Wednesday, July 12, 2023

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1948: Best Musical Score

How does one rate a score? True, this entire exercise is one of subjectivity (I'm sure there are Agnes Moorehead fans tsk-tsking), but how does one sit down, watch any of the five films listed today, and argue, "Well, clearly what Victor Young does with The Emperor Waltz is of a far superior quality, due respect, to what Alfred Newman is tasked to accomplish with When My Baby Smiles at Me?"

It'd be one thing if we were ranking the songs (that, I suspect, is why this category eventually became Best Song Score and went to the songwriters rather than music adaptors, but we'll save that for next month); we could very easily discuss the merits or otherwise of these particular Irving Berlin or Cole Porter scores. But this is more...complicated. This isn't about the songs but about the underscoring between songs, the dance breaks within those songs, and the opening credits made from the songs. It's not just about whether or not you like Berlin, but about whether what Green & Edens do with Berlin is effective enough to keep you entertained when you aren't hearing the lyrics.

To that end, here we go - the nominees for Best Scoring of a Musical Picture...

Johnny Green / Roger Edens
adapting the music of Irving Berlin
Green's second of twelve scoring nominations, first of four scoring wins; Edens' first of eight nominations, first of three consecutive wins

Victor Young
adapting the music of various composers
eighteenth of twenty-two nominations

Lennie Hayton
adapting the music of Cole Porter

Ray Heindorf
adapting the music of Jule Styne

Alfred Newman
adapting the music of various composers


Easter Parade came out the winner, but I fell in love with someone else:

score by

Tomorrow, the nominees for Best Actor: Lew Ayres (Johnny Belinda), Montgomery Clift (The Search), Dan Dailey (When My Baby Smiles at Me), Laurence Olivier (Hamlet), and Clifton Webb (Sitting Pretty).

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