The 86th Annual Academy Awards will air later this evening, 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 you can read about all the music nominees on MSC to make your predictions!
This wraps up our Oscar Nominee bio series we've been running for the past week, don't forget to tune into the show tonight at 7e/4p!
A winner at both the coveted Toronto International Film Festival and Venice Film Festival, Philomena tells the touching story of Philomena Lee, and Irish woman whose son was taken from her at birth, and who resultantly spends the rest of her life trying to find him.
In the process she meets a depressed former BBC correspondent who helps her by tracing her son to the United States. A moving and deeply catalytic performance from Dame Judi Dench, coupled with Steve Coogan’s serious yet still highly enjoyable role packs this film with some major emotional panache.
Such a performance demands an equally as moving and delicate score for which French composer Alexander Desplat is known.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Desplat described the writing process for this film saying, “Philomena Lee, in both the movie and in life, is a person who’s very strong but at the same time doesn’t show it -- you can feel it if you get close to her, you can feel a great strength and a great dignity.” Adding that, “[It was] very difficult to score because of that because I was worried that I would hurt -- that I would be intruding, that I would be in the way.”
The composer said he “Wanted something very simple in melody and in range to symbolize the feeling of restraint that comes across in the film,” did he manage to pull it off?
Saving Mr. Banks
It appears there is a theme among this year’s best score nominees, with the exception of Gravity, every score has a strong vein or sub-current of motivation or inspiration, Thomas Newman’s score for Saving Mr. Banks is no different.
Saving Mr.Banks is inspired by the true story about Walt Disney’s quest to bring P.L.Travers’ beloved novel, Marry Poppins, to film. The sensitive and stubborn Australian author, according to the Oscar synopsis, “Clashes with everyone from the songwriting Sherman brothers to Disney himself,” but ultimately sees the magic that is possible from the studio that “makes dreams come true.”
Thomas Newman, the film’s composer, is certainly no stranger to show biz, and his family is almost as iconic as Disney himself. Newman’s father, Alfred, was once head of 20th Century Fox’s music department and, according to SFGate, scored a total of “200 movies, earned 45 Oscar nominations, and took home nine Academy Awards.” Thomas has continued the Newman legacy with 12 Oscar noms, but no wins -- could this be his year?
Interestingly, Newman’s challenge in scoring Saving Mr.Banks was not in composing original material, but instead reworking Mary Poppin’s classic tunes as demos and “in-progress” works that are showcased throughout production.
Will the already award-winning score coupled with Newman’s homage to the Sherman brothers be enough to finally snag the composer his award?
We shall see! Again, don’t miss all the action starting tonight on ABC at 7e/4p!