News / USA

Oscar-nominated Music Helps Movies Soar

Five film scores compete for academy award

Five-time Oscar winner John Williams composed the music for "War Horse," one of the five nominees for best score.
Five-time Oscar winner John Williams composed the music for "War Horse," one of the five nominees for best score.

Multimedia

Audio

Most people consider film to be purely visual. Yet a movie's music, or score, plays a key role in conveying the work’s message.



Joseph Rivers, who teaches film studies and music at the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma, says the musical theme for director Stephen Spielberg's "War Horse," the epic that opens in rural England, is a good example of the way music can enhance the audience experience of a place.  

“With "War Horse," this is done through sustained harmonies, broad sweeping orchestrations, sweeping melodic lines, or even with folk-like melodies imposed on the harmonies."

Five-time Oscar winner John Williams composed the music for "War Horse," one of the five nominees for best score.

Tintin (Jamie Bell) and Snowy in "The Adventures of Tintin"
Tintin (Jamie Bell) and Snowy in "The Adventures of Tintin"

Williams garnered another best score nomination for "The Adventures of Tintin," an animated blockbuster based on a Belgian comics series.

For Daniel Carlin, chairman of the film scoring department at the Berklee College of Music, nail biting excitement is the key to Tintin’s success.

“John is a master at the use of space," Carlin says. "He'll leave a bit of a hole for the sound of gunshot or a hit to a face or a crash, and then he’ll come in with a statement rather than, as many composers do, try to compete with the sound. I personally felt that "Tintin" was a more successful score than "War Horse."

Actor Gary Oldman in "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"
Actor Gary Oldman in "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"
Alberto Iglesias composed the score for "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy."

For Rivers, the artful way that Iglesias conveyed Cold War suspense and intrigue is what earned him his Oscar nomination. “I think he does an excellent job of setting the atmosphere.”

Sometimes, highbrow musical ideas can be used to good effect by Hollywood, as in the case of "Hugo."

Film composer Wendy Blackstone has scored for eight Oscar nominees over the years. She hears echoes of minimalism in Howard Shore’s score for “Hugo,” an adventure drama about a boy living in a Paris train station.

Martin Scorcese's film "Hugo."
Martin Scorcese's film "Hugo."

“It has repetitive clauses in it that give a lulling kind of center to it which we can attribute to Terry Riley, Philip Glass and these forerunners of that kind of music," Blackstone says.

Whatever the composer's style, it must always serve the director’s vision.

“There are moments when the music can shine," Blackstone says. "But then there are moments when it should be out of the way and felt not heard."

Many critics believe French composer Ludovic Bource is the odds-on favorite to win best score for “The Artist.” It’s a mostly silent film, set during the late 1920s and early '30s, when silent films were giving way to the talkies.

Bource's score runs the emotional gamut.

Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo in "The Artist."
Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo in "The Artist."

For Berklee's Daniel Carlin, "The Artist" is a film composer's dream.

“I mean there are plenty of people that would have done this project for free if they'd been given the opportunity. You are not worried about dialogue or train wrecks or gunshots or door slams or car squeals. None of that stuff," Carlin says. "But it also makes one fully exposed. It doesn’t leave much room for error or padding. And I felt that this composer did a very diligent job of not taking shortcuts, of giving every scene its due, of somehow staying within that period without making it sound like we are listening to old music.”

All of the nominees will have to wait until Feb. 26, to learn who will score the “Best Score” Oscar.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid