John Williams – The Book Thief
One of our greatest living composers–and arguably the greatest film composer of all time–John Williams broke a tie he held with Alfred Newman for the most score nominations. Now, Williams stands alone as the most nominated film composer in Academy history, with a staggering 44 nominations. Nabbing five other nominations for song races in the past, Williams’ 49 total Oscar nominations places him behind only (I think) Walt Disney’s 59 nominations as the most nominated person in Academy Awards history. He is the most nominated living person, too! Interestingly, while his fellow nominee, Alexandre Desplat, gets listed as a composer who’s nominated time and time again of late, it’s Williams, not Desplat, who’s had 4 score nominations in the last 3 years. Insanely impressive.
That being said…his score for The Book Thief is not his best.* To say it’s immediately forgettable is to say it at some point was there was something to remember, but it escapes you. The light, pleasant, background music. It’s less reminiscent of his earlier works than some are saying, but it’s surely distinctly Williams. When I listened to the score for the third time, while writing this section, it ended. And it didn’t even notice. It’s a perfectly suitable score, but it falls short of being anything worthy of a gold statue. When Williams wins, he tends to win for some of his immediately all-time great work. The Book Thief does not fit that category. Don’t count on Williams winning Oscar #6, despite being robbed last year.
*full disclosure–I haven’t seen The Book Thief, so if the score somehow plays better in the film than it does on iTunes, please say so in the comments!