Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Awards-Nazi Award nominations: Original Score

I find myself repeating what I did with my Adapted Screenplay nominees: I hate to be negative on such a great year for film, but I gotta say that it was not a particularly great year for Original Scores specifically. The five listed after the cut are good, but in a normal year I think only a couple of them would have made my ballot. But enough crapping on my own nominees! Here are the five that made it:

Gravity (Steven Price)
Hard to imagine that Gravity was originally conceived as a silent film, because Price's compositions are such a big part of upping the tension, especially in the absence of quick cutting to hype it up instead. Some complain that the score is overwhelming, but that may be more the fault of the mix than the music itself. Listening to it, it actually stands pretty well on its own.

Her (Arcade Fire [William Butler, Owen Pallett])
I had serious doubts the Academy's conservative music branch would go all in for the mesmerizing sonic tones of French Canadian indie rockers Arcade Fire, but I suppose I should've given them (who also sprung for Trent Reznor a few years ago) the benefit of the doubt. The music's tenderness is as integral as the editing or cinematography to casting its dreamlike trance.

Man of Steel (Hans Zimmer)
It's hard to top John Williams' original Superman theme in terms of iconography, but Zimmer gives it more than a good shot with a propulsive action score whose main theme is probably the most memorable work of instrumental movie music this year. Hair-raising and imposing, it keeps a riveting pace even as the film's controversial climax drags on.

Out of the Furnace (Dickon Hinchliffe)
This earthy acoustic-over-strings score creates a perfect, unified voice for the film's soundtrack. Ominous, brooding, and completely at home with the film's bleak visuals, it never draws undue attention towards itself but adds a great deal to this smoldering thriller.

The Wind Rises (Joe Hisaishi)
Miyazaki's longtime composer contributes a typically lovely score, replete with the airy strings and sparse piano ornaments that have always been a big part of Studio Ghibli's aesthetic. But in addition to that, Hisaishi also produces a more atypical central theme whose Italian vibe is a clear tip of the hat to Jiro Horikoshi's hero and inspiration, Giovanni Caproni.

Just missed:
All Is Lost (Alex Ebert)
Saving Mr. Banks (Thomas Newman)
Short Term 12 (Joel P. West)
Spring Breakers (Cliff Martinez, Skrillex)
Star Trek Into Darkness (Michael Giacchino)

1 comment:

  1. Nice to see someone else agreeing with me that Man of Steel's score was excellent.