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« AHS: Freakshow "Blood Bath" | Main | Thoughts I Had... While Looking at Cate Blanchett's 'Cinderella' Poster »
Thursday
Dec042014

Team FYC: "The Immigrant" for Original Score

Editor's Note: We're featuring individually chosen FYC's for various longshots in the Oscar race. We'll never repeat a film or a category so we hope you enjoy the variety of picks. And if you're lucky enough to be an AMPAS, HFPA, or Critics Group voter, take note! Here's Jose on The Immmigrant

Director James Gray has stated on many occasions that he owes his inspiration for The Immigrant to music, to be more specific: opera. How it was when he was watching Puccini’s Il Trittico at the LA Opera, with tears streaming down his face, that he realized he needed to tell this story. Inspired by Puccini’s sinful sister Angelica, he created the character of Ewa (Marion Cotillard) a Polish immigrant forced into prostitution by the conniving pimp Bruno (Joaquin Phoenix) who in a way is perversely in love with her. Gray wanted to tell a grand story about a woman in the vein of the Barbara Stanwyck films he loved, all of which were snootily referred to as “melodramas”.

And it’s precisely in this marriage of music and drama where The Immigrant proves to be absolutely sublime, Gray understood that to make an “operatic” film he needed not to exaggerate but to seek a depth of emotion heightened by the work of composer Christopher Spelman. The two have worked together in the past (going all the way back to Gray’s first film Little Odessa) and specifically they have used Puccini before, with Spelman arranging the orchestrations for the pieces used in Two Lovers.

In The Immigrant Spelman not only arranged the pre-existing opera pieces we hear throughout the film, he also composed a series of haunting melodies which both pay homage and carve their own way from where the Puccini ends. Spelman’s melancholy pieces are infused with a sense of longing that will have you humming them inexplicably days, months even, after you watch the film, making for an experience that’s quite operatic indeed.

Other FYCs 
Original Screenplay, The Babadook
Original Score, The Immigrant
Supporting Actress, Carrie Coon in Gone Girl
Visual FX, Under the Skin
Cinematography, The Homesman
Outstanding Ensembles

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Reader Comments (10)

I really want to watch this now. There seems to be a lot of THE IMMIGRANT fans. With the NYFCC's Best Actress pick for Marion Cotillard and such a 4th/5th open spot in the Oscar race, I think it might be smart of the Weinsteins to campaign like crazy for this film. If the campaign is excellent and fast, maybe voters too will check out the film

December 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKent

No doubt this film looked and sounded great, and Marion Cotillard was sublime as always. But I just don't see the big stink overall about The Immigrant's lack of buzz. The screenplay could get downright ham-handed, and I wasn't sold on any of the interpersonal chemistry the movie seemed to be trying to sell. It lacked believability in many instances.

December 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

That score was so damn hauting and beautiful. Totally great and absolutely worthy of an Oscar nod. The Immigrant should score a ton of Oscar nominations and wins, especially for the phenomenal performance of Marion Cotillard in it. If only The Weinstein Company hasn't abandoned the it so shamefully...

December 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStergios

Any news on an actual campaign? What does it take to Harvey put some money in it?

December 4, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Cotillard at the confessional with the haunting melody in the background is one of the best scenes this year. Heartbreaking combo of acting, music, lighting, and camerawork.

December 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

Cal -- i wouldn't count on anything since they purposefullly dumped it from the schedule last year. i dont think they care about it at all.

Bruno - i was also a little cooler on this movie than most though i loved some elements (marion & jeremy, costumes, cinematography) .

This movie and this post once again remind me that i think we need more clarification from the Academy and what constitutes their music awards. So many films use a combo of non-original and original music that it can be very hard to judge now. Like Birdman -- i love the drum score but don't y'all think that a lot of the people enthused about that score are also responding to the very moving moments when it leaves the drum score behind for something far more orchestral and soaring (and not drum based) in key scenes?

December 4, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

The Immigrant is a great film. It should be up for best picture , actress , director and screenplay , cinematography , score , art direction , costume design , film editing etc. It won't be because of Harvey Weinstein . A petty vindictive little man .

December 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Barr

For Original Score? Sure, but also for Best Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design & Best Costume Design.

December 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

@BVR - I was just coming here to say that but you beat me to it. That whole scene was fantastic for all the reasons you listed. The shot when she first enters the confessional by turning around and facing the camera, then slowly backing in into darkness = haunting.

December 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

yes! it's a shame the score hasn't been released for sale. I'd buy it for sure

December 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commentereduardo

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