Sunday, February 28, 2016

'Songs about something' and music scores at the Oscars

I recycled Infidel753's comment along with my response at the end of Speculative fiction at the 2016 Razzie Awards.
I hope Lady Gaga wins the best song Oscar, though. I've always liked her. Like Fifty Shades, she offends those people whom, as John Cleese put it, one would truly wish to offend.
Speaking of Lady Gaga, I'll follow up on the music nominees tomorrow.  Stay tuned.
It's tomorrow, so it's time to revisit the nominees for Best Original Song I first mentioned in The songs really are the best part of 'Fifty Shades of Grey'.

First, I invite my readers to Listen To The Oscars’ Best Original Song Nominees along with commentary about each of them from NPR's "Here and Now."  In particular, I want to direct their attention to an observation by guest Mason Daring, a professor of film scoring at Berklee College of Music, a composer of dozens of soundtracks, and a voting member of the music branch.  He noted that this year's batch of nominees had two songs from documentaries (“Til It Happens To You” from “The Hunting Ground” and “Manta Ray” from “Racing Extinction”) but no songs from animated musicals.  He called those two pieces "songs about something" and thought they were the signs of changing times, as he said this was "a year that things matter."  The changing times might affect the chances of what would normally be the favorite, "Writing's on the Wall" from "Spectre," which won the Golden Globe in this category.  Daring opined that a Bond song would normally be a lock, but maybe not this year.

That uncertainty is reflected in the predictions.  FiveThirtyEight included the category in Every Oscar Prediction We Could Find.
Goegan says “Writing’s on the Wall” from “Spectre.” Paddy Power’s favorite is “Til It Happens To You” from “The Hunting Ground,” with 2-to-5 odds.
New York Magazine's Vulture came to a similar conclusion in Vulture’s Final 2016 Oscar Predictions for Every Category.
The best song in this category is "Earned It," but there is no way on Earth that the Academy is going to give an Oscar to Fifty Shades of Grey. Lady Gaga has been promoting her song from The Hunting Ground with a vengeance, and I suspect "Til It Happens to You" has the advantage because of it.
Finally, Predictwise gives Lady Gaga and Diane Warren's song a 68% chance of winning.  "Writing's on the Wall" comes in second at 12%, "Simple Song #3" and "Earned It" are tied at 9%, and "Manta Ray" has a 2% chance of winning.  Based on those odds, plus Lady Gaga's star Power and Warren's many previous nominations with no wins, my head agrees "Til It Happens to You" will win, although my heart is with "Manta Ray" and "Writing's on the Wall."

Follow over the jump for my thoughts on the nominated music scores.

How did my predictions for best score work out?
Two films, "The Hateful Eight" and "The Revenant," are on all three lists.  "Carol" and "Sicario" are on two.  Add in John Williams for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," and those five look like a good set of Oscar nominees to me.  Stay tuned to see if my projections end up being right.
Here are the nominees from N.Y. Mag's Vulture:
Best Original Score
Ennio Morricone, The Hateful Eight
Carter Burwell, Carol
Jóhann Jóhannsson, Sicario
John Williams, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Thomas Newman, Bridge of Spies
I got four out of five, as "Bridge of Spies" knocked off "The Revenant."  I'm OK with that, as I feel that "The Revenant" will be over-rewarded tonight.  It might just be "one of the worst movies to ever win Best Picture at the Oscars," but I'll save that rant, along with one I've been saving up for "Birdman," for later.  Otherwise, I feel pretty good about my list.

I'm rooting for John Williams, but all the evidence says Ennio Morricone will win.  I'll start with Vulture this time.
John Williams hasn't won for a Star Wars movie since the first one, and I don't think The Force Awakens represents his best franchise work. If I had my vote, I'd cast it for Carol's Carter Burwell — somehow, this is his first nomination, even though he worked on acclaimed movies like Fargo and No Country for Old Men — but the towering Ennio Morricone has better odds for The Hateful Eight, especially since the movie has a whole prologue drenched in his music.
The story's the same at FiveThirtyEight.
Singman picks “The Hateful Eight”; Henry’s team says “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” “The Hateful Eight” is the Paddy Power favorite with 1-to-12 odds.
Finally, Predictwise has "The Hateful Eight" with an 87% chance of winning, compared to 7% for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," 3% for "Sicario," 2% for "Carol," and 1% for "Bridge of Spies."

IMDB shows that Morricone has been nominated six times before for an Oscar and never won.  He's probably due, just like Diane Warren.

I'll post about the winners of both the Oscars and Razzies later.  Stay tuned for a post about Leap Year Day.


  1. Fury Road deserved a Best Score nomination. Maybe not to earn it, but it was an incredible, pounding operatic/metal mix.

    And Doof Warrior should have shown up to sit in the audience in hopes of winning it. :(

    1. Not with the Music Branch of the Motion Picture Academy doing the selecting. However, it did get a nomination for that category over at the Saturn Awards. Maybe Doof Warrior can sit in the audience there. The audience there would probably love it!