Tuesday, August 14, 2012

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The Immortals and The Missing: Original Score, 1975

It's funny: the more things change, the more they stay the same. In 1974, this category saw honors for Richard Rodney Bennett, Alex North, John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith and Nino Rota & Carmine Coppola, who scored the eventual Best Picture winner. In 1975, we're now looking at a line-up that includes Gerald Fried, Alex North, John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith and Jack Nitzche, who scored the eventual Best Picture winner. As always, Goldsmith's and Williams' scores have stood the test of time, with both up for AFI's 100 Best Film Scores (only Jaws placed).

Gerald Fried for Birds Do It, Bees Do It

I will never understand how an Academy Award-nominated film can go unreleased in any home viewing format. It boggles the mind, and reduces the film to a footnote. 

Alex North for Bite the Bullet 

This year was full of hat-tips to genres past, and North's Classic Western score is no exception. Shades of Aaron Copland in this perfectly fine, solid piece of work. It doesn't distinguish itself as much as the other nominees, but it's not to be sniffed at.

John Williams for Jaws 

Instantly iconic. Everyone knows what you mean when you go "duhn duhn duhn duhn, etc." But we shouldn't forget the more adventurous music played for the Orca, music that calls back another era of filmmaking and turns the men's trip into a high-seas adventure...before returning to the relentless repetition of those damning strings.

Jack Nitzche for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest 

Its Native American influence hints at the novel's origins, as it provides the connection between Chief Bromden and Randle McMurphy. A simple tune, it's calming at the beginning, triumphant near the end, and haunting well afterward.

Jerry Goldsmith for The Wind and the Lion 

Where Milius fails, Goldsmith succeeds. Exciting and exotic, the score provides the adventure, romance and depth lacking elsewhere in the film. Paves the way for future adventure scores from Raiders of the Lost Ark to the remake of The Mummy. The kind of music that gets your blood pumping and turns the most mundane of tasks into a mission.


I have to admit, Oscar usually does me proud in this category, and I'm going with its proclamation that the Award for Best Original Score belongs to:

stay out of the water

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