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2011 Academy Awards Thread


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Yeah, 127 Hours was a box office hit.

That's strange, it never hit my local theater.

I don't think half of these movies up for the various industry awards ever make it to most theatres. ;) Well the mainstream theaters that most people go to.

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Social Network's attention is easy - the film's popular. Every one of this year's nominations are from films that have been hugely acclaimed and box office hits.

It's disappointing really. The feeling years ago that a nomination/win for a score was an indication of truly exceptional quality has gone down the pan. It's bad in that if your favourite score wins, it's for the wrong reasons.

social network wasn't a huge boxoffice hit either, at least it's not a blockbuster.

Wow now How to Train your Dragon is considered a great orchestral score. How depressing. Shows how film music has degraded in the past 15 years

I thought How to Train your Dragon could have been a masterpiece if it had a decent score. I'm told by many here it has a great score, but I know the truth that it is mediocre at best.

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you don't have to take my opinion, it's only for me wojo. however I am right. for me anyways.

ok now you can talk sexy to me again.

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...If that's what passes for an Oscar-nominated score these days we are indeed doomed.

bender-doomed.jpg

Be patient. We will be rewarded for surviving these dark times in a few months.

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...If that's what passes for an Oscar-nominated score these days we are indeed doomed.

bender-doomed.jpg

Be patient. We will be rewarded for surviving these dark times in a few months.

Jeff, do you mean few as in 10 months, or something less?

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Social Network's attention is easy - the film's popular. Every one of this year's nominations are from films that have been hugely acclaimed and box office hits.

It's disappointing really. The feeling years ago that a nomination/win for a score was an indication of truly exceptional quality has gone down the pan. It's bad in that if your favourite score wins, it's for the wrong reasons.

social network wasn't a huge boxoffice hit either, at least it's not a blockbuster.

Wow now How to Train your Dragon is considered a great orchestral score. How depressing. Shows how film music has degraded in the past 15 years

I thought How to Train your Dragon could have been a masterpiece if it had a decent score. I'm told by many here it has a great score, but I know the truth that it is mediocre at best.

Ok, I stand corrected on the 'box office hit' thing; didn't realise those films weren't hits. But the 'critically acclaimed' part remains. The academy hasn't delved into the world of unseen rubbish to see if it might have a great score.

Regarding HTTYD, I guess people will have to agree to disagree. I think it's one of the most thematic, richly orchestrated and just damn fun scores of recent years.

I find Thor's opinion of Social Network very amusing. The guy who wants to banish complete scores and considers them entirely separate from the film is arguing for the score to be considered in the context of the movie. Hah.

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What does Social Network's score sound like?

Shit. Big, mouldering, steamy shit. It's as Oscar-worthy as my pants, or even worse, Steef's pants.

Thanks, Jim. Graphic. ;)

I guess the Academy's trying to make up for their rare moment of good sense by giving Giacchino, the best composer working full time today, and a properly good to great score an Oscar last year.

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While I'm probably more open to other music, I don't remember much from The Social Network score. Maybe apart from the rowing scene. Which felt strangely out of place in this film anyway. Maybe I should give the album a try... at least to form some sort of opinion.

One more thing: While I absolutely adore orchestral film music in the best tradition, I feel... at the same time... there are very few films which make an imaginative use of it. Even if I have a glourious piece of music in a film, it doesn't affect me much as a viewer. That might have something to do with mixing, sometimes with too thick underscore (wall to wall) or maybe too by-the-numbers approach. I love the same music on album, but there's something missing from the cinematic experience. If it is to survive, I think it needs to somehow reinvent itself. I'm probably not articulating this very well, as I'm not a specialist in the field, but, quite frankly, this is how I feel about it at the moment. There are exceptions, of course. I loved what they did with films like There Will Be Blood, Atonement, Standard Operating Procedure, Memoirs of a Geisha and few other things. In these cases film music is actually trying to do something else than just... being there. I miss that a lot in movies.

And while I'm not very fond of Academy's decisions, I can understand where they're coming from. It's not about the music itself, but more about it having a purpose. And yes, I'm saying even most of the stuff I love on CD's lacks this quality. Whereas some other stuff, probably not as sophisticated musically, works better.

Karol

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One more thing: While I absolutely adore orchestral film music in the best tradition, I feel... at the same time... there are very few films which make an imaginative use of it. Even if I have a glourious piece of music in a film, it doesn't affect me much as a viewer. That might have something to do with mixing, sometimes with too thick underscore (wall to wall) or maybe too by-the-numbers approach. I love the same music on album, but there's something missing from the cinematic experience. If it is to survive, I think it needs to somehow reinvent itself. I'm probably not articulating this very well, as I'm not a specialist in the field, but, quite frankly, this is how I feel about it at the moment.

I think you've expressed quite well, Karol. I share your feelings and thoughts about it. Contemporary Hollywood orchestral scoring is surely crafted with the usual professionalism, but more often than not it lacks something that makes it really stick out and becoming something that add real value to the experience. More than anything else, this has to do with a very crowded sound track than doesn't gel well with orchestral textures, esp. in big noisy fantasy/adventure/action films. Even a film like Star Wars (the original 1977 mix of course) today seems to have much more breathing space than many contemporary movies, allowing both the music and the sound effects to work wonderfully together, never clashing with each other, but otherwise complementing each other.

And while I'm not very fond of Academy's decisions, I can understand where they're coming from. It's not about the music itself, but more about it having a purpose. And yes, I'm saying even most of the stuff I love on CD's lacks this quality. Whereas some other stuff, probably not as sophisticated musically, works better.

In an ideal prospect, the Academy should recognize both the purpose of music as it works within the movie AND its inner value as a composition. I'm a believer of the idea that it's not just that the music should work within the film, but that it should be GOOD music. It doesn't matter the style or the genre in which it is written.

Of course, things are different when it comes to our personal enjoyment of listening to film scores as stand-alone albums. As many fans here, I have a preference for the classic symphonic sound, so I tend to listen mainly to orchestral scores for my own pleasure. However, very few of today's score written in this style are engaging to my ears. I too am not so hot on John Powell's How to Train Your Dragon--it's surely a nice score and it works very well, but it didn't hit me as much as other people do.

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I find Thor's opinion of Social Network very amusing. The guy who wants to banish complete scores and considers them entirely separate from the film is arguing for the score to be considered in the context of the movie. Hah.

Uhm....yes, because this is the OSCARS, not some prize honouring 'best soundtrack presentation'.

I loved SOCIAL NETWORK (both film and score), as I said earlier, and found HTTYD relatively OK - but a bit too conventional and "Hollywood". I don't think I would have Oscar-nominated it, but it WAS one of the many highlights of last year.

I still hope INCEPTION will win!

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Wow, I didn't value Joey's opinion at all, but since Mark doesn't like it, tonight I shall honor you by smashing my HTTYD CD into tiny bits.

Please don't, it's certainly miles ahead of the rest of the dribble that's been nominated. But I found it rather generic sounding.

Go back 15-25 years and this score wouldn't even make the top 25 considered for nominations.

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...If that's what passes for an Oscar-nominated score these days we are indeed doomed.

bender-doomed.jpg

Be patient. We will be rewarded for surviving these dark times in a few months.

Jeff, do you mean few as in 10 months, or something less?

Yes, I meant 10 months. I wasn't sure of the exact release dates.

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Wow, I didn't value Joey's opinion at all, but since Mark doesn't like it, tonight I shall honor you by smashing my HTTYD CD into tiny bits.

Please don't, it's certainly miles ahead of the rest of the dribble that's been nominated. But I found it rather generic sounding.

Go back 15-25 years and this score wouldn't even make the top 25 considered for nominations.

it's all relative in my books. I do honestly believe it's more the architecture and development of HTTYD that distinguishes it as opposed to complex themes and such. Truthfully, if you like Powell's work, than Dragon is a high water mark for him because it really is his most mature and developed score to date (and I own a lot of his CDs). Can I compare Dragon to E.T.? Uh, actually yes. As far as how the music impacts the narrative and the characters, it's as solid as E.T. and I'm not the only one who has made this comparison. In some ways, it's even less cutesy and cliche'd. Toothless doesn't say a word but the way the filmmakers animated him and how Powell's music accents his intentions, it's pretty amazing. Also, as far as the film is concerned, I urge those who may be luke warm to the movie to consider this: when is the last time a movie has given a composer this much space to highlight their music so prominently? UP! had that 4 minute montage (which I'm convinced is what locked the Oscar for Giacchino- without it that score wasn't as effective as Ratatouille IMO) but Dragon has many many moments where the score is mixed up front and is an integral part of the film experience. "Forbidden Friendship" has no dialogue in it and is one of the key scenes in the film since it's the beginning of the relationship Hiccup forges with Toothless. and it's not sappy or sugary. Same goes for "Test Flight" which is leaps and bounds my favorite film cue of the year. That majestic horn line sends shivers down my back. There's also that Goldsmith inspired Viking Theme for Stoic, the wondrous bombast when Hiccup discovers the dragon's lair, and the simple yet poignant piano recapitulation at the penultimate scene when Hiccup wakes up and finds that he's lost his leg (I mean c'mon, what other animated film or heck, live action film, disables their lead character in the final act giving even more weight to their heroicism? not many, if any at all).

Obviously everyone has different preferences in music. some might not like the MV styled construction of some of Powell's themes (more the Burk theme than any other theme). I personally don't like much of Giacchino's harmonic sensibilities and find his simple piano stuff moving from the I chord to flat II chord from project to project kind of redundant. that's my taste though. Can he score films? Yes. Can Powell score films? Yes.

I guess I would only hope that people could analyze the technique that Powell applied and separate it from personal preference because it truly is one of the best scores I've heard from the past decade or more. As far as this kind of narrative is concerned I'd put it with E.T. and The Iron Giant in the greatness category both for film and score.

That's my take on it.

p.s. as much as I love Williams and Goldsmith (and I do very much), I've been listening to a LOT of Stravinsky and I'm more than a little surprised at the amount of his work that was borrowed by both aforementioned composers. With Goldsmith it was more his rhythmic structures so I can forgive that but in the case of Williams, there are straight lifts from The Firebird (Hook) and Rite of Spring (Star Wars, Jaws, War of the Worlds). For goldsmith, we're looking at Symphony of Psalms and Les Noces (for the Omen). It's a lot easier to be cited as brilliant when you're channeling music from Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Bartok, Berg, etc etc/

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p.s. as much as I love Williams and Goldsmith (and I do very much), I've been listening to a LOT of Stravinsky and I'm more than a little surprised at the amount of his work that was borrowed by both aforementioned composers. With Goldsmith it was more his rhythmic structures so I can forgive that but in the case of Williams, there are straight lifts from The Firebird (Hook) and Rite of Spring (Star Wars, Jaws, War of the Worlds). For goldsmith, we're looking at Symphony of Psalms and Les Noces (for the Omen). It's a lot easier to be cited as brilliant when you're channeling music from Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Bartok, Berg, etc etc/

Sorry David, but I don't see how this is somewhat related to the discussion, especially after your passionate defense of John Powell's score. Both Williams and Goldsmith have always made clear what their role models/musical heroes were. Yes, they both took more than a nod from Stravinsky, Bartòk, Prokofiev, Debussy, Shostakovich, Walton, Vaughan Williams... and many other great masters of the symphony orchestra. But they both always put their own unique stamp on their notes, developing a personal voice that cannot be mistaken from anything else.

You're right, in the end it's all a matter of personal taste. To my ears, John Powell's music never struck a chord, even though I think he's more than a competent composer--his Bourne scores are a brilliant example of blending traditional scoring techniques with an edgier, more modern, rock/pop sensibility. I find his orchestral scores much less interesting because of his reliance to embellish the writing with over-the-top orchestrations (maybe it's his orchestrators' fault, I don't know). But I wouldn't put it instantly on a different, better league just because he doesn't rip off Stravinsky's Le Sacre as clear as Jerry and John did in the past. Even Powell has some crystal-clear role models that he isn't afraid to use deliberately (Zimmer being the most evident). And he's still waaaay behind before we can put him in the same league of Williams, Goldsmith, Rozsa, Waxman, North, Bernstein, etc.

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I didn't mean to knock down Williams' efforts. Just illustrate that if your influences stem from these great composers, you're going to sound pretty good. I would think Williams himself would acknowledge this himself, and has as you mentioned.

Powell is classically trained too and since he's broken off from MV-RC largely, you can hear his music diverging from that synthetic overproduced sound. I find Powell's sound more acoustic than anyone else at RC. I like his sense of harmonic motion and modulations to not the stock or standard progressions. I think he's not at Williams level but neither is Giacchino by a long shot. Neither of these guys understand jazz harmony at the same level as Williams nor 20th century harmony as Goldsmith did.

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As someone once said, "We're all midgets resting on the shoulders of the giants"--I think that's the point. Every composer is influenced by what came before him/her.

but people are quick to call plagerism without any knowledge that the composer in question had/has any experience with the composer they are accused of plagerising.

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Absolutely and if you listen to The Firebird, Stravinsky ripped off Rimsky Korsakov so it's understandable. I remember writing a theme or a film in Paris set in the style of Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and sent it to Lukas Kendall to get some feedback and he said I'd ripped off John Barry note for note. The Barry score he'd cited was one I'd never ever heard in my life. So it's understandable especially the more breadth of knowledge you have about classical repertoire. All those years conducting the Boston Pops, studying scores and such, would make it easy for Williams to unconsciously take moments from Le Sacre or the Firebird and superimpose it onto Hook (Tink Arrives) or Jaws (gotta say that it worked very very well for the shark).

There's a part in Powell's Dragon that recalls a classical piece, I think perhaps Mendelssohn's Fingel's Cave, but it's just a moment. So everyone does it.

"Good composers borrow, great composers steal"- Igor Stravinsky

"I agree, now where's my photocopier?"- James Horner

sorry, cheap shot.

As someone once said, "We're all midgets resting on the shoulders of the giants"--I think that's the point. Every composer is influenced by what came before him/her.

but people are quick to call plagerism without any knowledge that the composer in question had/has any experience with the composer they are accused of plagerising.

Agreed, see my post above. But in the case of Williams and Goldsmith, both had tremendous knowledge of 20th century composers.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I thought you said you weren't watching ;)

I've got a nice selection of American candy ready for Sunday's chatroom gathering.

It popped up in the news section so I can at least post it. I may pop into the chat though.

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Heyyy a film score suite thing! Can't tell who's composing (not John), but it had Star Wars, Lawrence of Arabia, E.T, and I don't know what else. Just ended!! That was epic.

Oh, Phil something. Didn't catch the full name.

That was awesome.

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Unbelievable. Ross and Reznor won for "The Social Network." Pardon while I write up an angry hate letter to the Academy...

But at least Wally Pfister got that long-deserved Oscar for "Inception." What surprised me were the Bale and Leo wins for "The Fighter". But it looks like "The Social Network" will be the Best Picture winner -- it already won Best Editing, which is a big indication it'll win.

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This is Oscar's apology for snubbing Fincher for Benjamin Button a few years back. Just like they gave Scorsese director for The Departed when he should have gotten it for Raging Bull, or Goodfellas or even The Aviator. Fincher's okay but he ain't no Scorsese. He ain't even PT Anderson.

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Oh hey, the Best Picture film montage is using one of my favorite Beethoven pieces. Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92: II. Allegretto.

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I was 100 % sure Social Network would win for best score... told my roommates so when they pulled the card out of the envelope... and: voila! I almost vomited. I'm listening to How to train your Dragon now, in protest ;-). I also think I should watch The King's Speech... that must be some movie, winning almost all important awards despite that boring subject matter.

Oh, and, boy, James Franco and Anne Hathaway were just awful... no chemistry at all, almost painful to watch. Franco behaved like he feared to catch herpes from Hathaway...

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Did Natalie Portman cry? Because she does that a lot... :P

You would cry too, knowing that you played Padme Amidala and somehow are now the darling of Hollywood.

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But at least Wally Pfister got that long-deserved Oscar for "Inception."

Too bad he beat out the superior and much longer-deserving Roger Deakins. Poor guy can't catch a break.

Also seeing Billy Crystal again made me miss him horribly. AMPAS has got to get him back for another gig. And Jon Stewart.

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I guess The Social Network's win for its three-note theme is the Academy's apology for snubbing Zimmer and Howard for their two-note Batman theme... :rolleyes:

And on the song side, I'm pretty sure now that even if Terpsichore, St. Cecilia, and George Gershwin all got together and ghostwrote the most gorgeous song in the history of the universe, but they submitted it under Alan Menken's name, the Academy would refuse to give it a Best Song Oscar. There's no upper bound on nominations, as the Maestro can attest, but my Lord, Menken sure seems to have hit one for victories. The Swell Season's angsty whining beat out three worthy entries from Enchanted in '08, and now Randy Newman's paper-thin "We Belong Together" bests a song whose melody alone should have put the award in the bag. (In fact, that's not a bad idea. Those lyrics were as bad as every other nominee's in the category.) I don't think there can be much debate that the credits song was one of Toy Story 3's only weaknesses. Oh well. At least they didn't give it to Country Strong or...whatever that was from 127 Hours.

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You would cry too, knowing that you played Padme Amidala and somehow are now the darling of Hollywood.

Ha, I was thinking exactly the same! She looked as if she thought "I can't believe it - my career survived The Phantom Menace!"

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I also think I should watch The King's Speech... that must be some movie, winning almost all important awards despite that boring subject matter.

It's... definitely not boring subject matter. The real story, yeah, maybe, but you'd be amazed what the film does with it.

Did John Barry not even get an acknowledgement?

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I also think I should watch The King's Speech... that must be some movie, winning almost all important awards despite that boring subject matter.

It's... definitely not boring subject matter. The real story, yeah, maybe, but you'd be amazed what the film does with it.

Did John Barry not even get an acknowledgement?

He was the first one in the 'In Memoriam' segment.

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I never can understand why anyone can blame Natalie Portmans career on the Prequels

she just did odd movie choices or just wasn't any good in some of them

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So, just today's news to get out the way before they finally stop ramming The Kings Speech down everbodys throats. Thank Christ.

I hear you, Quint. I can't remember a more over-hyped film (or, for that matter, a film that I have less interest in watching).

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