Sunday, February 07, 2010

My Ballot: Best Original Score, Twice Over

Jumping back into the FiLM BiTCH Awards now. They're my long running personal awards for best of any given year. I usually try to wrap up the exact-correlative Oscar categories before the Academy's nominations but obviously that didn't happen this year. Oops.

Herewith the next couple of awards: Best Original Score and Best Adapted/Mix or Song Score.

I have two categories since so many films these days use a mix of original and previously recorded material for their soundscapes. You'll find that animated films are well represented in one category or another. Mr. Fox is Fantastic, everyone agrees. Coraline and Up are not just eye candy but ear candy, too. And then there's Karen O's work on Where the Wild Things Are which I like to think of as a hipster remembrance of the mysteries of childhood rather than a child-like score. Even with all the kiddies singing.

You'll find that my score nominees have a greater overlap with Oscar's choices than usual. I still can't believe The Hurt Locker got nominated in this category. That's not the type of score they go for, no matter how expressive, worthy and helpful it is to the film. To my mind that out-of-character nomination is a sure indicator that they really love the film. I liken it to that "costume design" nomination for Avatar from the Costume Designers Guild or that make-up nomination for Avatar from the BFCA which had to be mad declarations of love for the Na'Vi rather than a reflection of the, you know, costumes and makeup, animated as they were. I realize this is a bad likening since Marco Beltrami & Buck Sanders aren't exactly unworthy for their contribution to The Sexy Locker. It's just the out-of-character bit is all.

Finally, two questions
  1. Is Alexandre Desplat the hardest working man in Hollywood? He scored seven... that's right SEVEN motion pictures this year: Julie & Julia, Twilight: New Moon, Coco Avant Chanel, Chéri, Fantastic Mr. Fox and two over in his native France Un Prophete and L'Armée du Crime.
  2. What are your favorite films, musically speaking, this year?


Anonymous said...

Alexandre Desplat for Body of Work FB award!

Leehee said...

I know you're not a fan of the movie, but the music in A SINGLE MAN simply knocked me over. I've been listening to that soundtrack nonstop ever since I saw the movie. Could not believe it wasn't nominated! For me it was the musical event of the year.

Seeking Amy said...

The scores for Bright Star, A Single Man, and Broken Embraces are my three favorites this year. I bought their soundtracks immediately after I saw the films. Bright Star is number one though.

Mike M. said...

I adore A Single Man and thought the score was genius. My cheap self even splurged on the album and it has become the soundtrack to my life (however strange that my sound) for the time being ;)

Hofverberg said...

WHAT no nomination for A Single Man?!

Hofverberg said...

Also where's the mention of Inglourious Basterds in Best Adapted/Song Score?

Anonymous said...

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, without question. The songs and the score were just perfect for the film, and caused way more spontaneous tears than I care to admit to. I also loved the score to UP. Probably the best main theme of the year, and just super sweet.


Robert Hamer said...

Strange, I actually think that Desplat's work on Chéri was his weakest last year. I thought the Academy was right on in nominating Fantastic Mr. Fox. What a lively, inventive score it is.

I also agree with everyone else on the music of A Single Man, even if I disliked the film overall.

I'm not sure if a have a favorite this year. I suppose if I had a ballot my vote would go to the most iconic score of the year, Up, though I think an argument could made for all five nominees.

Anonymous said...

Up is the only movie this year whose score I absolutely LOVED!
It stayed with me
I saw it the second time just because of the score and realized what an important role it played in the movie!

Kamila said...

My favorite Original Score of the year:

James Horner, Avatar
Alan Silvestri, A Christmas Carol
Nicholas Hopper, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Michael Giacchino, Star Trek
Michael Giacchino, Up

Anonymous said...

No Fantastic Mr. Fox in Best Original Score and no Basterds in Best Adapted Score makes me really sad :(

Dean said...

Yeah my favorite music in a film would definitely be the adapted/ song score for Inglourious Basterds.

ThaDropDownBear said...

New Moon had excellent music (And decent visuals) despite the mediocrity of the film. Up and WTWTA had great scores as well, I want Karen O <3

Also, when did you see the informant o.o? ha ha

Anonymous said...

Clint Mansell's Moon!

Amir said...

no Moon or A Single Man?
and i really loved bright star too. Cheri came nowhere near my favorites. but respectable choices nevertheless.
i'm REALLY dissapointed that Inglourious Basterds is not among your adapted/mixed nominees.
not even as finalist or semi finalist?

Anonymous said...

Sherlock Holmes... talk about a score that draws attention to itself...

Fernando Moss said...

Desplat - Cheri for the win!

The Pretentious Know it All said...

I have to give a nod to Nick Cave and Warren Ellis's stirring work in "The Road."

Evan said...

I'm actually happy with the Academy's nominees. Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Informant, Up, and The Hurt Locker are all really unusual and very fitting for their movies. Only Avatar's soundtrack seemed like generic Academy fare.

As for Bright Star, I find the general theme wonderful, but lament that there's not more of it. Of the nine tracks on the general soundtrack, several feature Mozart's music and several others have dialogue overtop of them. It's not that it's not good, but it's hard to call that a score.

Sam Brooks said...

A Serious Man, despite me hating that film a lot, had amazing music. My favourite moment in the film was made due to the music; the song is 'The Roof'.

ferdi said...

My favourite score this year are:
1. Desplat for "Chéri"
2.Korzeniowski e Umebayashi for "A Single Man"
3. Goldenthal for "Public Enemies".
.... and no one didn't get a nomination! So saaaad.

richard said...

Sherlock Holmes and Hurt Locker could not have more different scores, in every way. both scores served their films VERY well. how awesome that they're both nominated.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. R.,

I am delighted to see some recognition for Cheri. I hope you consider nominating Pfeiffer for best actress.

The score of The Informant! was something unique.

Marcelo - Brazil.

Deivith Coast said...

Really unfair nominees. A single man, Bright star, Where the wild things are, Broken Embraces, Moon, The Road,9, Ponyo... Those soundtracks are waaaay better! The one of Sherlock is really mediocre, Up soundtrack is not bad but it´s not that good, Chéri is not enoughly well developped, The Informant has too much attention in the film...And The hurt locker? I adore the film but...Soundtrack? Really? If you tell me that it has one I believe you... But I think you aren´t very objective with A single man...And for Christ´s sake you love Bright Star! I´m very sad... Also miss the Basterds, Whip it (love the "put your arms around me" moment) and the wonderful Nine in the adapted/song lineup though I love your inclusions of the Wild Things,(500)Days and Coraline...Crazy heart... I know that when I watch it I´ll sleep so comfortably in my seat... I´m so sad...


Evan i liked the music to Bright Star too but you have to pick favorites. Anyway... i find the topic of scores so interesting but still a mystery to me. Some of the best scores you barely notice while you're watching a film they're helping so much.

Other times the score is overwhelming and you either hate it or love it.

But reaction to music seems to be among the most personal and polarizing.

I would love DVDs to have a function where you could watch the movie with just the score and no other sound.

that'd be interesting and it would help alot to make "best score" nominations.

Jim T said...

I have to admit. I liked Cheri's score so much that I was thinking "this movie doesn't deserve that score". Not that I disliked the film, but I didn't really like it either.

Arkaan said...

Bright Star. That film lingers, and it's the behind the scenes crew doing a lot of the heavy lifting.

The Road. Glorious, dark and movingly somber

The Brothers Bloom. Comic and tender

Moon. Mansell rocks

The Hurt Locker.

I'm mixed on A SINGLE MAN's score. But I really thought the film was bad.

Andrea said...

Bright Star! The beginning/ending score....majestic orchestral notes.

Coraline - saw it for the third time the other day, and my friend (who saw it twice) and I commented on how good the soundtrack was. Whimsical and addictive.

I didn't like the Hurt Locker's score....or at least, it didn't feel right. When it came in during Anthony Mackie's speech a la cue dramatic moment, I thought, "come ON".

Robert said...

I thought this year had remarkably good animated film scores...Ponyo, Coraline, Up, Fantastic Mr. Fox and Princess and the Frog were all fantastic, in my opinion...probably my five favorites of the year!

I did not really notice the score for The Hurt Locker when I saw it but then when it got a nomination I went back and listened to it...and realized how brilliant it was.

Also, New Moon actually did have a pretty good score. Haha

David said...

A Single Man's omission might be the worst snub in the short history of the FiLM BiTCH awards?

Glenn said...

Evan, The Informant! was criminally not nominated. Why can't Oscar snubs be trialed by the justice system? They would clearly call in favour of Hamlisch!

For Original Score I would've nominated Alexandre Desplat for sure. I think I prefer Fantastic mr Foxx, but his scores for Coco Avant Chanel, Julie & Julia and New Moon (from what I heard of it on the soundtrack - didn't see the movie, but the soundtrack is great) were all wonderful. I haven't seen Cheri though and haven't listened to the score.

I would also nominate The Informant, Mao's Last Dancer (it would totally get an Oscar nom if the movie would get an American release), Moon and Star Trek.

Also really liked Where the Wild Things Are, Sherlock Holmes, Mary and Max, The Road and Easy Virtue. I don't remember any of the music from The Hurt Locker unfortunately and my thoughts on the music from Up is the same as the movie itself. Nice, but nowhere near the best. Giacchino deserved the Oscar for Ratatouille, not Up.

Glenn said...

Oh yeah. Inglourious Basterds and especially Precious had two of the best compilation soundtracks of the year. Endlessly wonderful.

Sean said...

I would nominate the scores of Broken Embraces, The Hurt Locker, Sin Nombre, A Single Man, and Where the Wild Things Are.

Sonny said...

Didn't they replicate the costumes to "Avatar" before doing the motion capture? That's how I understood it, so maybe the costume nod was a deserved one. Can't help you with the makeup one. That had to be all CGI, right?

OtherRobert said...

Favorite score of the year? It's between Coraline, Where the Wild Things Are, and Orphan. Coraline was a very creepy children's song gone wrong styled score with great build in the spooky scenes. Bonus points for the wonderful French & Saunders...err...I mean Forcible/Spink production number.

Where the Wild Things Are perfectly captured the imagination of childhood without playing into cinema cliches.

Orphan was the best sustained horror film score I've heard in a very long time in an American film. I'm obsessed with horror scores and this is certainly one of the more inventive ones to come about in years.

Bryan said...

It's important to remember... a great score isn't necessarily one that's fun to listen to on your iPod-- what's more important is that it perfectly complements the film.

An example: I loved the score for A Single Man and promptly bought it, but am positive that I will never again listen to the music of The Hurt Locker. Yet, they are both great scores.

Steolicious said...

My favorite Score 2009 so far is:
Michael Giacchino with "Up". And the best thing in "The Informant" is Hamlisch.

But I still have to see movies like "A Single Man" or "Where The Wild Things Are".

adri said...

I agree with the praise for "The Road". That score could have been really overbearing or pretentious, but it was thoughtful, delicate, and just right.

Franco Marciano said...

Wow, so glad I stumbled onto this post. Thanks for the added musical suggestions. As mentioned in the posts above, "A Single Man" is easily in the top five, for me, of the best film scores of 2009. I've been playing it non-stop. Two words: absolutely gorgeous.

viviferreira said...

amazing I LOVE Alexandre Desplat and have to proud of him in this past amazing scores, a great nomination for the this year in the oscar i really like of the nominees for best score but i´m sad for abel korzeniowski (but he is knew in holywood and very talent, your time will come in future) Desplat are my favorite of course, anddd in 2010 he cames with 5 scores:DDDD Ghost Writer, The tree of life, The Special Relationship, Harry Potter and the Deathy Hallows part I and Largo Winch take 2...
and he deserves this sucess:D

Jerry O said...

How was Desplat's score for Fantastic Mr Fox inventive, when it sounds exactly like the scores to The Royal Tenenbaums and Rushmore?

Anonymous said...

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Robert M. said...

Great blog. Ironic to see Marco get nominated, but pleased. He has done so many other deserving scores, nice to see him in the mix.

Alexandre, what can I say, along with John Powell, these are the two most creative, unique and able composers today. Serious chops.

Why no Broken Embraces - effective, heartwrenching and beautiful. Iglesias is at the top of his game.

Great year overall. Discovered some wonderful new composers this year as well:

Abel Korzeniowski- A Single Man

Didier Lean Rachou- Powder Blue

Rob Simonsen -(500) Days of Summer

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