Righting One of Oscar’s Greatest Wrongs

Thanks to the Variety series on this year’s Oscar-nominated cinematographers, I am reminded of one of my cinematic life’s most painful, inexplicable truths:

Roger Deakins has never won an Oscar.

As someone who has seen none of the 2012 films in question, I can’t speak to Deakins’ worthiness in this particular contest. Where I to find myself in the “Predict As If Your Life Depends On It” scenario, I’d bet that Claudio Miranda’s work on Life of Pi is most likely to bring home the statue. And he may be eminently worthy. But setting particular films aside for the moment, Deakins needs to win an Oscar and soon, lest I lose all faith in the Human Race. Or in the Oscar Voters. (Those Venn circles might not actually touch, come to think of it.)

In an attempt to quell my (previously spectacularly justified) fears that Deakins will not get a little gold status for his mantle, I’m watching the “Money Train” sequence from The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Forda strangely hypnotic (and sadly unpopular) film that was dramatically enhanced by Deakins’ artistry. (It was the following sequence in particular that first made me sit up and take notice.)

And when I’m done, I think I’ll watch the opening scene from the Coens’ True Grit. Just to be safe. Or the closing sequence from Kundun. Or The Village. Or The Man Who Wasn’t There. Or …you get my point.

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(Bonus Linkfest: TAoJJbtCRF was adapted from a book by Ron Hansen, a Catholic deacon who has been the subject of some really interesting pieces. Like this PBS profile. Or this article. Or this “Fresh Air” piece.)

About Joseph Susanka

Joseph has been doing development work for institutions of Catholic higher education since graduating from Thomas Aquinas College in 1999. A grateful resident of Wyoming, he spends his free time exploring the beautiful Wind River Mountains, keeping track of his (currently) seven sons, being amazed by his (currently) lone daughter, and thanking his lucky stars for Netflix.

  • Harry Piper

    The fact that Assassination is not more appreciated is an indisputable proof that Original Sin indeed exists and man is corrupted in his very nature.


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