Superman Stats

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

The Underdog Awards 2015: Part 1

The Underdog Awards

Hall of Fame 2015

Welcome to the second annual Underdog Awards. 

This year the awards celebrate everything about the underrated, and that also applies to the men and women who for years have worked their ass of without the recognition they deserve (and yes that applies to Gary Oldman as well). 

The first ever Hall of Fame aims celebrate the careers of five individuals who have changed the shape of a brand of cinema with their works. They are chameleons (Oldman), champions (Weaver), visionaries (Jodorowsky), magicians (Ballhaus) and eccentrics (Kaufman). 

If anything, these five are great artists that deserve to be celebrated so let's get it on.

Michael Ballhaus


In the late 1970's, German cinematographer Michael Ballhaus made a name for himself collaborating with director Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Despite his worn out tenure with the man, Ballhaus crafted a masterful vision of the post war work that Fassbinder delved into with his own camera work and exquisite lighting capturing the moods and tones of money, sex, pride and cruelty that embody the works of Fassbinder. 

However the work that makes him world renowned, is his masterful collaboration with a top class auteur known as Martin Scorsese. His work literally embodied the idea of the films Scorsese made, whether it was the lurid night time acidity in After Hours or the lavish and stylistic mob lifestyle brought by the textures and sharp clarity in Goodfellas. He literally made it look so good that it made you say 'I always wanted to be a gangster'.

It is such a hand in hand collaboration that the films feel seamless thanks to it. The cinematography basically becomes the natural mood of the feature. 

Apart from Scorsese, Ballhaus went onto collaborate with tons of other directors such as Frank Oz, Paul Newman, James L. Brooks, Robert Redford and Mike Nichols. 

He breathed depth and life into the dreariness of Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula. He gave just the right touch and style to Mike Nichols Working Girl, that opening aerial shot of the liberty statue is a marvel to behold. 

Ballhaus has been nominated for multiple Academy Awards among others, but has never won one. As aforementioned, he makes his work so natural that it seeps into environment never distracting from the film and never looking out of sorts. 

So here's to Michael Ballhaus, a deserving entry into the Underdog Hall of Fame.

Charlie Kaufman

They might not be my favorite, but I worship and admire the brilliance and eccentricity of writer Charlie Kaufman's works. In fact he's not a screen writer but more of an artist. Painting his surreal works with a thoughtful and deeply engaged brush. 

His works would thus become masterstrokes, delving into powerful ideas of identity, mortality and life through the peering dissection of our psyche. 

His work derives from the oddly realistic (Adaptation and Confessions of A Dangerous Mind) to dreamily profound (Being John Malkovich) to a mixture of both (Synechdoche, New York and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). The conflicts he brings out from the dual sides of fantasy and reality, leave the audiences with spell binding questions on life and make Kaufman's work marvelously impact-full. 

Kaufman is the embodiment of originality. Utilizing his tricks of the trade in a masterful fashion to create features that not only challenge the audience but engage them on another dimension altogether.   

Nowhere is it more clear that this man deserves high praise, then when watching his indescribable cinematic masterpieces. 

Charlie Kaufman, for your brilliant services to keep originality thriving in cinema; the Underdog Awards welcomes you to the Hall of Fame!

Sigourney Weaver

To say Ripley is a magnificent character would be an understatement. To say only Sigourney Weaver could have played her, a cold hard fact. Yet despite being possibly one of the greatest female characters, it's unfair that Ripley marks the staple point of Weaver's varied and brilliant career as a sensational actor. 

She's a multi-nominated actor including a dual golden globe winner in the same year for two different roles. She's a headlining A-Lister and yes she is undoubtably the Sci-Fi Queen. 

Yet when one thinks of Sigourney Weaver, one normally tends to think of Ripley and the Alien franchise. Not that they shouldn't, Weaver's work as the hard fighting Ripley is iconic. 

She should also be recognized for her lauded turns in films such as Working Girl, Gorillas in the Mist and Ice Storm. 

But also the work that one tends to overlook. Her feisty, sexy and equality championing sci-fi actor in Galaxy Quest. Her bossy, bitchy and headstrong network president in the underrated TV Set. Or her determined, slightly deranged and convinced housewife in Death and the Maidens. Or the conniving and manipulative business shark in Working Girl. 

I could go on and on, but the fact of the matter is Weaver is fantastic and as you might note plays strong and complex roles, ones that demand of her as an actor even Ripley. It's a testament to her prowess that she has not deterred from being a torch bearer for the equality in gender roles.  

So a salute to the new hall of famer, the Sci-Fi Queen; Sigourney Weaver! 

(Cannot wait for her return as Ripley in Alien 5!)

Alejandro Jodorowsky

Honest confession, prior to last year; I had no idea who Alejandro Jodorowsky was. My first taste of this mad and passionate film maker was through the documentary of his unmade film; Dune. There couldn't have been a better welcoming into the world of the majestically fascinating artist. 

His passion for Dune and the depth and range of emotions he expelled during the documentary, speaking deliberately of his most loving piece of cinema won men over. I just had to get a taste of this man's weird filmography. 

It was the first time I was stumped, even the most opaque of films can be slotted into a genre, but Jodorowsky's mad cap brilliance is so out there and so surreal, it's hard to paint a picture of what his films are about. Whether it be El Topo or Holy Mountain, Jodorowsky is a genius and a crazy dude. 

His films are cult masterpieces and he in turn the truest definition of a cinematic underdog. Heck he was even wronged by the big powers of the cinematic landscape. Nothing beats his grandiose vision for Dune and what that film accomplished for decades of blockbuster cinema, without even being made. 

It changed the landscape of major genre films in sci-fi to fantasy. 

Jodorowsky is a wonder to behold, I'd suggest watch his documentary then delve into his films and just fall in love with the Hall of Fame inductee of 2015!

Gary Oldman

And the MVP of the night!

Can we really call Gary Oldman underrated? Not really

He has a celebrated and storied career and thanks to terrific performances in two good modern franchises, he is well known. But the truth is Oldman is master class, who should be just showered praise like every single day. 

No honestly, here is an actor who takes the sheer magnificence and dramatic power of theater onto the most iconic cinematic villains and turns these dialed performances into layered characters. You either can do over the top or peel layers of complexity of a character, you can't do both. Gary Oldman can do both. 

From Leon: The Professional to Air Force One, no one matches the level of intensity Oldman brings to a role. No one matches his delectable performance of delectable characters. 

It's become passe to say nobody could have played the character but in Oldman's case it's true. Whether it's Sid Vicious (in Sid and Nancy) or Norman Smiley (in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy). The man's devotion to his roles and each essence of theirs is an inspiration. 

For all those people who clamor for Leonardo DiCaprio to win an Oscar. It's going to be a hard hitting truth to know that Gary Oldman has never won one, yet worse still his only nomination came only recently in 2012. 

A huge applause to a man awarded so little but loved so much. Welcome to the 2015 Underdog Awards; Hall of Fame!

 So that's it for this years big dogs heading to Underdog Hall of Fame glory. We'll see you next time, with a set of five individual who deserve to be celebrated like no one else. 

Till then enjoy the Underdog Awards 2015...

Up Next: The big film awards for Underdog Best Feature Documentary and Foreign Language   

'Nuff Said

Aneesh Raikundalia

No comments:

Post a Comment