For the second year in a row, stock photography agency Shutterstock has asked its design team to mash-up its library of 30 million stock photos, vector graphics, and illustrations into original new pop art-styled posters for Academy Award Best Picture contenders. And many of these are more memorable than the originals.
In the original poster for Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, for example, a smug Leonardo DiCaprio folds his hands in front of a scene of bacchanalia representing the pre-Bear Stearns stock market. I prefer Shutterstock’s version, designed by Jordan Roland, which channels the art of Robert Dowd to a show a hundred dollar bill’s likeness of Benjamin Franklin with a bloodied nose.
Similarly, Cristin Burton’s adaptation of Alexander Payne’s Nebraska poster embraces Andy Warhol’s pop art portraits of consumer products to symbolically represent much of the film’s plot–from Bruce Dern’s past life as a mechanic, to the road trip he and his son take through the titular state–as represented via a pool of oil dribbling from beneath the can. The bright colors of Shutterstock’s version also manage to subvert the film’s actual monochrome, black-and-white look.
Some of these, though, I like less. Deanna Paquette’s version of Spike Jonez’s Her poster embraces the color scheme of the original, but also, perhaps, is too overtly symbolic of the film’s plot about the intertwining of technology and romance. I much prefer the original poster, which is just a photo of a mustached Joaquin Phoenix. It somehow says everything about the nebbish loneliness of his character.
Likewise, Kathy Cho’s Twelve Years a Slave cover doesn’t have the power of the original, which simply shows actor Chiwetel Ejiofor running across a black expanse, both to and from nowhere. And while I kind of like Lily Ou’s pop art take on Gravity, it looks more like the cover to a B-52’s CD than a film about existential loneliness, the human survival instinct, and the power of hope.
There are also posters for American Hustle, Dallas Buyer’s Club, Captain Phillips and Philomena. They’re all interesting, thought-provoking interpretations of some of 2013’s best films, and enough to make you wonder why pop art hasn’t influenced the graphic design of movie posters nearly the same way it has books.
Check out the full collection here.