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Entries in Justin Hurwitz (2)

Wednesday
Jan232019

One Last Hurrah for the Unloved! (Our Post-Nomination Eulogies) 

by staff

We asked Team Experience to share eulogies & tributes to their most beloved cinematic achievement that was left out on Oscar nom morning. Not everything can be nominated. Since we must now turn our attention to the actual nominations, please shed one last tear of appreciation for these great artists and films.

BEN MILLER: Leave No Trace - you were too beautiful and non-assuming to be truly embraced by an awards body like the Academy.  Yes, Winter's Bone got a Best Picture nomination for Debra Granik's 2010 film, but you were rated PG and there was not a cliche, line of exposition, or bit of over-acting to be found.  You are too perfect a creation to be lumped in with the Oscars.  We will remember you when Ben Foster, Thomasin McKenzie and Granik eventually accept their future statues.

NATHANIEL R: Eighth Grade, you were too lovely and far far too young. Too humiliatingly real, too emotionally fragile and too comically pure for the heightened spectacle of Hollywood's back-patting event. You gave us hope for the future (Elsie Fisher and Bo Burnham have bright ones) while also transporting us back to our own childhood. You were a time machine even H.G. Wells would have marvelled at and cringed through... provided, of course, that he attended the British equivalent of junior high in the 19th century...

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Saturday
Dec292018

Interview: Justin Hurwitz learns the theremin and other "First Man" stories

by Nathaniel R

A lot of people who win two Oscars by the age of 32, with only three films under their belt (not that there's many of those people, mind you) might safely be said to have peaked early. If the Golden Globe nominated score for First Man is any indication however, Justin Hurwitz is still on a steady ascent into his power as a composer. The gifted 33 year-old has scored all four of Damien Chazelle's films. The first three were musicals in spirit or by nature. The fourth, First Man, is less of a departure than expected since the emotive score is crucial to the film's success. 

Chazelle and Hurwitz were college roommates and have been fiercely loyal since. While Chazelle was struggling to get his first films made, always with the plan for Hurwitz to score them, Hurwitz survived by breaking into sitcom writing "I don't take for granted how lucky I was to get to write comedy professionally," he says but the plan was always to be a composer "I am more passionate about music than anything else in the world."  

Our full interview, edited and condensed for clarity, follows... 

NATHANIEL: When did you first know you wanted to be a composer?

JUSTIN HURWITZ: I grew up playing piano, taking lessons since I was six. My parents gave me a synthesizer and a sequencer for my tenth birthday that lets you layer tracks, so I started composing then. I wasn't thinking about movies yet but it was around that same time that I started noticing film scores. The most impactful to me were the John Williams / Steven Spielberg films. Jurassic Park had a big impact on me. E.T. on VHS... I was so in love with that score. 

NATHANIEL: Touchstones for a lot of people!

JUSTIN HURWITZ: As I got into college I discovered composers like Nina Rota and Bernard Hermann and all sorts of others. 

Watching First Man, I thought 'god this most have been an overwhelming film to score,' but on the other hand after La La Land, maybe I'm wrong. Perhaps it was a piece of cake?

It was definitely not a piece of cake. In a lot of ways it was my most challenging score...

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