubious entries. I think Tinker Tailor was the best all-rounder from the last year and really is the kind of intelligent, artistic, entertaining movie that the Oscars should get behind. Out of the actual nominees I’m happy that Tree of Life is in there as that was probably my favourite film from last year but I fully accept it’s not a perfect film and polarises audiences in a way that Tinker Tailor does not.
My Oscar choice: Tree of Life
Contra choice: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Well at least Gary Oldman has finally been recognised by the Academy and some light is being shone on to Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. I’d be more than happy if he won this but suspect Jean Dujardin will walk away with it for his role in The Artist. However I think Ryan Gosling at least deserved a nomination for his acting in Drive. I loved the film and his performance was absolutely key. Some would disagree as he seems to do very little in the film, he hardly moves or says anything except for a few outbursts of violence. His face is mostly blank. But that’s why it’s so great; it’s very hard to pull this kind of minimalism off and still deliver a gripping performance but I really think he did.
My Oscar choice: Gary Oldman
Contra choice: Ryan Gosling
Out of the actual nominees I would go for Rooney Mara as The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo as it is a hell of a performance by anyone’s standards but two of the best female performances are not even nominated. Tilda Swinton in We Need To Talk About Kevin and Kirsten Dunst in Melancholia. I think Dunst deserves the most recognition for conveying such a complex character.
My Oscar choice: Rooney Mara
Contra choice: Kirsten Dunst
I really hope Emmanuel Lubezki wins this for his work in Tree of Life which is clearly the most beautifully shot film of the year regardless of whether you liked the overall experience.
My Oscar / Contra choice: Emmanuel Lubezki.
I’d go for Terrence Malick for Tree of Life again as it’s the most radically constructed film since 2001: A Space Odyssey. But I would love to have seen Nicolas Winding Refn nominated for Drive, his direction really elevated the pulpy script to another artistic level. At least Cannes gave him this award.
My Oscar choice: Terrence Malick
Contra choice: Nicolas Winding Refn
Music (Original Score)
Alberto Iglesias’ score for Tinker Tailor was just right: tense but pretty subtle, in keeping with the tone of the film. My favourite original music from a film over the last year, however, was from the great Brit alt comedy Submarine which featured new songs by Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys who, for my money, is the best British lyricist working today.
My Oscar choice: Alberto Iglesias
Contra choice: Alex Turner
The single Agony & The Ecstasy Featuring Selah Corbin is out now… And his new album of the same name is out next Monday!
Plus, catch High Contrast on the D&BTV Live Hospital Records show next Wednesday.