Oscars 2016: 112 Original Scores in the race, including ‘Star Wars’
112 Film Scores Declared Eligible for Oscar.
Three of John Williams’ seven Star Wars scores have been nominated for an Oscar. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences unveiled 112 scores from 2015 films that are in contention for original-score nominations for the 88th Academy Awards.At this time of year, all eyes are on the best-picture prizes; otherwise, the media devote most of their energy on the “money categories” — i.e. acting. (Writers and directors get a little attention, if they’re lucky.) But in truth, the artisan races are often the most interesting. Among the eligible feature-film titles are the final three scores from the late James Horner: “The 33” (in photo), “Wolf Totem” and “Southpaw.” And the exec committee OK’d the Ennio Morricone score for “Hateful Eight,” which includes about 30 minutes of new material along with several minutes of old scores written by him.
Notable exclusions include “Love & Mercy” (Atticus Ross), “Crimson Peak” (Fernando Velázquez), “The Revenant” (Alva Noto and Ryûichi Sakamoto) and “Youth” (David Lang). There are exceptions, of course. “Titanic” won best picture in 1997, and ever since the best picture field expanded to 10 potential nominees, there’s supposedly more space for less weighty movies.
On Saturday, Jan. 9, members of the Academy’s makeup artists and hairstylists branch will be invited to view ten-minute excerpts from each of the seven films. Under Academy rules, a feature-length motion picture must have a running time of more than 40 minutes and must have been exhibited theatrically on 35mm or 70mm film, or in a qualifying digital format. Last year it was top earner “American Sniper.” Meanwhile, the award winner, “Birdman,” was the 78th most profitable film of 2014, and none of the other hopefuls cracked the top 30.
The 88th Oscars will be held on Sunday, Feb. 28, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, Calif., and will be televised live by ABC. Feature films that receive their first public exhibition or distribution in any manner other than as a theatrical motion picture release are not eligible for Academy Awards in any category — although films that bow day-and-date in theaters and on streaming services are eligible. According to the Academy, “To be eligible, the original score must be a substantial body of music that serves as original dramatic underscoring, and must be written specifically for the motion picture by the submitting composer.
Ross, who won an Oscar for his work on The Social Network (with Trent Reznor), used samples and snippets of Wilson’s work, as well as his own orchestrations, in creating the score for the movie. In order of likelihood, they are “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Martian,” “The Hateful Eight” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Here’s a look at their chances. In a year when many long-gestating franchise flicks flopped — think “Entourage” and “Terminator: Genisys” — people flocked to theaters to see George Miller’s dust-covered summer blockbuster.
But it wasn’t just the masses that enjoyed seeing Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron as partners-in-justifiable-crime, kicking tail in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. In “Furious 7,” the visual-effects team used a library of footage to create close-ups of the late Paul Walker, and made them look like they were filmed on the spot. Louis, San Diego and Boston, among many others, have proclaimed that the movie or the director (and in some cases both) are the most impressive of the year.
Better than all the movies that are supposed to be the best: “The Revenant” and “Spotlight,” “Carol” and “Bridge of Spies.” At the upcoming Critics’ Choice Awards, “Mad Max” leads the field by a large margin with 13 nominations. The multiple vehicles have different sounds; for example, the team added subtle animal noises (whales, bears, lions) to augment the engine sounds of the War Rig (Charlize Theron’s vehicle).
For starters, most of the heroes in the movie are women, and they’re more interesting characters than the man of the title, who spends much of the movie grunting. The most memorable is Charlize Theron’s Furiosa, the one-armed vigilante driver of a war rig who risks everything to rescue a group of sex slaves and deliver them to a better place.
The movie isn’t entirely progressive, as the first time we see the women, they’re wearing next to nothing: But “Mad Max” is unquestionably about more than showing skin. The landscapes look ripped from your most gorgeous nightmares, and the high-speed chase scenes aren’t just muscular; they’re acrobatic and strangely beautiful. During an interview with HitFix, cinematographer John Seale said that Miller manipulated the frame rate in many of the scenes, slowing down the action so that audiences could really grasp what was happening, then speeding things up.
Ridley Scott’s sci-fi adventure about an astronaut who is accidentally left behind on Mars was an enormous crowd-pleaser, bringing in more than a half-billion dollars worldwide. On the surface it seemed like a relatively serious movie about a single man’s struggle to survive — something along the lines of “Gravity” or “Cast Away” in space.
The large ensemble cast of talented actors, including Matt Damon, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels and Kristen Wiig, reveals an expansive story about many people, in various corners of the galaxy, coming together to try to save one man’s life. The movie itself is a little bit lighter (despite the dire circumstances) than your typical Oscar fare, but it’s hard to deny the winning combination of remarkable camera work, aces casting and efficient script (expertly adapted from Andy Weir’s novel), which makes sense of some pretty dense science. So even if “The Martian” winds up missing out on a best picture nod — which is a pretty big if — Scott could very well get love for his direction simply because the man behind “Blade Runner,” “Thelma & Louise” and “Black Hawk Down” is long overdue for a win. I have opinions about the movie that I’m not at liberty to relay until the week the movie comes out, but I can at least say that, while this may not be Tarantino’s strongest outing, it’s a movie with grand ambitions. Whether the movie is as good as Tarantino’s others, the academy may give him points for his high regard for film, not to mention his personal quest to remind people how exciting movies can be.
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