John Williams – “The Adventures of Tintin”
Oscar Scene: Tintin and the big chase through the town square.
Howard Shore – “Hugo”
Oscar Scene: Georges Méliès’ movie
Alberto Iglesias – “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”
Oscar Scene: Opening Credits
John Williams – “War Horse”
Oscar Scene: Joey running through the war.
Music, the staple of every part of our modern existence. In film, it can be one of the most important aspects and keys to a film’s success. Think about any time you’ve cried in a film, chances are music is present during the scene. It has become one of my favorite categories with the most annoying rules of eligibility. As one of the most tangible awards to critique, a film’s music can catapult it’s success to a four star level. If you look back at some of the greatest films in history, great composers are nearly always attached. Think of the final moments in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rebecca” as the house burns down. Franz Waxman’s intense work was the ribbon on one of the best works by the iconic director. Say what you want about James Cameron’s “Titanic” and the poor aging of the film, James Horner’s tantalizing music still stands the test of time. This year, AMPAS chose four composers, one of them twice, that showcased some of their best works ever and of 2011. In this category, Oscar can repeat itself quite often.
Oscar Winner John Williams is now up to his record 42nd nomination. He has won this award five times. His last award was for 1994’s sensational and heartbreaking “Schindler’s List” from director Steven Spielberg. Williams is double nominated in the same category for the seventh time in his impressive career. Many of his nominations have been teamed up with Spielberg and this year is no different. “The Adventures of Tintin,” a film full of action and high leveled special effects, utilized an upbeat and terrifically paced score. In “War Horse,” Williams took a different approach. A
Howard Shore, who has been nominated and won in this category twice (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King), explores one of his most creative ventures yet in Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo.” As Shore’s score inhabits a special type of love letter to cinema, we are reminded of buoyant and animated instruments that level out scenes and dialogue.somber and dramatic tone sifts its way through an uneven script but with Williams in tow, it adds a sense of emotion and sentiment in a tale about a boy and his horse.
Alberto Iglesias has been cited by his peers two times. In 2006, he showcased the underrated and wonderful “The Constant Gardener” and in 2008, his score was the best part of the unfocused “The Kite Runner.” In “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,” he composes a score for a spy film that only seems fitting. In a come from behind victory, his nomination was the result of a late surge for Tomas Alfredson’s film. A welcomed surprise to the race.
Ludovic Bource rounds out the nominees and his work is arguably the most important and noticeable to any viewer of Michel Hazanavicius’ “The Artist.” Bource, who won the Golden Globe and Critics Choice Award enjoys his first Oscar nomination. Transitioning from beautiful jazz-type sounds to a somber, classic climax, Bource understands the act of composing and bridges the gap between the filmmaker and the audience.
As the race really starts to heat up and “The Artist” builds momentum, Bource is the heavy favorite to win the Oscar on February 26th. Williams will likely cancel himself out. Iglesias and Shore will likely just be spectators on the sidelines. The wonderful thing about this category is it lends itself to surprises quite often. In 1999, John Corigliano (“The Red Violin”) beat out heavy favorites Thomas Newman (“American Beauty”) and Gabriel Yared (“The Talented Mr. Ripley”). You can never count out an underdog in any category.
Prediction: Ludovic Bource for “The Artist”
Alexandre Desplat for “The Tree of Life”
Mychael Danna for “Moneyball”
Harry Escott for “Shame”