Friday, December 12, 2008

Oscars 2008: Music edition

This reveals some surprising sensibility. The Academy has reversed an earlier decision that ruled the score for The Dark Knight ineligible. The reason? Too many names listed. Apparently, the film listed the two (yes two) composers, Hans ZImmer and James Newton Howard, along with a music editor, sound designer, and arranger. It's about time people started realizing that the score is not just the non-diegetic music someone composes and maybe a song or two, it's the whole sonic backdrop. Of course, only the composers will be nominated, but it's nice to see a film recognizing the work.

On a side note, I find it interesting, this quote:
According to Zimmer, the "Dark Knight" score was the product of a singular vision. "It's very stylistically cohesive--it wasn't done by committee. James and I divided everything up. I thought the Joker character should have have a singular voice, so I [did the score] for him and James basically became the Harvey Dent character and did his score."

How does this make it cohesive to divvy up the characters? Now I want to listen to the movie again and see what they mean.

But anyway, the only score that's seized me this year is WALL-E, and there it's not so much a typical "score" so much as a brilliant soundscape of silence, electronics, music, and a beautiful use of older songs woven in.

In other movie news, the New Yorker review of Baz Luhrmann's Australia is not only hilariously pointed (as they tend to be), but comments on something that I found equally distracting in Lust, Caution: the use of Elgar's Nimrod Variation. I know it's sweepingly lovely, but it doesn't work in contexts where you want to cast the English Empire/West as the bad guy.

Lesson: Hollywood should employ me.


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