Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Nov Oscar Buzz and Predictions - Musical Techs

    Today we will be diving into a world of haunting tunes and symphonic enhancement.  As always, I'll tell you what the buzz is saying first, with the previous update's rankings appearing next to the current one in parenthesis.  This will be followed by my predictions and (I swear I'm gonna try) brief commentary. So prepare yourselves for the gentle rhythm of buzz....

Original Song
  1.(1) Les Miserables - "Suddenly"
  2.(7) Skyfall - "Let the Sky Fall"
  3.(2) Brave - "Learn Me Right"
  4.(8) Lawless - "Midnight Run"
  5.(9) Paul Williams Is Still Alive - "Still Alive"

  6.(5) Brave - "Touch the Sky"
  7.(3) Sparkle - "Celebrate"
  8. Joyful Noise - "From Here To The Moon and Back"
  9. Ted - "Everybody Needs a Best Friend"
  10. Frankenweenie - "Strange Love"
Leaving the Rankings:  The Hunger Games - "Abraham's Daughter", The Hobbit - "Song of the Lonely
     The nomination process in this category is so odd and convoluted that often buzz and acclaim count for absolutely nothing.  Two years ago, the song "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" was the clear front runner to win, sweeping the critics awards.  To everybody's amazement we HAD seen the last of it, right after it WON at the Globes.  The AMPAS failed to even nominate it.  This year, they have changed the selection process once again, so maybe now there's actually a point in making educated guesses on the matter.  In the spirit of optimism, I'll predict to the tune of...
   1. Les Miserables - "Suddenly"...Not only does it have the buzz but it has the musical's original composer and lyricist.  If you've never seen the show, trust me, some of the throw away reprises are more memorable compositions than half of Oscar's previous Best Song winners.
  2. Lawless - "Midnight Run"...In addition to Willy Nelson's aging/immortal icon status, the song has been gaining awards momentum ever since its existence was announced for Harvey Weinstein: producer and Oscar ninja!
  3. Brave - "Learn Me Right"...At least one song from an animated film makes it in every year and this is the high profile possibility at the moment. However, "Strange Love" is gaining buzz as well, and there is still time for the tunes from Wreck-It Ralph or Rise of the Guardians to catch on, so who knows?
  4. Skyfall - "Let the Sky Fall"...I know, last time the buzz ranked this one seventh and I ranked it second.  This time the buzz ranks it second and I drop it to fourth.  The song is great, and who doesn't want Adele singing at the Oscars?  Or anywhere?  But....always a but...there are snippets (or samplings, if you must) of music from a previous Bond theme in the tune.  Technically a foul.  Will AMPAS let it slide?  I hope so, but the jury is still out.
  5. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - "Song of the Lonely Mountain"...I really didn't know what to choose here, but this one's been getting a lot of positive, solid buzz, centered largely around writer Neil Finn (former Crowded House front man).  Also, it seems unwisely dismissive to count the Hobbit franchise out before we've seen any of it.

  6. Frankenweenie - "Strange Love"...Bound to be more fun in live performance than some...braver...animated representatives I could think of.
  7. West of Memphis - "Anything Made of Paper"...I just think that this documentary is going to be more noticeable to Academy members than Paul Williams is Still Alive.  Unless this turns out to be the year that Paul Williams actually finds the rainbow connection, I'm going with Memphis for my "obligatory song pick from a documentary feature" that is required of all prognosticators since An Inconvenient Truth won.
  8.  Holy Motors - "Who We Were"...While not the most original of tunes, Kylie Minogue's entry is quite lovely, and the Academy may be looking for an excuse to throw this film a bone.  Holy Motors is wildly loved and respected by the few Americans who have seen or know about it, but it's a little too obscure for the big categories.  No movie is too obscure for a song nomination though, right Paris 36?
  9. Joyful Noise - "From Here To The Moon and Back"...Everybody loves Dolly Parton even if they didn't care for the movie and it has buzz momentum right now.  I'm not expecting it, but I can't ignore it either.
  10. Ted - "Everybody Needs a Best Friend"...Wouldn't it be fun for Seth McFarlane to win for this song on the night he hosts the Oscars?

Original Score
1.(1) Lincoln
2.(3) Life of Pi
3.(5) The Master
4.(2) Argo
5.(9) Anna Karenina

6.(4) Beasts of the Southern Wild
7.(6) Moonrise Kingdom
8.(8) The Dark Knight Rises
9. Cloud Atlas
10. Zero Dark Thirty
     It's been so much fun the last couple of years, scouring IMDB for films that AREN'T scored by Alexandre Desplat so that I don't have to predict five of his.  I have thus composed this list...
  1. Life of Pi...Composer Mychael Danna has written the scores of a dozen or so really high profile films over the years and never received a nomination from the Academy.  He is arguably well over due and his work here is frequently named one of the film's strongest elements.  Besides, I don't want John Williams to have to buy ANOTHER trophy case.
  2. Lincoln...Okay, so six trillion time (approximate) nominee and multiple winner John Williams wrote the themes to Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, E.T., Superman (yeah, the one you can hum in your head without thinking about it), Jaws, and probably the Happy Birthday song.  The only criticism his work ever gets is that it can be a bit overbearing and obvious and Lincoln's music is being praised for...its subtlety.  The nomination, at the least, is a wrap.
  3. Zero Dark Thirty...The audaciously prolific Mr. Desplat currently has greatest buzz for his work on Argo, but I saw Argo and don't remember the music, so I'm thinking that he can easily outshine himself with this one.  Should be some great opportunity for dramatic tension.
  4. Cloud Atlas...The music is just such an essential, majestic part of this film.  The Cloud Atlas sextet is almost a member of the ensemble.  Reaction to this film has been mixed, but it deserves to slip in somewhere besides Make-Up and Visual Effects.
  5. Moonrise Kingdom...It is kind of fun when they make composers compete against themselves and the music here is such a delightful little romp compared to Zero Dark Thirty.  A dual nomination for Desplat handled this way would demonstrate and reward the sheer range of the man's work.

  6. Silver Linings Playbook...Danny Elfman has three high profile films in the race this year and this one seems more likely to break in than either Hitchcock or Promised Land.  The AMPAS does love them some Elfman.
  7. The Master...Johnny Greenwood's jangly, disjointed composition is perfect for this film, some really brilliant work, but...might it seem a little lacking in melodic quality to the ears of the more conservative members of the Oscar voting pool?
  8. Argo...Of course, one cannot completely discount the gravitational force of a Best Picture front runner, even when they can't remember the background music.
  9. Anna Karenina...I can see why so many pundits want to jump on the Dario Mariane bandwagon.  He has one win and an additional nomination for previous collaborations with director Joe Wright.  However, I am not yet convinced that this movie is going to go beyond Costume and Production Design.
  10. Beasts of the Southern Wild...I DO believe that this film will be getting a buzz rebound shortly, but this (like Best Director) may be one category that it has lost its footing in.  Great freshman effort though, from Dan Romer and director Behn Zeitlen (donning yet ANOTHER hat in the production).

     As the music fades out, be on the look out for my next installment of predictions:  Noisy Techs!  You'll hear us coming!

Related posts:  It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (preview to the November Oscar Updates), Can You "Master" Your Nature?Cloudy Connections (Cloud Atlas review), Promarlius Kingdom (Moonrise Kingdom review), I Think You "Argo"ing to Love ItBeasts of the Southern WildSept Oscar Buzz & Predictions - The Techs P:1The Dark Knight Transcends

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