Sufjan Stevens’ face, like his music, contains multitudes. His Oscars performance was just over a minute-and-a-half, but during that 105 seconds his face cycles through enough expressions to last a lifetime. When compiling screenshots of his expressions for this ranking, the video had to be slowed down to half speed just so they could all be captured.
On Sufjan’s face we can see thousands of emotions, ones that are infinitely more complex than just “happy” or “sad” or “angry” –– so complex, in fact, that the only descriptors one can really use for them are lyrics from “Mystery of Love,” the song Sufjan performed at the Oscars. It would take days to properly rank all of Sufjan’s facial expressions, but here are the top six.
6. "Woe is me"
This facial expression is ranked lowest of the six not because it's a bad facial expression, but because the pain conveyed on Sufjan's face is too much to bear. Just as Armie Hammer's character in Call Me By Your Name can't control his insatiable hunger for eggs, Sufjan can't control his insatiable hunger for sadness.
5. "The first time that you kissed me" Part 1
Do you think Sufjan has experienced true love before? I think so. This expression makes me think so. It was probably a long time ago now, but he remembers it clearly, as if it were yesterday. The mystery of love still beguiles.
4. "Will wonders ever cease?"
I hope that one day, when I'm older, I can be as hopeful as Sufjan is in this picture. Look at his eyes, staring out of frame as if towards the future. This expression is youthful in spirit, but wise, too; Sufjan has seen things, more than we ever will.
3. "Cursed by the love that I received"
Sufjan knows love, but he also knows pain. Boy oh boy does he know pain. He has been hurt before, and hurt deeply –– just look at his eyes, the way his brow furrows. This is a man who has loved and lost. The wounds aren't fresh, but they've left scars.
2. "The first time that you kissed me" Part 2
Sufjan was the perfect choice to write original songs for Call Me By Your Name because he remembers the surprise and thrill of young love. You can see it in his eyes here, so wide and alive.
To the untrained eye, "The first time that you kissed me" Part 2 looks nearly identical to "The first time that you kissed me" Part 1, but don't be deceived –– these are incredibly different expressions. Take a look at his eyes in each photo:
As I said: Multitudes.
1. "Blessed be the mystery of love"
This expression barely even needs a caption. It is hope, joy, love, pride, infinite positive energies, all captured in one beautiful, angelic face. It's hard to know why he looks so happy here; maybe he's thinking about a lakebed, or a psalm, or God's love. Or, most likely, all three.
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