The 86th Annual Academy Awards will air on March 2, and will be hosted by the ever hilarious and avid music lover, Ellen DeGeneres.
While the event predominantly celebrates achievements in film, extraordinary film and music teams are also recognized for their collaborations with two categories: Original Song, and Original Score.
The nominees, as we mentioned several weeks ago, include some of music’s most distinguished composers and progressive songwriters, such as John Williams, Thomas Newman, U2, Pharrell, and Karen O. Although, if you’re not familiar with some of the prospective winners, then stay tuned to MSC over the next few days for all the details, and make your predictions on our Oscars poll!
To get you as pumped as we are, each day leading up to the big night we’ll post pieces on one of the nominees in each music category, and Sunday we’ll reveal everyone’s predictions before the show! Today’s Original Score nominee is Steven Price for Gravity.
We’re not sure about you, but the first time we saw the preview for Gravity, it came off as a bit Open Water to us. The trailers are quite similar, oddly enough, but Gravity’s star-studded cast and out-of-this world setting are certainly welcomed differences to the 2003 shark-attack thriller.
Gravity tells the catastrophic story of a team’s attempt to repair the Hubble Telescope, 372 miles above the earth. It focuses on “novice astronaut Dr. Ryan Stone” who is, according to the Oscar’s film synopsis, “Cut off from all communication with Houston ground control, and must master her terror and rely on instructions from her veteran flight companion, Matt Kowalski, if she is to survive.”
It seems that composer Steven Price’s biggest challenge in writing the score is finding a way to convey panic, terror, and the utter hopelessness of Ryan’s situation in an environment with (as the trailer blatantly states) no sound, no air pressure, and no oxygen, to an audience comfortably seated in polar-opposite conditions.
A score for such a film needs to feel silent and calm at times, and terrifying yet still peaceful at others. Ultimately it must create a subliminal link between the audience’s non-diegetic space and the diegetic world of the film; it needs to feel stratospheric.
The minimalist, unnerving, and huge sounds of Gravity remind us of Johnny Greenwood’s There Will Be Blood award-winning score, which is actually similar in a lot of ways, and despite its lackluster trailer, the film has had enormous success at the box office.
That leads us to believe that Price’s score carries the film, and that his ability to connect the audience to the on-screen world makes Gravity’s score one of this year’s strongest contenders.