IFMCA Award Nominations 2016

February 9, 2017 1 comment


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…

PASSENGERS – Thomas Newman

February 1, 2017 4 comments

passengersOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Passengers is a romantic drama with a sci-fi twist, a love story amongst the stars with an unusual moral dilemma at its core, and with an action movie climax that stands at odds with much of the gentle comedy of the first half of the movie. Directed by Morten Tyldum and written by Jon Spaihts, the film stars Chris Pratt as Jim Preston, one of 5,000 colonists on board a state-of-the-art starship traveling to a new life on Homestead II, a distant planet. The journey takes 120 years, and the passengers are all in hibernation, but a malfunction on board the ship causes Jim to accidentally wake up 90 years early. After unsuccessfully trying to put himself back into hibernation, Jim resigns himself to his fate; despite having access to the ship’s luxurious facilities, Jim only has an android bartender (Michael Sheen) for company, and after a year of isolation decides to commit suicide. It is at this lowest point that Jim comes across Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence), a fellow passenger, whose cryo-tube is still working, and the film’s moral dilemma emerges: should Jim, who believes he has fallen in love, wake Aurora up for companionship, knowing that doing so will result in her never reaching Homestead II? Read more…

LION – Dustin O’Halloran and Volker Bertelmann

January 30, 2017 3 comments

lionOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Director Garth Davis’s film Lion is a warm-hearted real life drama based on the non-fiction book A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley and Larry Buttrose, which stars Dev Patel as a young Indian-Australian man caught between two cultures. As a child in rural India, 5-year old Saroo (Sunny Pawar) and his older brother Guddu (Abhishek Bharate) eke out a meager living, finding and selling rocks and cleaning trains. One day, Saroo accidentally finds himself stuck on a train bound for Calcutta; completely alone in a megalopolis of almost 15 million people, and with no way home, Saroo lives among the city’s homeless children until he is eventually taken in by an orphanage, who arrange for him to be adopted by an Australian couple, Sue and John Brierley (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham). Twenty years later, the adult Saroo has forgotten much of the detail about his childhood, but gradually becomes obsessed with finding his birth parents, spending all his time feverishly searching Google Earth, and alienating his girlfriend Lucy (Rooney Mara). What emerges is a moving story about cultural identity, family, and the strength and dedication Saroo shows in trying to discover the truth about his past. Read more…

JACKIE – Mica Levi

January 27, 2017 14 comments

jackieOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Jackie is an acclaimed biopic directed by Pablo Larraín, which looks at the life of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, the first lady of the United States, in the immediate aftermath of the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy, in November 1963. The film stars Natalie Portman in the lead role, features Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup and John Hurt in supporting roles, and has been the recipient of a great deal of critical praise, mostly for Portman’s dazzling central performance, but also for its score by British composer and songwriter Mica Levi. Read more…

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Best Scores of 2016 – Asia, Part II

January 25, 2017 2 comments

The seventh and final installment in my annual series of articles looking at the best “under the radar” scores from around the world returns to the Asian continent, and highlights a half dozen more outstanding scores from Japan and China. This set of reviews features everything from epic action fantasy films, sweet animated adventures, horror films, and historical dramas, and concentrates strongly on music by one particular composer who is writing some of the best film music anywhere in the world today, and who should be most more respected and acclaimed in the west: Naoki Sato. Read more…

Categories: Reviews

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
  • 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.