In this series TFE contributors sound off on their favorite fringe contenders. Here's Anne Marie on Mark Orton and the Tin Horns.
Alexander Payne's latest film Nebraska is getting much-deserved acting kudos. Bruce Dern has undoubtedly given a career-topping performance as the muddled and melancholy Woody. However, an unacknowledged but equally fine character is the folk score by Mark Orton. Orton reunited with his band the Tin Horns to play the music for his first feature film score. They mix traditional bluegrass elements like guitar and fiddle with surprises including a dobro and a xylophone. The effect is full Americana with a lot of quirkiness and a little sadness--giving voice to the unvoiced themes in the film.
Like Deborah, I ask that the Academy think small this year. We have the usualy heavy-hitters filling film scores with sound and fury, and soon the Coen Brothers will be releasing that other folk film that's sure to turn attention away from Nebraska. However, Mark Orton's score stands alone. Like other characters in the film, the score hints at deeper meanings but never falls into the easy cliches and chords of melodrama. With deceptively simple orchestrations and a powerful musical thread throughout, Mark Orton has crafted a beautiful score that feels both familiar and unique.