The Oscars are this weekend! The student’s here at Columbia College Chicago in the Music Composition for the Screen program are excited; we are throwing our own Oscar party. I understand they held a similar get together last year, so I guess we are making this a yearly tradition. Year ones as well as year twos are planning to attend. For the year twos, it will be a nice break in between prepping scores for their orchestral recording sessions at Chicago Recording Company. I had the pleasure of stopping by one of the recording sessions and I have to say, I was blown away by the quality of the compositions, orchestrations, and the musician’s ability. It really makes me look forward to my second year. Be sure to stand by for my next blog, all about the recording sessions.
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The five nominations for Best Original Score are:
The Book Thief – John Williams
Wow. This is Williams’ 49th Oscar nomination. This score keeps along with Williams’ style and is often subdued, creating a haunting and sad atmosphere. I hear hints of the Memoir’s of a Geisha score within the beautiful soaring string and piano melodies.
Gravity – Steven Price
This soundtrack really makes me excited to be starting out in the industry of film composing. It is the most ambitious and innovative score that I have heard all year. The music has a key part in this film, partly because sound can’t travel through the vacuum of space. In a way, Steven, created sound design elements with his music. If you heard an explosion, it might take you out of the reality the film was trying to portray. Steven took this opportunity to try something different. Talking to my classmates, we all agree that this score has a good chance of winning. It definitely gets my vote. Check out this interview for more information about his process for this film.
Her – William Butler and Owen Pallett
A relatively simple score that worked well in the film. Great performances by Arcade Fire.
Philomena – Alexandre Desplat
A classy score with memorable themes and motifs. Desplat on the top of his game.
Saving Mr. Banks – Thomas Newman
Thomas Newman really is a master of film composition. His unique voice shines through in all of his scores. The production quality and attention to detail make his tracks top notch. The score of Saving Mr. Banks is no exception. The main theme is simple but engaging and emotional. The use of zither and various other instruments help create interesting orchestration, continuing his pioneering take on film composition. He has been nominated for twelve oscars, but has yet to win one.
This list shows a great range of styles and a large age gap, from John Williams (82) to William Butler (31). It is interesting that we can see such different types of music nominated in the same year. Williams’ “The Book Thief” is reminiscent of his past works, uniquely his own, and beautifully orchestrated. Now compare this to Steven Price’s “Gravity,” a score that looks to the future of film music, innovatively produced, meticulously organized, and also, in a new sense, beautifully orchestrated. What is your prediction? Who will take home the Oscar win?