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Entries in Original Song (68)

Monday
Dec162013

The "Original Song" Eligibility List. Hum Along

Look, I enjoyed the "Please Mr Kennedy" song scene in Inside Llewyn Davis as much as anyone -- I was laughing out loud -- but I am curious why people ALWAYS want novelty songs to be honored for gold? Is it because they don't take the Original Song category seriously? I'm still pissed that everyone was rooting for the 30 Rock gag song "Rural Juror" to beat Smash beauty "Hang the Moon" for the parallel Emmy category! "Please Mr Kennedy", which has been nominated for the "Critics Choice" and the Golden Globe is not Oscar eligible but here are the 75 songs that are.

As for other non Mr Kennedy songs that make great scenes from their movies? Just know that we're rooting for "So You Know What It's Like" from Short Term 12 and "Moon Song" from Her. If the former happens can we all agree to pretend it's as good as a supporting actor nomination for Keith Stanfield? Any other FYCs out there from this list? Which movies do you think use their songs well? 

OSCAR'S ELIGIBILITY LIST - BEST ORIGINAL SONG
5 will go on to Oscar nominations

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec102013

Team FYC: "Ain't Them Bodies Saints" Original Score

Team FYC highlights our favorite individual fringe Oscar contenders. Here's Philippe Ostiguy...

Last January, waves of chatter came rushing out of Sundance with glowing words for a little American drama that has steadily enchanted audiences since. Though it can’t be credited with much innovation, David Lowery’s Ain’t Them Bodies Saints is an old-fashioned tale of love and crime told with heart, eager to pay tribute to Americana pioneers.  Though its sun-kissed cinematography and trio of lead performances by Rooney Mara, Ben Foster and Casey Affleck have been the main talking points, the film earns most of its magic by way of Daniel Hart’s musical contributions, at once delicate and tense, alert and dreaming.

Classically trained violinist Hart, who has released music under his own name as well as with his bands The Physics of Meaning and Dark Rooms, has little film experience: his only other scoring credit is on Lowery’s previous film, St. Nick. But that’s about to change. His work on Saints is memorable and precise, a perfect fit for the film that beautifully stands on its own. His string-heavy compositions are wistful and light as daydreams, yet, from the nostalgia of “Do You Remember That Day” to the slight dissonance of “Ruth Tries to Write”, always suggest the violence of emotions below the surface. It’s a subtle and layered score that, though deeply rooted in tradition, always feels alive, fitting in somewhere between Nick Cave and Warren Ellis’ haunting work on The Assassination of Jesse James and more cacophonic Lawless score.

The songs composed for the soundtrack deserve a mention, too: between the Motown-esque ‘60s throwback of Andrew Tinker’s “Ain’t Long Enough”, Curtis Heath and John Graney’s bluesy “Been Waiting” and the soulful country of “Siren Call” and “Here We Are”, which both sound like they were written half a century ago, Hart’s compositions find a slew of striking complements that make Saints’ a most well-rounded soundtrack – and one that, though it might not turn the Academy’s head, more than deserves a spin or two. Or more.

You can listen to part of the soundtrack here.

Saturday
Dec072013

Team FYC: "The Great Gatsby" for Original Song

This FYC series brings together all Film Experience contributors to highlight our favorite fringe Oscar contenders. Here's Andrew Kendall on a tune from Gatsby, a movie which just won two Grammy  nominations

Too often when we consider original song contenders we tend to focus on the lyrics at the expense of the music but my favourite number of Baz Luhrman's The Great Gatsby soundtrack manages to excel on both levels. Considering “Over the Love” lyrically, it would win in the battle in find which song has the most fidelity to its source novel. It features references to the “yellow dresses”, “green light” and that “ocean in the way”. But, it’s the musical arrangement of the song which takes it from lovely song into a true contender. I like Luhrman’s Gatsby, even though it falters in an example of reach exceeding grasp. What “Over the Love” manages to do is retain the steady rise from sanguine charm to a heady feverish climax with aplomb, which seems to be what Luhrman is going for but doesn't quite succeed at.

The song begins with the piano as its sole accompaniment and the faintest howling of winds in the background – ominous. The song continues as you expect, verse + chorus + verse + chorus with the piano and a steady percussive sound marking time as well as suggesting a subtle sense of time running out. Then, with a minute and a half left it's launched into the bridge with the evocative line.

“Cause you’re a hard soul to save, with an ocean in the way. But I’ll get around it.”

It's an unsubtle lyric, recalling Gatsby’s own vow to return to Daisy. The lovers are divided by water in the present day where the chasm of  the space between East Egg and Long Island Sound in West Egg separates. But, it's also the Atlantic Ocean, more water, which separates them when Gatsby heads off to war. The double meaning is a nice touch, but it's oddly chilling in the way its rendered ominously, as much a promise as a threat when sung by Florence. And instead of a bridge + chorus + ending like most ballads, Florence’s “cry” leads us into the freneticism of the song’s last bars. Everything builds as “I can see the green light. I can see it in your eyes” is repeated building to an agitated climax until the song ends. It does not fade out to an end, like some songs, but ends decisively, abruptly on an utterance of the choral “I can see it in your eyes”. It is as if musically the song has reached this feverish pitch only to abruptly expire.  Like Gatsby’s life, it feels suspended. A song good in its own right, but haunting in the way it ends just at that climax.

On its own, without context to the film's story, “Over the Love” would still be a beautiful song. But the way its wailing tones not just lyrically but musically enhances the film, and is in turn enhanced by knowlege of the film is what makes priceless. It’s impactful in a way songs written for films don’t always manage to be.

Saturday
Dec072013

Grammy Noms for Gatsby

Somewhere in the past 5 years I lost the thread of popular music -- I can only keep up with so many things and film is obviously my happyplace -- but even when I was firmly ensconced in the music side of pop culture,  the Grammys never made much sense to me. Needless to say I'm lost when it comes to the major nominations though I generally listen in or around the top three categories (Album, Song, Record) to see if something pricks my ears. But I digress. Let's talk about the fields that relate to what we do here at The Film Experience. Grammy has categories for everything including prizes for stage, film and television... but since they're on a different timetable than Oscar, it's a mix of 2012 films and new releases mostly The Great Gatsby that could win Grammy gold.

And the nominees are...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Dec062013

Let It Go... (In More Ways Than One)

I'm sorry. Was I singing too loudly? I'm just watching Frozen's "Let it Go" on loop (what?) now that Disney has uploaded it to YouTube*

One thing that is hard to miss while watching it repeatedly is that a) drag queens will be lipsynching to this in 3...2...1... and b)  new gay anthem and c) Elsa is letting more than just her old repressed identity go in this key scene. Magical makeovers are a guarantee of FABULOUSNESS of course but this one seems to involve not just dress-making but elaborate undergarment construction. Push up bra and a girdle, amirite?

Note how she's just a slip of a thing in her queenly garb. But as soon as she lets her snowy powers out she's suddenly sexualized with larger breast and teensy waist. All the better to strut at you with, my dear. I'm suddenly flashing back to those complaints people had when Brave's Merida joined the princess line and tilted from tomboy towards boytoy with less freckles and a more womanly figure. 

* Color me surprised that Disney released the Oscar-seeking "Let it Go" scene in its entirety, though. More and more if you just wait a month you can piece together about 33% of every movie playing for yourself if you just collect all the clips they release from everything -- even big draw scenes like this one. Such a strange give the farm away media world we live in these days. Here is the movie. Now come see the movie. 

Um....

 

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