On Saturday, February 26th I had the honor of attending a champagne reception to recognize the achievements of the music nominees for the 83rd Academy Awards. The event was organized by the Society of Composers and Lyricists (SCL) and held at the home of the Emmy-nominated composer John Cacavas in Beverly Hills.
The six nominees for Best Original Score – Alexandre Desplat (The King’s Speech), John Powell (How to Train Your Dragon), A.R. Rahman (127 Hours), Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (The Social Network) and Hans Zimmer (Inception) – were all in attendance, as were Best Original Song nominees Alan Menken and Glenn Slater (Tangled), and Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey (Country Strong).
In a brief presentation, SCL President Dan Foliart, SCL First Vice President Arthur Hamilton and SCL Director Charles Bernstein congratulated each nominee on their Oscar nomination, and paid tribute to their work in furthering the art of film music during 2010. During the tribute, respects were also paid to the late John Barry, and long-time film music publicist Ronni Chasen, who was tragically murdered in November 2010. Read more…
In the Best Original Score category Trent Reznor, front man of the rock group Nine Inch Nails, and composer Atticus Ross, won the award for their score for the Facebook-themed drama The Social Network. In his acceptance speech, Reznor said:
“Wow. Is this really happening? When we finished work on The Social Network we were very proud of our work and happy to just be involved in this film, and to be standing up here in this company is humbling and flattering beyond words. I’d like to especially thank the Academy for recognizing our work here, and David Fincher… David Fincher, yeah. Thank you so much for the opportunity. I’d also like to thank my wonderful wife Mariqueen, I love you so much”.
“Time’s nearly out, so I’ve got to improvise a little. David, everyone who brought the film to life, thank you so much. Trent, I think you’re a genius. A great friend, and a genius. My wonderful wife Claudia, and our three children, I love you. Thank you.”
The other nominees were Alexandre Desplat for The King’s Speech, John Powell for How to Train Your Dragon, A.R. Rahman for 127 Hours, and Hans Zimmer for Inception.
In the Best Original Song category, composer/songwriter Randy Newman won his second Oscar for We Belong Together” from Toy Story 3.
The other nominees were Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey for “Coming Home” from Country Strong; Alan Menken and Glenn Slater for “I See The Light” from Tangled; and A.R. Rahman, Dido Armstrong and Rollo Armstrong for “If I Rise” from 127 Hours.
Original Review by Jonathan Broxton
La Princesse de Montpensier – The Princess of Montpensier – is a French period drama based on a classic novel by Madame de Lafayette and directed by Bertrand Tavernier. Set during a period of religious turmoil in 16th century France, the film stars Mélanie Thierry as Marie, a young noblewoman who falls in love with the dashing Henri de Guise (Gaspard Ulliel). However, in order to further her father’s political ambitions, she is forced to marry instead the well-connected Philippe de Montpensier (Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet), a career soldier who quickly leaves for war. Left alone in the care of an aging nobleman, Marie soon finds her life becoming more complicated as she begins to encounter the different political – and sexual – manipulations of her new world. Read more…
The International Film Music Critics Association announces the winners of its seventh annual awards for excellence in musical scoring in 2010 with John Powell’s score for the animated film HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON topping the list, winning both Film Score of the Year and Best Score for an Animated Film. Alexandre Desplat receives three awards: Best Score for a Drama Film (THE KING’S SPEECH), Best Score for an Action/Adventure/Thriller Film (THE GHOST WRITER) and Composer of the Year.
Continuing their tradition to highlight lesser known but vital world talents, the Association awards the Breakout Composer of the Year to Portuguese composer Nuno Malo for AMÁLIA. Turkish composer Pinar Toprak wins Best Score for a Comedy Film for her score to the THE LIGHTKEEPERS. Rounding out the film categories are Best Score to a Fantasy/Science Fiction/Horror Film which goes to TRON: LEGACY by the French duo Daft Punk, Best Score for a Documentary Film winner is French composer Bruno Coulais for OCÉANS and American Danny Elfman’s “Alice Theme” from ALICE IN WONDERLAND wins Best Individual Composition.
In the non-film category, Bear McCreary wins his second award in a row in the Best Score for a Television Series, this year for Fox’s drama HUMAN TARGET (McCreary won last year for BATTLESTAR: GALACTICA). Kojima Productions’ CASTLEVANIA: LORDS OF SHADOW, with music by Óscar Araujo, wins Best Score for a Video Game or Interactive Media.
The Best Archival Release goes to the six-disc box set release of Alex North’s score to Stanley Kubrick’s SPARTACUS, which was Varèse Sarabande’s executive producer Robert Townson’s 1000th release for the label. Best Record Label of the Year goes to La-La Land Records, their first win in this category, for such notable 2010 expanded release soundtracks as BATMAN RETURNS, DRAGONSLAYER, PANIC IN THE YEAR ZERO and HOME ALONE. Read more…
Original Review by Jonathan Broxton
Amália da Piedade Rodrigues was a Portuguese singer and actress whose life and work helped popularize fado – a specific genre of Portuguese folk music – on a worldwide scale. From the 1940s until her death in 1999 Amália was known as Rainha do Fado (the Queen of Fado) and was immensely popular in her native country, selling hundreds of thousands of records. Carlos Coelho da Silva’s film Amália, which stars Sandra Barata Belo in the lead role, is the story of her life. Although the film played in theaters in Portugal in 2008, it is only just now beginning to surface in other countries; to coincide with this wider exposure, Moviescore Media has released the film’s score, by US-based Portuguese composer Nuno Malo. It’s absolutely wonderful. Read more…
Original Review by Jonathan Broxton
La Herencia Valdemar is the first film of a two-part Spanish mystery-horror-thriller series written and directed by José Luis Alemán. Steeped in Lovecraftian imagery and themes, it stars Silvia Abascal as Luisa Lorente, an expert on inheritance tax relating to old buildings, who visits an enormous Gothic mansion called Valdemar to conduct an audit following the death of the owner. When she disappears in mysterious circumstances, her boss hires a private detective named Nicolás Tremel (Oscar Jaenada) to find out what happened to her. However, upon his arrival at Valdemar, Nicolás discovers much more than he bargained for – an-age old horror beyond imagination. The film, which also stars Daniele Liotti, Laia Marull and Rodolfo Sancho, was a popular success in it’s native Spain when it opened there in January 2010, but by far the most impressive aspect of the entire production is the score by 33-year old composer Arnau Bataller. Read more…
Original Review by Craig Lysy
This film presents a classic Greek myth that tells the tale of the demi-god Perseus (son of Zeus) who secures the mandate of Heaven as he takes on an epic quest to slay the forces of darkness and rescue his love. The renowned master of stop motion animation Ray Harryhausen who was enamored with Greek and Arabic mythology conceived the film. MGM agreed to the project and provided a generous budget based on his previous successes with his three Sinbad films as well as Jason and the Argonauts. The film featured an all-star cast that included Laurence Olivier (Zeus), Maggie Smith (Thetis), Ursula Andress (Aphrodite), Burgess Meredith (Ammon), and the handsome newcomer Harry Hamlin as Perseus. The storytelling was first rate and the stop motion animation superb. While not a critical success, the film was a commercial success, more than covering its production costs of $15 million to make $41 million. Read more…