Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunday Night Oscar Preview

(Please... not again.)

I'm writing this late Sunday afternoon, and the schlockfest known as the Academy Awards starts in a few hours. Of course I'll be watching. Once a year I indulge in this particular awards show for no other reason than, like most people, I enjoy watching movies, and I enjoy watching the people in those movies go scriptless. Of course, we know there are prewritten presentation jokes and preplanned speeches and all of that, but there's still a slight potential for improv, disaster, or wackiness.  The fact that so-and-so might have a meltdown makes for an entertaining evening.

Usually what I take from the Oscars is a list of films I want to see in the coming weeks. Generally, they're foreign films I've never heard of. (This happened in 2007 when The Lives of Others won Best Foreign Film.) But sometimes they're Best Actor/Actress nominated films that haven't gotten much press (The Last Station/Helen Mirren is a good example for this year).

And now back to music...

Here are the nominees for Best Music (Original Score):

  1. Avatar by James Horner
  2. Fantastic Mr. Fox by Alexandre Desplat
  3. The Hurt Locker by Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
  4. Sherlock Holmes by Hans Zimmer
  5. Up by Michael Giacchino

I'm a bit biased in this category because Fantastic Mr. Fox is on my list of all-time favorite films. I don't remember the music from either Avatar or Up, and I haven't seen The Hurt Locker or Sherlock Holmes. But I do remember the instrumental delights of Alexandre Desplat, which include tinkling glockenspiel, a children's choir, and even some banjos.

In this video, director Wes Anderson works with Alexandre on the film score:

Hot box!

Of course, I often lavish affection on films that get shafted at the Oscars, so it's not likely Fantastic Mr. Fox will win the award.

For Best Original Song, we have the following nominees:

1. "Almost There" from The Princess and the Frog by Randy Newman
2. "Down in New Orleans" from The Princess and the Frog by Randy Newman
3. "Loin de Paname" from Paris 36 by Reinhardt Wagner
4. "Take It All" from Nine by Maury Yeston
5. "The Weary Kind" from Crazy Heart by Ryan Bingham and T. Bone Burnett

(Crazy Heart)

I'm not familiar with any of the nominated songs, but I'm sure we'll be treated to a glitzed-up version of each during tonight's spectacle.

This video samples each of the five songs:

The Randy Newman nominees sound very Randy Newman, and the Nine number is a not-bad showtune. We're left with a whiskey-soaked theme song and a cabaret-style French chanson. Tough call. I suspect Randy Newman is going to sweep this category with his Disney affiliation, but I'd like to see the award go to ether Crazy Heart or Paris 36.

(Paris 36)

On an unrelated note, my friend and I got to see the animated short films at Ragtag Saturday afternoon. I'm crossing my fingers for A Matter of Loaf and Death or Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty, although The Lady and the Reaper was also fun.

(Granny O'Grimm)

If you're reading this on Monday, it's old news. Get to work.

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