Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Animated Oscar Dozen and Other Prediction Bits

The November Oscar Predictions are now fully updated. Major gains for No Country For Old Men (that second viewing gave me confidence that my love for it won't be lonely... it'll have many courters) There will probably be bi-weekly fiddling with the predix once December hits. For now make sure to check out the Animated Feature page (the officially eligible contenders) and the Sound page. I'd love some group input as to the best or most Oscarable scores of the year. The Oscars music branch is so very peculiar -- they're like aliens to me. I never understand what they're thinking. help me

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hmm. Anyone know the geeky stats on how many were eligible for Animated Feature the year they nominated 5? Because this sure looks like a long shortlist to end up with 3...

...well, for this category, at any rate.

Rob

Catherine said...

I still haven't forgiven them for passing over Monster House. Monster House was perfection, cherish my dvd of it like a loved one. Bah.

Anyway, if Shrek 3 gets nominated (which it won't...) I'll be very very pissed.

Anonymous said...

I think you should include the original score for "There Will Be Blood". From the early rave reviews, it looks like it will be the frontrunner. I've heard it and theres a very strong usage of strings. It will definately stand out.

Also Atonement's sound is a definate shoe-in for a nom. How Wright combines the cinematography and the sound effects makes the film so incredible to sit through. Most of the rave reviews mention that.

NATHANIEL R said...

The number required to make 5 nominee wide shortlist is somewhere between 15 and 17 --I forget. no time to look up. So the rules will prevent anything more than 3 nominees this year

personally i think it's silly to ever have 5 nominees here. it makes it like the tony awards. If you actually see release you have a pretty damn good chance of being nominated. if they did the same with live action films there'd be something like 100-150 BP nominees a year

Julia said...

For me, this year has had more great original songs than original scores. I thoroughly enjoyed Eddie Vedder's music in Into the Wild and the lovely songs from Once, and all the sneak peeks I've seen from Enchanted seem to promise some great tunes as well.

Brian said...

In the context of the film, Jonny Greenwood's score does not just stand out- it overwhelms in many places. I'm not so sure this is a good thing from the perspective of the music branch voters, especially coming from a young composer bursting on the scene with a lot of hype and no other narrative film scores under his belt. Composers may feel something like, "hey, how come this novice gets to have his music turned up so loudly in the mix, when my scores get shunted aside in favor of sound effects, dialogue, etc?" Or they might go for its audaciousness after all. But one thing they'll almost certainly note: the usage of pre-existing themes. Perhaps the most memorable piece in the film is one composed and recorded by Greenwood back in 2003. There's also Arvo Part on the soundtrack, and a few other composers as well I believe. Whether it's enough to disqualify Greenwood's score from being "substantially original", we'll have to wait and see.

Patrick said...

Doesn't the music branch have some really strange rule against two composers being nominated for a score? I think that's why James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer got disqualified for Batman Begins and why Lisa Gerard didn't get anything for Gladiator while Hans did (they said he had a larger contribution to the score than her or something?)

Either way, I feel like that spells trouble for Craig Armstrong and A.R. Rahman for The Golden Age.

Another score that I really think should get some attention is Hans Zimmer's Pirates 3 score (This randomly turned into like, a whole post about him...whoops). I know they also have some crazy rule about sequels released in back to back years, though I think it only is if a score is nominated (Hence one reason The Two Towers wasn't nominated?) Anyways, he created so many new themes for At World's End and I honestly think its the best score of the whole series (Which I also feel all had wonderful music).

That and he actually used a full orchestra for this one which I don't think they'd done for either of the first two.

NATHANIEL R said...

brian --preexisting themes and unoriginal music didn't hurt Santaollala last year. He won using them. so who knows. The reason I didn't place Greenwood higher is that scores which are anachronistic sometimes get people talking about they're not usually rewarded and they sometimes have trouble aging well... we'll see. the oscars music branch is very traditional.

Brian said...

I don't think there's any question that pre-existing themes aren't a handicap to winning, as long as the composers nominate you in the first place. I wasn't surprised at Babel's win, just its nomination in the first place. I guess the question is, was last year an aberration of some sort (perhaps even one the composers will be particularly keen to prevent from happening again this year), or the start of a new loosening of the standards of originality?

I don't get your word "anachronistic" though. There Will Be Blodd doesn't have the hip world-music cachet of Babel, but neither do most of the scores nominated each year. Why do you consider Greenwood's score "anachronistic"?

crazycris said...

I'd like to see some more love for the Assassination of Jesse James on those lists! Acting... but especially cinematography and score!

NATHANIEL R said...

brian Re: the score. I haven't yet seen There Will Be Blood. I'd just read that the score was very modern and it is a period piece. hence my choice of words. I could be wrong... maybe the article i read was misleading.

adam k. said...

I worry for the chances of There Will Be Blood 's score. Johnny Greenwood is not a previous nominee, and has no real reputation to speak of. Remember how long it took Desplat to break into the club?

And it just seems like even if it's super-great, this score will probably face a Requiem/Fountain type situation: it'll become legendary, but still see no awardage, cause it's non-traditional. Hip auteurs doing interesting things with music don't go down well with this branch. BUT I could be wrong, and it should probably be a bit higher on your chart.

Otherwise, I think you're right on. Desplat and Marianelli, particularly, look pretty solid. I worry a little for Giacchino, cause they've snubbed him before. And I think maybe Santaolalla should be higher, given his track record lately. But I haven't seen Into the Wild and don't know how special the music is.

Kamikaze Camel said...

This year the Academy could honour several modern rock legends with nominations. Greenwood, Nick Cave and Eddie Veddar are all in contention. Crazy.

One nomination you're now predicting that I was predicting a while back was that of Harry Potter for art direction. It actually deserves it (Umbridge's office!) and that movie routinely gets completely random single nominations so I reckon it'll get in.

For whatever reason I have a feeling Zodiac will show up in something like cinematography.

Also, New Line have apparently sent out a CD with only "Come So Far (Got So Far To Go)" on it, which is completely bizarre because "Ladies Choice" and "I Know Where I've Been" were not only much better but they were incorporated into the movie. Strange...

Colin said...

Um, wasn't "I Know Where I've Been" in the play? Only "Ladies' Choice" and "Come So Far" are in contention, I believe, and the former is a prostitute's song while the latter plays into the Academy's heart-cockles. We shall see. =D

steve said...

yeah, "I Know..."was in the play. Ladies' Choice deserves a nom. Not so much the other one. Would love placements for Once and Into the Wild in that category.

Melissa said...

I've heard the score for There Will Be Blood. It's really beautiful and not as non-traditional as people are making it out to be. It's not that far off from the various kinds of music that were starting to be written at the time the film takes place. Bit Penderecki, bit early (tonal) Schoenberg. Without a doubt, it is definitely attention-getting. And I wouldn't be surprised if there are some hardcore Radiohead fans in the academy; their cachet should not be dismissed. What Jonny lacks in previous nominations he makes up for being in one of the most universally well-respected bands of the past two decades. And Oscar usually favors period films, visually striking films, and films with a dramatic, Shakespearean bent in the score category. The last time a well-respected avant garde rock star was nominated for an epic film (David Byrne and Ryuichi Sakamoto for The Last Emperor), he won (and he was also a first-time nominee).

I think you may be overestimating Michael Giacchino's chances for Ratatouille, as well. While the film was well-loved, the Oscar nominations for best score tend to go for scores that are epic, evoke distant times or places, or provoke extreme emotion, *especially sadness*. Animated/children's films tend to score big when it comes to original songs, but rarely cut it when it comes to original score. "Serious music" wins out in the end.

I also wonder if The Golden Compass is mostly going to be written off as a children's film. The book it was based on doesn't have nearly the classic status (deserved or undeserved) that the Lord of the Rings books had, and thusly I don't think many adults are going to be giving it a lot of thought come nomination time. If Desplat gets a nomination, it seems more likely that it will be for Lust, Caution, as it is a period film set in a foreign country and calls for more melancholic music.

Beowulf does seem like a good possibility, considering the scope and ambition of the picture itself, Silvestri's past multiple nominations, and the status of the story of Beowulf as a classic epic. However, the film could always be an embarrassing flop or dismissed as a novelty, and Silvestri's dual status as a composer/songwriter hurts him more than it helps him.

I don't think Michael Clayton really has a snowball's chance in hell. While it was scored by a multiple-nominee, the film isn't the type that gets people to notice the score. It's contemporary and decidedly non-epic. Unless the score is a real standout, I don't think it's going to pick up a nomination.

Love in the Time of Cholera seems like a possibility, but the film has no buzz at all.

Philip Glass has apparently done the score for Cassandra's Dream, and depending on the quality of the film, it seems he might be nominated. His scores are always loud, dramatic, and in your face, and easy to remember come nomination time.

The controversy surrounding The Kite Runner may well end up shutting the film out of every category. I'm not so sure I would count on it.

I doubt The Golden Age will end up with a nomination for its score. Best actress, cinematography, art direction, perhaps... But score is stretching it. I wouldn't discount it entirely, but I think the visuals stand out before the music.

Atonement is a lock for a nom.

Into the Wild has a good outside shot.

And The Assassination of Jesse James might be the dark horse, here.

The only other ones that I can see that might stand a chance are Eastern Promises and Charlie Wilson's War. Maybe there's a small chance one of the more buzzed about foreign films getting it, like Paul Cantelon for The Diving Bell and Butterfly, but he has no cachet.

Brian said...

I've only seen it once, and I don't have the most perfect music memory, but I don't recall there being any electronic music in There Will be Blood. It is a very modern score, if you take the definition of "modern" music to mean post-Schoenberg. There are dissonances and rhythms that feel like they could be contemporary to Stravinsky. Which isn't how we usually think of a Western being scored, but in fact Stravinsky and Schoenberg are contemporaneous to the film's timeline. I don't know if that's intentional or if Anderson and Greenwood were simply looking to do something different from the norm.

Pretty much any period piece, at least one set a century or more ago, is going to have anachronistic music anyway these days anyway. There are conventions that composers use to downplay the anachronism of their orchestras, but they're all part of the cinema illusion.

Brian said...

Melissa, I see you and I were making similar points at the same time! Though I still have my doubts that Greenwood can crack the composers' clique on his first try, it's not because his score is anachronistic, but for other reasons.

That said, first-time nominees (like Sakamoto & Byrne, but also in the past 12 years Santoalalla, Kaczmarek, Shore, Tan, Warbeck, Piovani, Dudley, Portman, Yared, Bacalov...a lot of people!) are not treated poorly by the wider Academy when they crack the competition. Which might be one reason why the composers are so cliquish to begin with...

Melissa said...

Greenwood also has the force of Paramount Vantage's campaigning behind him, much as Santaolalla did for Babel. And they're campaigning pretty hard. Additionally, he's been getting a fair amount of media coverage. It's not a sure thing, but I'd bet on him before I'd bet against him.

And you're right, the score is entirely done with contemporaneous instruments. No electronic music at all. It's all string ensembles (and some drums). And not all of the music is particularly dissonant; some of it is quite pastoral and pretty.

-

I should also mention that while some people are predicting Alan Menken for Enchanted, I don't think he has a chance. He hasn't been nominated for original score since the trio of classic Disney animated films in the late 80s/early 90s, and Enchanted looks mostly like a pratfall-filled comedy/parody. If the film has an original song, that's probably a lock. But for score, nah.

Kamikaze Camel said...

I always thought "I Know Where I've Been" was original because there were actually reviews that said it was inserted into the movie so it could get an Oscar. Weird.

Arkaan said...

Melissa and Brian, thanks for your input.

While animated films no longer score regularly, they've still been able to crack the line-up (Finding Nemo). If I doubt Giacchino's chances, it's because they snubbed him for a more memorable score in a weaker year.

As for Radiohead fans within the music branch, I don't know. They seem a bit too stodgy for that. The Last Emperor was in the middle of a giant sweep when it won - something that I doubt will happen for There Will Be Blood.

Why do you think the controversy for The Kite Runner will hurt it?

Anonymous said...

Animated feature predictions!

1. "Ratatouille" (anointed frontrunner; Pixar entry)
2. "The Simpsons Movie" (cultural phenom; strong box office)
3. "Persepolis" (small, nonconventional foreign nominee; see "The Triplets of Belleville")

Spoilers: "Bee Movie", "Shrek the Third", "Beowulf"

Melissa said...

While Finding Nemo did get the nomination, it was for a Thomas Newman score, who, once again, has considerable cachet. I can't help but wonder if the fact that Giacchino is primarily seen as a TV composer hurts his chances. And personally, I just wasn't a huge fan of the score.

You'd be surprised where Radiohead fans pop up. There are even some conservative senators in Washington who consider themselves fanatics. Strange, I know. And among musicians, I'd assume they would be even more popular, especially to anyone with a classical background. And once again, it's hard to say, but I think as a striking period piece, TWBB is set for at least a few nominations in the areas where films like that usually do well. Score, cinematography, etc.

As for The Kite Runner, all the stories swirling around about the young actors being exploited and put at risk in their home country have been damaging to its rep. I know a lot of people who refuse to even see it now. It's hard to say, but I could see people not wanting to reward any part of that.

Andy Scott said...

Yay Kelly Macdonald!

I saw NCFOM on Friday and I was stunned by her ability to make such a lasting impression in the little screentime she had.

And if it were up to me, Tommy Lee Jones would be nominated for this instead of Elah.

Kamikaze Camel said...

People also seem to be forgetting that The Simpsons Movie was incredibly well-reviewed. So besides making lots of cash and being a pop culture phenom the film has an RT rating of 88% and a Metacritic score of 80.

NATHANIEL R said...

true.

i think it'll be tough for any film to break through the rat, persepolis and the famous yellow family

bblasingame said...

About the There Will Be Blood score, that article you read is very misleading. The score is not modern at all. Jonny Greenwood and PTA decided to use instruments only invented before the time the film takes place. What he has created is a completely authentic original score, reminiscent of the brilliance the soundtrack 2001 had (the opening 2 tracks in particular). It's maybe not traditional, per se, but it stands out, and the score for Notes on a Scandal stood out a lot, so who says this one will fail because of that? With the reviews singling out the score, it'll be difficult for the academy to ignore. It's Atonement's big competition for the prize. Listen to it yourself to decide:

http://www.vantageguilds.com/twbb/songs/01_twbb.mp3
http://www.vantageguilds.com/twbb/songs/02_twbb.mp3

and so on, just change the 01, 02 numbers til you get to 12.

bblasingame said...

about the links, it cut off mp3 at the end. Everyone listen to it. It's absolutely brilliant.

steve said...

nope, nothing modern about that score. nothing at all.

Anonymous said...

Kate Bush has recorded a new song, called "Lyra," for The Golden Compass. I think that this should be a very likely best song nominee, and definitely more likely than a song by Shakira.

http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/page/news/47109-kate-bush-records-new-song-for-soundtrack