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Entries in Dolly Parton (9)

Thursday
Feb142013

10 Days 'til Oscar: Score, Song, & Sound

We're in the final crunch now. Oscar voters have to make their final decisions by Tuesday February 19th (with the winners announced Sunday February 24th) so I'm throwing up my own nominees (which I like to announce before the Oscar nominations even. Oy) so you can see my film bitch award picks for the best in the various aural categories here. But while we're on the subject of sound, a film craft I always vow to learn more about and then forget to educate myself, let's make some early Oscar predictions.

BEST SCORE
Naturally I prefer my nominees to Oscars. Unlike many pundits, I knew that the Beasts of the Southern Wild score didn't have a prayer since Oscar's music branch is notoriously exclusive. In addition to their resistance to new composers they also don't really cotton to directors muscling in on their territory, so step away from the sheet music Benh Zeitlin, Benh Zeitlin. (Even an Oscar God as Revered as Clint Eastwood hasn't been able to do it.) Nevertheless Oscar voters and I do have a bit of overlap here as we all swooned for Dario Marianelli's work on Anna Karenina and Mychael Danna's evocative score for Life of Pi. I'd be pleased if either of them won the category. As for the other nominees, I never quite understand the mandatory nature of John Williams nominations. He's certainly created some classic scores over the years but I swear if he just whistled a few bars on a soundtrack he'd be nominated. I also still don't get the Argo score being nominated since Desplat wrote about five film scores this year and they're ALL better than his decent but surprisingly generic work on Ben Affleck's well regarded thriller. A nomination for Zero Dark Thirty would've been so preferrable.

Should Win: Dario Marianelli, Anna Karenina
Will Win: Mychael Danna, Life of Pi. (Even though the music branch is loathe to welcome new blood once they do, they don't tend to have issues with them actually winning the gold.)
Possible Spoiler: Despite Williams' endless nominations, Oscar voters don't seem to be sentimental about giving him a final (and sixth) statue, so I'm guessing Danna's only potential loss comes from Argo-Mania. Alexandre Desplate still hasn't won an Oscar which is starting to seem crazy. 

SONG
Though Oscar and I don't have much overlap -- look, I know Joyful Noise is a crap movie but Dolly Parton writes beautiful movie songs and still doesn't have an Oscar --  I really love the Oscar nominees anyway. All of 'em! It was a good year for original movie songs. I'm looking forward to the performances (should we get them... and it seems like we will).

007 Skyfall - Opening Credits (Best Quality Yet) from Gunnar Lien on Vimeo.

Should Win: Skyfall
Will Win: Skyfall (the night's biggest lock?)
Possible Spoiler: Skyfall... in case they decide to give Adele two Oscars just to see if she pisses herself laughing. 

SOUND EDITING & SOUND MIXING
Oscar likes exceptionally loud movies in the sound categories from the following genres: sci-fi, war, musicals. Which is why you rarely see fragile sounding haunted dramas like, say, The Deep Blue Sea, or fascinating soundscapes like Cosmopolis or artful indies like Beasts of the Southern Wild in the mix. So the weirdest nominee from their choices might be Lincoln which is not particularly loud or showy in terms of sound. I think they missed the boat in ignoring Prometheus in both sound categories this year... but the studio didn't really campaign so there's that. The sound categories can be difficult to predict since who knows what actors make of "sound", you know? And they make up the biggest voting block for winners. Greg P. Russell has been nominated 16 times without winning and he's up again for Sound Mixing on Skyfall. If enough voters become aware of his Oscarless plight, I can't see him losing for such a well loved widely seen film. But are they aware?

watery films are often popular in sound categories

Should Win (Mixing/Editing): abstain... I'm still thinking about this
Will Win (Mixing/Editing): Skyfall & Life of Pi... wild guesswork. They do sometimes split those prizes... and these two films might be in tough battle after tough battle for the entire first half of the ceremony in the craft categories.
Possible Spoiler (Mixing/Editing): Les Misérables & Skyfall

What are you rooting for soundwise with Oscar and what do you think of the film bitch award nominees

Tuesday
Dec112012

Original Song Eligibility List = Lots of Opportunities For Oscar Night Celebrity Live-Singing!

Now that Skyfall has been declared eligible can Adele finally break the unofficial NO NOMS FOR BOND thing that's been going on forever?As you may have heard, 75 songs have qualified for consideration for Oscar's Best Original Song Category...and not just from animated films. I love this category in my more imaginary moments neither because of what's been nominated over the years (ewww) nor any belief that songwriting is a particularly valid "filmmaking achievement". I only love it for its potential to provide my favorite night of the year with some entertaining interludes -- I love acceptance speeches but you gotta break the night up for variety's sake. Sadly, Oscar has been mucking with this category for so long that it almost never reaches its potential of providing 5 awesome short breaks from people standing at podiums, preferrably while also letting various celebrities sing live to us. In the year of Les Miz it will be a great shame if there isn't live singing on Hollywood's High Holy Night.

But I keep the dream alive and pray that one day some Academy executive will realize that the only thing the category is good for is putting celebrities on stage in a different context than acceptance speeches or merely to introduce yet another mind-numbing montage of something that has nothing to do with the films we happen to be celebrating this annum. So with that in mind, I'm placing in ALL CAPS the performer of the song if it's somebody who it would immediately enrage if they chose not to invite them to sing it to us so that they could shove all the songs into one medley for, like, Miley Cyrus to sing or something (remember how obsessed the Oscars were with having Miley Cyrus present there for awhile?! Yeah, that was... well, let's not dwell.)

LIST AND MORE AFTER THE JUMP

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Wednesday
Jul112012

From Here to the Oscars and Back ♫

This morning this sweet ballad popped into my head again -- I recently finally got around to Joyful Noise -- so I thought I'd share it. I hope Dolly Parton gets to sing this at the Oscars to the tune of her third nomination... provided it's declared eligible of course.

If the Academy would ever get their music branch in order, can you imagine how much fun the Original Song category could be? I mean this year alone we could have Paul Williams, Dolly Parton, Taylor Swift and Hugh Jackman singing at the Oscars.

But we've learned not to hope for too much. If you have legacy artists like Bruce Springsteen and Cher and Madonna and whomever singing on stage, you just won't have time for those this-has-nothing-to-do-with-movies-but-we-the-producers-like-it performances from the likes of Cirque du Soleil.

Oscar Trivia / 2012 Original Song Category after the jump...

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Saturday
Feb112012

RIP Whitney Houston (1963-2012)

Jordin Sparks and Whitney in the forthcoming "Sparkle"Breaking news as CNN is currently investigating the discrepancies within the details but Whitney Houston has died at the age of 48, the day before the Grammys no less. She won six of the music industry's top prizes over the span of her career, the last in 2000 for "It's Not Right, But It's OK".

She'll always be remembered as one of the great voices of the 80s and 90s but her career had been quiet for a decade, plagued as it was with substance abuse. I'll personally never forget that chilling "crack is whack" Diane Sawyers interview but there were occasional intermittent signs that Whitney was on the mend. She had recently returned to acting filming a remake of Sparkle with "American Idol" alum Jordin Sparks. 

That musical is currently in postproduction aiming for an August 2012 release date. Whitney's movie career previously was sparse and short but started with a supernova: The Bodyguard (1992) was a smash hit at the box office and the music was an even bigger deal launching a series of hits and becoming the bestselling soundtrack of all time.

Houston jumped from A list co-star to A list co-star: Kevin Costner to Angela Bassett to Denzel Washington. (I remember being miffed at the time that Angela Bassett had to take second billing but I was a possessed Bassett fan in college and hoping to see her snag a second nod for her literally fiery work in Waiting To Exhale.).

The song everyone remembers from The Bodyguard is of course Dolly Parton's immortal "I Will Always Love You". My fondest memory of the song is actually Dolly Parton related. My friends and I would always be like 'ka-ching. You get that money, Dolly!' whenever Whitney held that crazy note which was, appropriately, ALWAYS ♫ since she didn't seem to need to breathe and the song was always on. Mostly out of loyalty to Dolly and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas where 'I Will Always' was first movie-fied but maybe also because I go weak at the knees for a sparkly headdress or wrap, I was more partial to "I Have Nothing."


Rest in Peace, Whitney Houston.  Your voice had plenty and you gave quite a lot of it to the world.

Tuesday
Jan172012

Curio: Dolly Days

Alexa here. With Dolly getting most of the votes in Nathaniel's poll, I felt it necessary to point out that, along with making some Joyful Noise of late, she is also celebrating a birthday this week. While she's had an uneven film presence during her career (Straight Talk was not exactly the vehicle we would hope for her), she can coast on the combined effect of 9 to 5 and Steel Magnolias to qualify as a film star.  So here's a few curios to celebrate the Queen of Country's 66 years. 

9 to 5 Alamo Drafthouse poster by Print Mafia.Sugar Magnolia cupcake toppers, now for sale!Click to see Dolly morph into Kristen Chenoweth...

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