In defense of Leonardo DiCaprio

January 18, 2013 § Leave a comment

It’s that time of year again: award season. This means many things. It means we get to be astounded by some of the red carpet fashion faux pas and feel slightly awkward when speeches get cut off by that pesky music. We get to praise the winners or fume over those who got snubbed. But more than anything, we get to once again feel sorry for Leonardo DiCaprio.

Sure, Leo’s won plenty of awards. He even won a Golden Globe in 2005 for his role in The Aviator. But he hasn’t won one before or since. And he’s never won an Academy Award.

In fact, he’s only been nominated for an Oscar three times (for What’s Eating Gilbert GrapeThe Aviator, and Blood Diamond). You’d think one day he might try to take a page out of Dom Cobb’s book and plant the idea of winning in the Academy’s mind. At this point that seems like it might be his best chance to take home that little golden statue.

Don’t misunderstand me here. I think DiCaprio deserves an Oscar or three (or five). He should have at least been nominated for Shutter Island and Revolutionary Road. But he always gets passed over.

Sadly, that continues to be the case this year as well. DiCaprio was excellent in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained as Calvin Candie, the despicable slave owner we all love to hate. There was a glimmer of hope at the Golden Globes where he was nominated for best supporting actor. But the award went to his costar Christoph Waltz. Waltz was fantastic as well, but it still stung a little. And it hurt all that much more that DiCaprio was not nominated for an Academy Award.

Alas, we will have to wait for next year’s award season and hope that our Leo gets the recognition he deserves then. Baz Luhrmann’s remake of The Great Gatsby looks very promising. DiCaprio is also starring in Martin Scorsese’s new film The Wolf of Wall Street, set to be released sometime this year.

We will wait out the year in anticipation of the 2014 award season. We know that one day Leonardo DiCaprio will win that much sought after Academy Award. And until then, we will not let go of our hope. We’ll never let go.

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Respect the BRRRM

January 10, 2013 § Leave a comment

BRRRM. BRRRM. BRRRM.

Cue the white van falling from the bridge in slow motion.

In case you live under a rock, the bit above is from Inception, and that BRRRM is one of the defining aspects of the soundtrack.

The soundtrack to Inception is one of the highlights of the film. It is visceral and in your face, and its impact is obvious. More often, however, soundtracks are subtle and sometimes go unnoticed. That doesn’t mean they’re any less important than the BRRRM.

For instance, I recently watched Beasts of the Southern Wild, and I was blown away by the soundtrack. That may be partly because I love bluegrass music, I’ll admit, but it was mostly because of how seamlessly it flows underneath the images in the film.

String instruments like the fiddle, the mandolin and the banjo keep the music grounded in the southern delta where the film is set. Often a soundtrack can feel forced or out of place, but the music in Beasts of the Southern Wild gives a sense of honesty to the emotions of the scenes. Even the shots of the aurochs (a cattle-like animal) seem realistic, which is impressive considering that they’ve been extinct since the 1600s.

Although the Beasts of the Southern Wild soundtrack never physically shakes your seat with its intensity, it is still strong music that helps carry the film. The script doesn’t need any help, but the music adds that little bit of extra truth anyway. It’s more of a lowercase brrrm, but it’s there nonetheless.

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