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

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    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.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora