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MOVIE MUSIC UK – The First Twenty Years

August 19, 2017 14 comments

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years since I started Movie Music UK in the summer of 1997. In many ways, it feels like a lifetime ago, but in others I can barely believe that so much time has passed.  Considering this milestone occasion, I thought it would be appropriate to set down a few thoughts about my site, my life in film music, and the people I have met over the past two decades who have helped make the site what it is and, perhaps most importantly, make me who I am. Settle in… this is a long read! Read more…

Academy Award Winners 2016

February 26, 2017 Leave a comment

hurwitz-oscarThe Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) have announced the winners of the 89th Academy Awards, honoring the best in film in 2016.

In the Best Original Score category composer Justin Hurwitz won the award for his score for director Damian Chazelle’s film La La Land, a modern day musical which celebrates the style of classic Hollywood updated to a contemporary setting. Hurwitz accepted the award by saying:

“Ok, wow! Thank you so much to the Academy. Thank you to my very, very good friend, Damian [Chazelle], I’m so glad I met you! Thank you to Marc Platt, Jordan Horowitz, Fred Berger. Thank you to everybody at Lionsgate. Thank you to all the LA musicians who played on this score. I just put notes on a page and they’re the ones who made it beautiful and sound the way it does. If I start going through names I could make, at most, twenty to thirty people happy but, I’ll make about a hundred – a couple of hundred million people really bored, so I’ll just leave it at everybody who’s work is on-screen in any way in this movie, I was looking at your work when I was scoring the picture, I was looking at what you did when I was scoring the picture, and that’s what inspired me, so thank you to everybody who worked on this movie. Thank you.”

The other nominees were Nicholas Britell for Moonlight, Mica Levi for Jackie, Dustin O’Halloran and Volker “Hauschka” Bertelmann for Lion, and Thomas Newman for Passengers.

In the Best Original Song category, the winners were Justin Hurwitz, Justin Paul, and Benj Pasek, for their song “City of Stars” from La La Land.

The other nominees were Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul for “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from La La Land, Lin-Manuel Miranda for “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana, Joshua Ralph and Gordon Sumner (Sting) for “The Empty Chair” from Jim: The James Foley Story, and Justin Timberlake, Max Martin, and Karl Johan Schuster (Shellback) for “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” from Trolls.

IFMCA Award Winners 2016

February 23, 2017 Leave a comment

johannjohannsson-ifmcaINTERNATIONAL FILM MUSIC CRITICS ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCES WINNERS OF 2016 IFMCA AWARDS; “ARRIVAL” TAKES SCORE OF THE YEAR, JUSTIN HURWITZ AND “LA LA LAND” WINS THREE OTHERS

The International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) announces its list of winners for excellence in musical scoring in 2016, in the 2016 IFMCA Awards.

The award for Score of the Year goes to Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson for his work on the critically acclaimed science fiction drama “Arrival,” directed by Denis Villeneuve, starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner. IFMCA member Jon Broxton said that “Jóhannsson’s approach to solving the film’s musical problems [is] absolutely fascinating, and the way he was able to musically convey some of the film’s more challenging cerebral ideas involving language and communication is astonishingly accomplished,” while IFMCA member Daniel Schweiger said that Jóhannsson “brilliantly captures both a sense of wonder and fear with beholding the mind-boggling, verbally-scrambled unknown, as whale cry motifs join with alternately moaning and chattering voices, backed by a strong orchestral sound that serves as a powerful universal musical translator in a way that’s both harmonically understandable, and profoundly strange.” This is the first IFMCA Award win of Jóhannsson’s career, him having previously been nominated for Best Original Score for a Drama Film for “The Theory of Everything” in 2014. Read more…

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BAFTA Winners 2016

February 12, 2017 Leave a comment

hurwitz-baftaThe British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) have announced the winners of the 70th British Academy Film Awards, honoring the best in film in 2016.

In the Best Original Score category composer Justin Hurwitz won the award for his score for the contemporary screen music La La Land. In accepting his award, Hurwitz said:

“Thank you to the Academy. I wanted to share this as well with our incredible lyricists, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who wrote all the words. I remember talking a couple of years ago to somebody who came to the BAFTAs as a part of a movie that had multiple nominations and they were saying that one of the coolest things was getting to know other people who worked on the movie who you may not have known, and that’s not the experience I’m having because this was such an unusually collaborative movie where from the very beginning we were working under one roof, and I got to see these other artists work up close. I got to see Mary Zophres designing the costumes, and watch the Wascos work, and watch Linus (Sandgren) shoot it, and I was constantly inspired by the work of these other artists, which is a cool experience for a composer in general, but to see it under the direction of Damian (Chazelle), who’s so masterful, is really something I’ll never forget. This is very cool trophy, by the way, I really like it. Beautiful Thank you!”

The other nominees were Jóhann Jóhannsson for Arrival, Abel Korzeniowski for Nocturnal Animals, Mica Levi for Jackie, and Dustin O’Halloran and Volker “Hauschka” Bertelmann for Lion.

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IFMCA Award Nominations 2016

February 9, 2017 1 comment

ifmcasquareINTERNATIONAL FILM MUSIC CRITICS ASSOCIATION AWARD NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED; MICHAEL GIACCHINO AND “LA LA LAND” COMPOSER JUSTIN HURWITZ LEAD THE PACK

The International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) announces its list of nominees for excellence in musical scoring in 2016, for the 13th annual IFMCA Awards. In a wide open field, the most nominated composers are Michael Giacchino and Justin Hurwitz, with five nominations each, and Abel Korzeniowski, with four nominations.

Giacchino is nominated for his work on two scores; the action-packed comic book fantasy film “Doctor Strange,” and the popular and socially aware Disney animated film “Zootopia,” as well as for the “Night on the Yorktown” cue from his score for “Star Trek Beyond”. In addition, his score for the first of the Star Wars spinoff films, “Rogue One,” helped him secure a nomination for Composer of the Year. Giacchino is a 36-time IFMCA Award nominee who previously received Score of the Year honors in 2004 for “The Incredibles,” and in 2009 for “Up”. Read more…

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Movie Music UK Awards 2016

February 3, 2017 3 comments

mmukawardsI know I have said this year after year, but this year it seems to be truer than ever: choosing the best scores of 2016 was an incredibly difficult task. The issue, for me, was the lack of a clear 5-star masterpiece score, combined with a whole host of very good-but-not-great scores.I keep a running tally of every score I hear throughout the year, and I have ended up with an astonishing 58 scores which, if I were still giving out star ratings, I would have rated either **** or ****½.

Putting these in any kind of hierarchical order is virtually impossible task considering the tiny margins of quality between each score but, nevertheless, it’s something I had to do. So, after much deliberation, here are my choices for the Best Scores of 2016! Read more…

Academy Award Nominations 2016

January 24, 2017 Leave a comment

oscarstatuetteThe Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) have announced the nominations for the 89th Academy Awards, honoring the best in film in 2016.

In the Best Original Score category, the nominees are:

  • NICHOLAS BRITELL for Moonlight
  • JUSTIN HURWITZ for La La Land
  • MICA LEVI for Jackie
  • DUSTIN O’HALLORAN and VOLKER “HAUSCHKA” BERTELMANN for Lion
  • THOMAS NEWMAN for Passengers

These are the first Oscar nominations for Britell, Hurwitz, Levi, O’Halloran and Bertelmann, although Hurwitz did win the Golden Globe for Best Original Score earlier during the season. It is the 14th Oscar nomination for Newman, but he has never won, thus ensuring that this year’s winner will be a first time Oscar champion.

In the Best Original Song category, the nominees are:

  • JUSTIN HURWITZ, BENJ PASEK, and JUSTIN PAUL for “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from La La Land
  • JUSTIN HURWITZ, BENJ PASEK, and JUSTIN PAUL for “City of Stars” from La La Land
  • LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA for “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana
  • JOSHUA RALPH and GORDON SUMNER (STING) for “The Empty Chair” from Jim: The James Foley Story
  • JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, MAX MARTIN, and KARL JOHAN SCHUSTER (SHELLBACK) for “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” from Trolls

The winners of the 89th Academy Awards will be announced on February 26, 2017.