2012: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Jamie Foxx, and Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained
My Take: I loved Django Unchained when I attended a special advance screening a few weeks ago. I called it a “smart, sly, witty, touching, and informative look at a slave-revenge narrative that it didn’t water down the portrayal of slavery or its impact on those it affected but does find humor in unexpected places” on social media after I walked out of the theater. From it’s modern use of the western genre to the great cameos from Franco Nero, Jonah Hill, and QT himself to the seemingly simple story of a man doing everything in his power to reclaim the live of his life, Django Unchained stays true to the Tarantino repertoire of films including his special attention given to the accompanying music (there isn’t a moment that you don’t know you’re watching a Tarantino movie) but this one takes the viewer on a journey to a different Tarantino-esque world. This is a world where a free Black man can be bounty hunter in the pre-Civil War and take revenge on the system that made him a prisoner and victim for most of his life. Some choose to harp on the fact that this is historically inaccurate; I choose to revel in the tiny bit of justice afforded to Django that was not to others in his position in history. I think people are looking at this as a slavery movie which it isn’t: it is a movie that uses slavery as a backdrop to a man’s revenge on people who took away his dignity and a system that disregards those he has a kinship with. It is a movie that offers some sly winks and clever peaks (I wholeheartedly disagree with critics who claim that the movie isn’t “clever enough”) into the fine line that differentiates slavery from the economics and morality of using someone for your own needs and your own means to an end, how those that claimed superiority maybe have been inferior in intellect, and how the enemy, in many cases, wore the face of oppressed. The only misstep in this movie for me was the last 15 minutes or so which bordered being contrived just in order to leave the audience with some satisfaction at the end. Leonardo DiCaprio was the standout performance for this for his portrayal of a man the could easily be the face of this brutal institution in how he rationalizes it and takes enjoyment in it; he deserves the Oscar. My Grade: A-
Can’t get enough of reading about Django Unchained? Here are some posts from around the web featuring commentary on the film and its cast:
The entire movie soundtrack.
Frank Ocean’s unused soundtrack song, ‘Wise Man’.
John Legend discusses his music contribution.
QT’s soundtrack commentary.
The cast on working with Tarantino.
12 minutes of shooting footage.
QT talks Django on Howard Stern.
Django and its connections to past films.