The Oscars have come a long way since they were first held at a private brunch in 1929. Then there were just 270 guests and tickets were five dollars a pop. Fast forward eighty-five years and an estimated 39 million people, including us, will watch this weekend’s extravaganza. Of course, it’s not just the movie-makers being honoured. It’s the music makers too. To see why, we’ve taken a closer look at the amazing composers nominated this year, all of whom you can listen to on Nokia Music.
John Williams – Lincoln
Who better to start with than the amazing John Williams? With 48 nominations Williams currently holds the record for the most Oscar nominations for a living person (Walt Disney had 59), and is the most nominated musician of all time. He has won Best Original Score awards for “Jaws”, “Star Wars”, “E.T”. and “Schindler’s List” (I can hear some of you humming the themes now). Now in his 80th year, Williams is still going strong. “Lincoln” marks his 25th collaboration with director Stephen Spielberg.
Alexandre Desplat – Argo
Desplat must surely be one of the busiest composers in Hollywood at the moment, with 7 major movie releases in 2011 and another 6 in 2012 (as well as a short film for Roman Polanski). He’s previously been nominated 5 times but has yet to win, however, his subtle and affecting score to “Argo” may change that. It blends Desplat’s trademark orchestral themes with Middle Eastern instruments and the vocals of Persian pop star Sussan Deyhim.
Dario Marianelli – Anna Karenina
This is the Italian’s 3rd Best Original Score nomination and his first since winning in 2007 for the wonderful “Atonement” (notable for typewriter keys being used as a key percussive effect). Now back working with “Atonement’s” director, Joe Wright, Marianelli has crafted a lush score that is dramatic and unapologetically romantic, with a little Tchaikovsky and gypsy influence thrown in for good measure.
Thomas Newman – Skyfall
For “Skyfall” Newman took over 007 scoring duties from long time Bond composer David Arnold. Newman had worked with Sam Mendes on all 4 of Mendes’s previous movies and was a natural choice for the director, but could he handle Bond? Luckily, Newman showed he could write the necessary action music and still give the score his personal voice. Was it classic Bond, though? The jury’s still out on that one. This is Newman’s 11th nomination and the fourth for a Bond film.
Mychael Danna – Life of Pi
Mychael Danna has long specialised in subtly combining ethnic instruments with orchestral and electronic textures, so was a perfect choice to score Ang Lee’s amazing version of the apparently un-filmable Life of Pi. Danna’s “Life of Pi” has already won the Golden Globe for Best Score so should be considered a frontrunner in this year’s Oscar race.
So then, now’s the time to let us know what you think. How many of these guys deserve to be there? Should there have been nods for Tom Tykwer and his colleagues for Cloud Atlas? What about Danny Elfman’s lo-fi contributions to Silver Linings Playbook?