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Nicole Kidman on Stage

"Any chance this transfers to broadway I wonder?" - Joseph

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Entries in Original Score (41)


TIFF: Journalists at War. "Truth" vs "Spotlight"

On the first day of TIFF last Thursday I saw four consecutive movies from different countries and of different tones entirely that all had a surprise pregnancy reveal scene/shot during their stories. Festivals are funny like that providing you with unexpected throughlines. But sometimes you fully expect the comparisons, if not a schedule that has you watching two similar movies back-to-back. That happened to me with James Vanderbilt's Truth and Thomas McCarthy's Spotlight. Both are journalism pictures with A list casts and both will be gunning for awards honors at year's end. Spotlight is better positioned already with stronger reviews but Truth definitely has its pleasures. While watching them Truth felt more popcorn entertaining but Spotlight is stickier, staying with you afterwards.

Truth vs. Spotlight in 8 categories after the jump...

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SDCC Day 3: Multitudes of Peggy & Hateful 8 News

Anne Marie here with more from SDCC. Most of Saturday's buzz surrounded Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (about which Nathaniel already posted a YNMS), but if capes and cowls aren't your thing, here are 5 other entertaining bits of news from San Diego Comic Con.

5) EW's Women Who Kick Ass Panel assembled a great lineup: Kathy Bates on American Horror Story, Hayley Atwell on Agent Carter, Gwendoline Christie on Game of Thrones, Jenna Coleman from Doctor Who, and Wonder Woman herself, Gal Godot. Someone make this an actual superhero team please. 

4) The Sherlock Special sneak peek. Little explanation given for the Victorian setting, but it's fun to see Bendandsnap Cabbagepatch don the deerstalker.

3) Suicide Squad teaser is all anyone can talk about, but Warner Bros hasn't yet released it online. Fan consensus: Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn > Jared Leto's Joker. I just want to see Viola Davis eat that steak.

2) Hateful 8 Panel, interviews, and new poster. Notice that very important cinephile bait bit in the right bottom corner. Good tagline, too. Tarantino revealed that if he can't shoot on actual film, he won't make them anymore and TV might be a possibility. Best news: he convinced the legendary Ennio Morricone to compose his first western score in decades. The Original Score Oscar prediction chart already updated as a result!

1) Hayley Atwell's Dubsmash Videos. The Agent Carter star alleviated her boredom (and ours) with a Dubsmash challenge to her Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. buddies. She also posed with a huge group of Comic Con attendees doing Peggy Carter cosplay



April Foolish Predictions: Sound, Score, Make Up & FX

April is almost over and we MUST finish our April Foolish tradition - the first wave of Oscar nomination predictions before anyone knows anything. The film year is still only a toddler but they grow up so fast. The first third of the year always features the least amount of Oscar content but from movies already released we'll hope for miracles that Cinderella and Ex Machina could be remembered in the places they deserve to be. But the bulk of the heavy hitters are yet to come. Even in the more popcorn categories like Visual Effects.

Which movies will have original songs? Will the composer Thomas Newman ever win an Oscar? Will Skyfall, atypically embraced by the Academy, have any sort of afterglow with AMPAS to help Spectre win nominations as well? And who will the composers be on a whole slew of Oscar Bait movies that haven't revealed their composer yet (since the score is one of the last things to happen)? These are the questions we're already asking so please do suggest answers in the comments once you've looked at the charts. 

Is Ex Machina too subtle for Oscar? Will Mad Max Fury Road be too outre for them? Will the visual effects category just be a quintet of franchise favorites they've honored before like Jurassic World, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Avengers: Age of Ultron and so on? Will the makeup category be dominated by old age latex, fantastical character creations or a trans woman's journey? 

Care to make any predictions yourself? 


Happy Birthday, Giorgio Moroder

Tim here. Today's the 75th birthday of Giorgio Moroder, pioneering electronic-dance-pop mastermind, and winner of four Grammys. But this being a film site, what we're interested in is his work in movie scoring, for which he won three Oscars. And what stellar work it is!

Moroder's soundtracks - and even more than that, his songs - are absolutely definitive. Any child of the '70s or '80s can't help but associate Moroder's compositions with a certain kind of glossy, high-concept spectacle. Moroder's sleek, borderline-campy music brought pop-art grandeur to everything from the political drama Midnight Express (his Best Score Oscar) to the smutty musical Flashdance and from the kitschy Superman III to the sparkling black fantasy The NeverEnding Story. His compositions for these films are the opposite of timeless; they are emphatically and proudly mired in a specific period of pop culture history.

But for the same reason, his scores and songs are the best imaginable fit for the giddy, playfully shallow cinema of that decade, bringing the energy and dazzle of the first years of the Blockbuster Era to life with style and flair whose period-specific artificiality is their greatest strength, not any kind of weakness. But let's allow the man's music to speak for itself. Here are my three personal favorite from his 80s soundscapes.

From Cat People (1982): "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)", later used to magnificent effect in Inglourious Basterds

From Flashdance (1983): "Flashdance... What a Feeling" (his second Oscar, the first for Best Song)

From Top Gun (1986): "Danger Zone" (he won his third Oscar for "Take My Breath Away" from the same movie)

What are your favorite Moroder film scores and songs?


How Many Oscars Will ______ Win? 

This weekend was a biggie in terms of below the line awards. The Imitation Game won the USC Scripter Prize which goes to movies adapted from literature (and the source material author also wins this prize). The Art Directors guild chose Birdman for Contemporary Film, and The Grand Budapest Hotel for Period (as well as Guardians of the Galaxy for Fantasy). Meanwhile the Editors gave their "Eddies" to  Boyhood for Dramas and The Grand Budapest Hotel for comedies (in addition to prizes for The LEGO Movie in Animated and Citizen Four for Documentaries)

All of this has me wondering if its The Grand Budapest Hotel rather than Boyhood or Birdman that will take home the most Oscars on February 22nd if not Best Picture. It's got a decent shot at four or five statues: Costumes, Production Design, Screenplay, Score, and Makeup & Hair. Of those Screenplay is the longest shot since Birdman vs Boyhood will be tough to squeeze between to nab the Original Screenplay gold.

Perhaps it will be a spread the wealth kind of year with every Best Picture winning something. Like so...

How many oscars will The Grand Budapest Hotel win?


  • Boyhood (4 or 5) Picture, Director, Supporting Actress, Editing (and maybe Screenplay?)
  • Grand Budapest (3 or 4) Costumes, Production Design, Makeup & Hair (and maybe Score?)
  • Birdman (2 or 3) Screenplay, Cinematography (and maybe Actor?)
  • American Sniper (2) Sound Editing and Sound Mixing
  • Theory of Everything (1 or 2) Actor (and maybe Score?)
  • The Imitation Game (1 or 2) Adapted Screenplay (and maybe Score?)
  • Whiplash (1 or 2) Supporting Actor (and maybe Adapted Screenplay?)
  • Selma (1) Song


(As you can see I'm stumped about who might win Best Score. I can see it going any which way.)

Not that there's ever a year where every Best Picture nominee wins something now that we have so many Best Picture nominees. Someone or someones usually go home empty-handed - even if they have come into the big night with a ton of nominations. But there's a first time for everything and it could happen.

What'cha think?


We Are the Link

Fistful of Film a wonderful personal take on We Are the Best from a father of girls 
Section Eighty a composer discusses the Oscar-nominated film scores
Coming Soon Milla Jovovich confirms she's about to make another Resident Evil movie, supposedly the final one. She turns 40 this year and started this series when she was but 25.
KCRW Actor Craig Chester believes he's haunted by the ghost of Montgomery Clift 
Out Alexis Arquette taking no prisoners in an interview. But bizarre that she didn't know her own sister was up for an Oscar! 


Indie Wire the lineup of New Directors New Films this year The Tribe and White God are both featured. They feel like anything but "new" to me after a whole year of festivalling but I still haven't had the chance to see either - will they ever open theatrically or just keep doing festivals like this one for a second year?
In Contention most anticipated films of Sundance 
We Recycle Movies you should check out Anne Marie's rainbow countdown to the Oscars
The Carpetbagger welcome to Phase 2 of the Oscars. Also: Mark Schultz changes his tune again on Foxcatcher. I am not saying this snarkily but with concern: this is why we need universal health care and easier access less stigma for mental illness treatment. Something is seriously wrong with this guy 

American Sniper Mania
Grantland excellent piece by Mark Harris on why American Sniper's box office won't help its Oscar run ... "success breeds scrutiny"
Rolling Stone on American Sniper's stupidity - they use a similar comparison to Forrest Gump like the one I tweeted icymi
Movie City News David Poland doing some train of thought hand wringing on the extreme combativeness of theAmerican Sniper and Selma Oscar battle... that isn't really a battle but that people have suddenly made it into one 
Playbill ...but perhaps the worst American Sniper news is that its leading Broadway's Elephant Man revival to cancel several performances due to Bradley Cooper's awards schedule 

Off Cinema
Pajiba the one reason to keep watching Girls 
NYT John Cameron Mitchell returns to Hedwig, the role which made him and also, not so incidentally, brought us a brilliant film director. Make another movie, Mitchell! All three of yours are heaven.
i09 looks at lesser known characters in the public domain. Will any of them be revived? 
i09 they also look at the case of James Bond, now public domain in Canada! But not in the US or Europe.
Towleroad's the story of Björk's new album, released two months early. Sad she broke up with Matthew Barney. They seemed like such an iconoclast match


Oscars Songs & Scores. Plus: Chart Updates

Each year the list of eligible ORIGINAL SONGS that will vy for Oscar nominations holds numerous surprises. These surprises almost invariably fall under the question heading:

That movie had a song in it?"

Apart from song showcases that are an important part of the narrative - remember that sweet tense reunion between Hiccup's father and mother in How To Train your Dragon 2? - many songs are buried in their movies by way of incomplete airings or end credit positioning when people are exiting the theater  -- you have to be the first music in the end credits to be eligible at all. Come second and you're outta there as Madonna learned the hard way for her end credits "Masterpiece" in W.E. (that's the name of the song, not a qualitative judgement). The other annual head-scratcher question about this category is not the mean-spirited "Why does it exist?" but the far less frequently asked "Why is it afforded more nominees than the Makeup & Hairstyling category since literally all live action films require makeup & hairstyling and only a teeny-tiny portion of films have a composer on their payroll writing original songs. Indeed that question is only ever asked by The Film Experience though we think it a good one.

Makeup & Hairstyling is now the only Oscar category still considered unworthy of 5 nominations annually despite being a craft that's used in 100% of live-action movies which a few other categories cannot claim. But that's a topic for when the Makeup Branch finalist list is announced. Why am I talking about it now? My brain, inside a head that requires no hairstyling, hops track is all. Sorry bout it.

The annual list of eligible Original Scores for Oscar's music branch to consider holds a different kind of surprise altogether. Those surprises are about what's not listed. They fall under the question heading:

They disqualified that one? Why???"

This year apparently the music for Foxcatcher and The Two Faces of January -- to name two examples from famous composers (Danna & Iglesias respectively) -- wasn't "original" enough or something for Oscar. But the headline snub is Antonio Sanchez's work on Birdman. It's won much (rightful) attention for its unique percussive approach.

With Birdman out of the way, expect the five nominees to be: Alexandre Desplat (Unbroken), Alexandre Desplat (The Imitation Game) Alexandre Desplat (Godzilla) Alexandre Desplat (Grand Budapest Hotel) and Alexandre Desplat (The Monuments Men). I'm joking but there is no rule against it in the craft categories! You know if John Williams wrote five new scores in a year he'd win all five nominations. Somebody give Desplat a sedative before he burns himself out. He's so brilliant but do you think he'll stop working himself into an early grave once they give him the statue? He's won six nominations in the past decade, most of them from Best Pictures nominees or winners no less, but he has still yet to win the gold.


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