Categories One-by-One: Original Score

Franz Ferdinand
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Re: Categories One-by-One: Original Score

Postby Franz Ferdinand » Mon Feb 26, 2018 2:39 pm

An engaging read on the Phantom Thread score from a music blog.

https://www.stereogum.com/1984644/the-l ... ing-board/

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Original Score

Postby The Original BJ » Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:24 pm

A pretty good lineup. I'd probably pitch Carter Burwell for a double nomination -- his Wonderstruck work was quite memorable, but it's good he at least got one nomination for the year.

I had a momentary bit of happiness on Oscar nom morning when John Williams was omitted for his fairly ho-hum work on The Post...only to have that dashed when he was nominated AGAIN for basically recycling his greatest hits. I'm sure some Star Wars fanatic will point me toward all the new music he wrote for the film, but seriously, are those the themes anyone remembers from these movies?

Dunkirk is pretty muscular scoring, very effective within the context of the action sequences, and a solid nominee. But despite the prominence of the music throughout, I don't think it has a melodious enough central theme to prevail here, though.

The brooding Three Billboards score helps give the film a great midwestern neo-noir vibe, and individual moments (like the billboards burning) have far greater impact because of the music accompanying them. I might say the soundtrack songs are a bit more memorable -- and what I left the theater humming -- but this is another very good nominee.

When I saw The Shape of Water, I pretty much thought Alexandre Desplat would win this prize in a walk. From the opening moments, the score gives us an instantly hummable melody, that lulls us right into the film's fantastical world (much the same way the music in another del Toro film, Pan's Labyrinth, did.) And throughout the film, the rich, old-fashioned movie-movie scoring makes one nostalgic for the kinds of sweeping orchestral scores that often use to triumph in this category, without ever seeming like a pale imitation.

Then I saw Phantom Thread, which was also hugely impressive in the musical department, with the nearly wall-to-wall piano scoring providing the perfect sweeping complement to the film's elegant images. I still think that in the end, The Shape of Water will triumph -- Phantom Thread's music is a bit less traditional, and the film perhaps not as strong a candidate overall as del Toro's. But it might be more of a contest than I initially thought.

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Original Score

Postby Sabin » Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:30 pm

That’s interesting, Flipp, because for me the Burwell score is the most memorable tune by far. It hasn’t left my head since seeing the film and I think I didn’t even predict it because the work is so superlative and it doesn’t look like the kind of film that ends up with a score nomination (see also Howard Shore’s effective, jangling tango in ‘The Departed’).

I’m glad I restrain my musings to this place, because trashing Desplat for his ‘The Shape of Water’ score would drive me nuts. Desplat’s work ranks third for me in this lineup, but he remains the most talented composer of our time with an unmatched range of styles. He’s not like John Williams or Thomas Newman in that he rarely injects his own signatures into his work. He’s a director’s composer. Nobody’s film sounds better than when’s Desplat is doing their score. The only real knock against his win (aside from the fact that he’s cannibalizing Amelie) is this is the kind of film he probably would end up winning his first Oscar for for: carried along by a Best Picture heavy for a score that’s good but nothing too distinctive. But he just recently won for a much more distinctive, ambitious, memorable piece of work, where he was nobody’s idea of a clear favorite: up against himself AND some rando for a syrupy love ballad.
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Re: Categories One-by-One: Original Score

Postby Precious Doll » Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:58 am

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri (Carter Burwell)

Can't even recall the score so that says all that needs to be said.

Star Wars: the Last Jedi (John Williams)

Been there, done that. Nothing to hear here, move on....

Dunkirk (Hans Zimmer)

From what I can remember serviceable but not memorable.

The Shape of Water (Alexandre Desplat)

Stunning score that works with the great in harmony. Will make a very deserving and worthy winner.

Phantom Thread (Jonny Greenwood)

Another great score and beautifully complements the film's tone and style. Would be getting my vote on a ballot.
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Categories One-by-One: Original Score

Postby Mister Tee » Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:55 am

Doing my bit to help this series along. The nominees:

Dunkirk (Hans Zimmer)
Phantom Thread (Jonny Greenwood)
The Shape of Water (Alexandre Desplat)
Star Wars: the Last Jedi (John Williams)
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri (Carter Burwell)

Why does John Williams seem exempt from all rules? I’m not simply bitching that he gets nominated just about every time he picks up a baton (though that’s true). What annoys me is, he shows up in circumstances where others would be disqualified. How many times have we seen some composer excluded because his film contained a few minutes of already-used music? Williams opens his film with the now 40-year-old tune, and reprises motifs from earlier films throughout. Yeah, he also wrote some new music; big whoop. It’s still annoying to see him hogging this spot for half-a-retread. Mercifully, voters seem to have moved beyond him for actual prizes; if he couldn’t win when The Force Awakens was being wildly overrated, he’s not going to score for this seen-as-disappointing follow-up.

Carter Burwell isn’t likely to win for Three Billboards, but 1) I liked his work in it and 2) the fact he got recognition here (and for Carol, two years back), after being worthy as far back as Fargo and Gods and Monsters, suggests he’s finally made it into the club, and might contend for a win not too far down the line.

Hans Zimmer is, like Elmer Bernstein, a composer of multiple familiar background themes, whose only Oscar win is for uncharacteristic, adjunct-to-someone-else’s-songs work in a big musical (Bernstein Thoroughly Modern Millie, Zimmer The Lion King). I suspect Zimmer’d really like an Oscar that feels more clearly his own, and I‘d guess that, last summer, when Dunkirk was riding high, his hopes rose that his time was finally here. But, like nearly everything connected with Nolan’s film, he seems to have faded as possible winner – he’s not totally out of the race, but the heat seems to have moved to the other two candidates.

When we last left Jonny Greenwood, his There Will Be Blood score was being knocked out on a technicality. Since his style didn’t seem exactly in the Academy’s wheelhouse, one could have been forgiven for thinking his one chance had gone by the boards. But the music branch, despite much tendency to cronyism, has become a bit more open to fresher approaches of late -- Mica Levi last year, and now Greenwood, getting another shot for his impressively wide-ranging Phantom Thread score. It’s hard to know what will weigh more heavily with voters: the sophistication of Greenwood’s work, or what they might perceive as aloofness in both the music and Anderson’s film as a whole. I give the film a non-zero chance at victory, but I have to say I see it most likely running second.

Alexandre Desplat took a long time to finally win an Oscar, but now, Lubezki-like, he’s poised to add another trophy shortly after his first. It’s a sign of how ridiculously cut-throat the whole online Oscar thing has become that there are Greenwood partisans trashing Desplat’s Shape of Water score as vapid. Desplat has composed (and been nominated for) some thin, uninspiring stuff (Philomena, The Imitation Game), but The Shape of Water strikes me as near-classic movie music – gorgeous melody that brings an audience to rapture at times but never feels cheap or derivative. This score is miles away from Desplat’s previous win, Grand Budapest, but to me it’ll be an equally deserving one. (Though I’ll also be happy to cheer Greenwood should he beat the odds.)


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