Categories One-by-One: Music Score

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Music Score

Postby mlrg » Thu Feb 19, 2015 4:53 am

The Original BJ wrote:One of my favorite moments EVER in terms of controversy over previously-written music was when the score clip played for Babel at the Academy Awards to represent its nomination (and eventual win) WASN'T music written for the movie.


Yes, it was even used in The Insider

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Music Score

Postby The Original BJ » Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:08 pm

One of my favorite moments EVER in terms of controversy over previously-written music was when the score clip played for Babel at the Academy Awards to represent its nomination (and eventual win) WASN'T music written for the movie.

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Music Score

Postby Big Magilla » Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:52 pm

The problem I have with the score for The Theory of Everything is that it does the work of the screenplay, which is probably the fault of documentary director James Marsh who doesn't really know how to direct a movie about people. With documentaries, particularly nature documentaries, you can just point the camera and let the non-human subjects do what they do. The music score fills in the blanks. Here you have a film where nothing really happens. We're told that Hawking is a great man, is a scientific genius, that he and Jane had this great love and son on. Little is shown and less is spoken to support this. Jane supposedly chaste romance with Jonathan (Charlie Cox) has more heat to it than anything between Jane and Stephen. But there's that incessant music soaring above everything.
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Re: Categories One-by-One: Music Score

Postby OscarGuy » Wed Feb 18, 2015 7:26 am

Which, if you think about it, is why Birdman was declared ineligible. The branch thought voters would mistake previous recordings with the actual score. Sounds to me like they still have a flawed rationale for this.
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Re: Categories One-by-One: Music Score

Postby Heksagon » Wed Feb 18, 2015 2:02 am

Credited yes, but properly credited, I’m not so sure. Few people read the "small print" in end credits.

More to the point, if someone wins an Oscar for writing a score, people will imagine that he wrote the whole substantial score - perhaps excluding some well known pieces and short segments. Even more worryingly, there’s a good chance that at least some of the people voting for the awards have thought this is the case.

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Music Score

Postby dws1982 » Mon Feb 16, 2015 9:17 am

But they didn't try to take credit for anyone's work--it's properly attributed in the closing credits.

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Music Score

Postby Heksagon » Mon Feb 16, 2015 2:02 am

I’m starting to think that the Music Branch should maybe get a little more aggressive in ruling out composers that try to take credit for other people’s work.

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Music Score

Postby Big Magilla » Sat Feb 14, 2015 11:35 am

I doubt most Academy members would know the difference either, so here we go again.
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Re: Categories One-by-One: Music Score

Postby dreaMaker » Sat Feb 14, 2015 11:12 am

I had an interesting conversation with two Golden Globe voters two weeks ago. They said that many of voting members had voted for Johann Johannsson's score from The Theory of Everything mainly because of the beautiful last composition. However, at that time they didn't know it wasn't Johannsson's original composition at all, but used score from The Crimson Wing by Cinematic Orchestra. Personally, I think the score from Theory of Everything was good, but I wonder if he would have won a Golden Globe if they knew the last composition wasn't Johannsson's. Don't think so.

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Music Score

Postby dws1982 » Fri Feb 13, 2015 7:30 pm

I think The Theory of Everything is good enough to be an acceptable winner in this category. I'd probably vote for Grand Budapest, but I think it's a good score. I don't recall if Theory had opening credits or not, but if it did I missed the composer's name. I remember thinking when I was watching, "this is one of my favorite Desplat scores in awhile". Turns out not to have even been him. Wouldn't have a problem at all with it winning, especially over The Imitation Game, which I think is Desplat at his most blandly-Hollywood, and it never shut up either. I actually leaned to a friend during the movie and uttered the words, "I hate this music".

Close race. I kind of lean towards Theory as the winner, but I could see Grand Budapest storming through several categories (who would've thought a Wes Anderson movie would possibly end up as the biggest Oscar-winner or this--or any--year?) and picking this one up too.

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Music Score

Postby The Original BJ » Fri Feb 13, 2015 2:06 pm

Another tough category, mainly because the nominees are, if not tremendous, pretty good for what was on offer this year (once you allow for the unfortunate Birdman ineligibility.)

Mr. Turner's score is very effective in its appropriately spare way, but I concur that it seems like the longest of long-shots. Yershon is a virtually unknown commodity, his movie's profile is far lower than his competitors, and it's just not the kind of lush music that nearly always wins.

I actually think the score is one of the best elements of Interstellar -- it's bombastic for sure, but memorably so, both driving and haunting and, aiding its chances here the most, all over the place in that movie. But given that the three Best Picture nominees all seem fully qualified to win the music prize, I think overall lack of enthusiasm for Interstellar will severely limit Zimmer's chances.

I rate the other three nominees completely possible winners, and as in many categories, I'm not quite sure where to bet yet.

Honestly, when I saw The Imitation Game, I thought -- that's the Original Score winner. It's not that the score was tremendous or anything -- like the movie itself, it was traditional British bio stuff -- but the music was very prominent throughout, the main theme is pretty easy to recall, and I thought the Desplat overdue factor would be the icing on the cake. I still rate it a strong possibility -- it's well within the wheelhouse of what voters choose here -- but as with The Imitation Game as a whole, it's had a surprisingly inert precursor run past the consistently strong nomination stage. Losing both the Globe and the BAFTA when it feels like it could easily have taken one or both can't be a great sign.

That said, I'm not sure why The Theory of Everything has seemingly pulled ahead in this category. I have a fairly mixed reaction to the music here. Every time I've heard it -- watching the movie, listening to the score on YouTube, hearing it at awards shows, I think, oh, that's pretty. And then I promptly forget everything about what it sounds like. I wouldn't view it as an exceedingly offensive choice -- you can see why it's getting attention, for sure -- but like the movie as a whole, it's fairly generic stuff, and I'd truly be bummed if it cost Desplat the prize this year, even for the lesser of his two nominations.

I think The Grand Budapest Hotel is the clear best nominee here, the Desplat entry that recalls the level of innovation in many of his earlier scores from a time before he started getting Oscar nods. And it's the nominee here that shows the widest range -- there are so many DIFFERENT memorable music themes here, with the bouncy, jazzy hotel theme featured in the trailer the most catchy of any nominated score. I'm with Mister Tee in hoping that the category shakes out in favor of Budapest, both as a way to honor the oft-ignored composer and his sprightly work on this film. The BAFTA and Grammy wins suggest maybe a fairly wide range of people are responding well to this score, and perhaps Oscar will follow suit?

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Music Score

Postby CalWilliam » Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:29 am

This is definitely between Budapest, The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything. If Hans Zimmer didn't win in 2010 for Inception, Interstellar has no chance for his effective but invasive organ. And Mr. Turner is a pleasant surprise and a very worthy nominee whose score fits perfectly with the film's intentions and main character, which doesn't happen too often. Of course, Yershon's victory would be a tremendous upset.

This year is a fine opportunity to reward Alexandre Desplat. I happen to be neutral because I think both Budapest and Imitation works are equally deserving, though it's true the former provides a more stimulating range. Nevertheless, for those who reject the latter's score, I'd say it's a very solid work, not genuinely innovative, sure, but utterly arresting and affecting. As a winner, The Imitation Game would be a decent one, specially when it comes to my mind a few scores that prevailed here and far worse than this one: Gravity, Slumdog Millionaire, Brokeback Mountain, Babel or Love Story. Desplat's chances are more likable for Budapest, sure, due to Bafta's and Weinstein's awful and tiresome campaign.

My biggest fear of the evening: The Theory of Everything not getting only Score, but Actor and Adapted Screenplay also. Even by 90's standards, this victory would be a dull one. (The end credits of this film don't even show original music by Johann Johansson. Its track is called Arrival of the birds and it belongs to a 2008's flamingos documentary).
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Re: Categories One-by-One: Music Score

Postby nightwingnova » Thu Feb 12, 2015 2:23 am

The only consistent factor I've found in this category is that the last five winners were all Best Picture nominees.

That makes it between Hotel, Theory and Imitation. Beyond that, I don't have a clue.

I may have to rely on what I hear from the Oscar bloggers on the ground.

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Music Score

Postby Okri » Wed Feb 11, 2015 9:31 pm

Before we dive into it, can we just say that this is perhaps the most competitive oscars we've had in a long while? We have some races that seem like they are genuine three and four horse races and very few categories seem locked down - outside of the acting categories, anyway. Whoever wins the oscar pool will be very, very lucky.

This category is certainly competitive, if not as outrageously so. First out, I think, is Mr. Turner. I have to admit, even after hearing the score (but not seeing the film), I don't get how it got nominated. It's a good score, for sure, but it's feels very unusual a choice for this staid branch. An unknown scoring (sorry) a nomination despite the film being a minor entrant in the oscar race? Kudos, Mr. Yershon, kudos.

Desplat winning for The Imitation Game would floor me. I'd actually rank him last if the film had less of an impact.

No one seems to be talking about Interstellar at all anywhere. It's crash and burn has been amusing.

If Shakespeare in Love competed against Life is Beautiful, which film would win? The former's jaunty tunes vs the latter's repetitive bathos? Tee, I'm surprised you don't remember the score to The Theory of Everything - just remember the music playing every time Eddie Redmayne accepts an award and queue repeat. I kid, but not by much. The movie is bathed in music and I actually don't hate it - I'm listening to it right now as I type this.

Of course, it's not nearly as good as Desplat's score for The Grand Budapest Hotel. And the film is really well liked. But I actually think The Theory of Everything is more liked than we'd like to accept. But The Grand Budapest Hotel has outperformed virtually every expectation this oscar race - more than twice as many nominations as Anderson's previous films combined (what?). Open races have a habit of looking clearer in retrospect - Tee, Italiano and BJ sounded the gong early for this film as a legitimate contender across the board. But that works both ways.

I'm going to predict The Theory of Everything here.

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Categories One-by-One: Music Score

Postby Mister Tee » Wed Feb 11, 2015 8:34 pm

Yet another unsettled below-the-line category.

The nominees:

The Grand Budapest Hotel, Alexandre Desplat
The Imitation Game, Alexandre Desplat
Interstellar, Hans Zimmer
Mr. Turner, Gary Yershon
The Theory of Everything, Johann Johannsson

Yershon’s opening credit in Mr. Turner happened to arrive at a moment the music was swelling lushly; maybe that’s the reason his work stood out for me. It was quite a coup, for such a small film as this to get nominated here (design citations were a lot easier to come by), but I think the nomination is where it ends.

There was a good bit of grumbling about Zimmer’s music drowning out dialogue in Interstellar (especially in that scene with Michael Caine dying – though it didn’t much matter, since the info from that scene was repeated at least twice more). I’m not sure that complaint by itself would be disqualifying, but combined with the fact that no one seems all that enthused about the music or, for that matter, the film, it makes Ziimmer a second-tier candidate.

The race appears to me to be a three-sided one, which could be decided by how the contenders are grouped. Is it Desplat vs. Desplat, with the third option triumphing? Or is it slurpy British biopic vs. slurpy British biopic, with the fiction film benefiting?

I confess, I have almost no specific recall of the music in The Theory of Everything – it sits in my brain as generalized mush-with-strings, indistinguishable from a dozen other such scores I’ve heard over the years. This was of course enough for the Hollywood Foreign Press, and it’s also been enough for much of the Awards Daily gang to have been predicting it all season long.

If it has to be a British nostalgia score, I’d easily choose Desplat’s Imitation Game work. It’s not particularly special, but it rises above bathos, at least. However…the opportunity is there for voters to honor Desplat in a far more creative mode.

An interesting element of this season has been the tunnel vision displayed by lots of Oscar bloggers. As late as December, for many of them, Unbroken ruled, and Grand Budapest Hotel was barely top 15 material; even today, none of them consider Guardians of the Galaxy a factor in make-up, even though many of us see it as potential winner; and, up till a few nights ago, few even seemed to consider that Desplat might win for his Grand Budapest score. In a way, I’m annoyed with the BAFTAs (and Grammys), for blowing my cover: I’d hope to unmask the Grand Budapest score as a personal pick that wasn’t being widely touted. Now I think there’ll be a fair number of people noticing that it’s from the year’s most nominated film, it offers a far more memorable theme than any other nominee, and it’d be a perfect spot to honor both a popular movie and a far-too-long-denied composer for exceptional work. It’s my prediction for how this category finally shakes out.


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