Academy Awards 2020: Best Music Nominees

Well howdy there, ladies and gents. It’s me, Markus, taking a breakation from my vacation. For the past two years, some friends and I have been making blog posts about the various Oscar categories, discussing what we think about the nominees and which we think should/will win. And now we’re doing it for the third time. And as with the previous two years, I will be handling the music categories. So, let’s get into it.

Best Original Score

We’re gonna kick off this little post with the best original score nominees. Not much else I can say about that. Y’all know what a score is. So I might as well quit my stalling and talk about the various nominees.

Alexandre Desplat – Little Women (Sample: Plumfield)

The first score we’re talking about is the one for “Little Women”, the latest adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel, brought to the screen by Greta Gerwig. The score was composed by Alexandre Desplat, one of the best composers in the business. And as per usual, he has delivered something pretty spectacular. Often it delves into jovial period piece tunes, the likes we don’t hear much of anymore. But there are also often times where the score goes very mysterious, giving the overall score a really unique vibe when you switch between that and some of the more light tracks. Then there are a few more emotional pieces as well, and those sound great too. Overall, it’s another hit from Desplat.

Randy Newman – Marriage Story (Sample: What I Love About Nicole)

Next up is the score for Netflix dramedy “Marriage Story”, written and directed by Noam Baumbach, scored by Randy Newman… I’m sorry, it’s so weird to see his name outside of “Toy Story”. Anyway, his score for “Marriage Story” almost sounds like it could fit within a Pixar movie. Because there’s such a balance of grounded human drama with an almost fairytale-esque vibe. And while I have not seen the movie yet (don’t kill me), I get the feeling like this score would give it quite an interesting feel. I like it.

Thomas Newman – 1917 (Sample: Tripwire)

The third nominee we’re talking about is Sam Mendes’ recent war epic “1917”, scored by Thomas Newman. For a war movie score, it is surprisingly understated. That’s not saying there aren’t loud, intense tunes here. Just saying that compared to some other war movies, the score never makes itself as big and brassy, often relying on other kinds of instrumentation to create an emotional intensity that is wholly its own. And it is pretty god damn stunning to listen to. I can imagine it being quite effective to hear within the movie itself.

Hildur Guðnadóttir – Joker (Sample: Hoyt’s Office)

Next up is the score for “Joker”, a different kind of DC comics adaptation, brought to us by Todd Phillips, and score by Icelandic composer Hildur Guðnadóttir (who also did the music for 2019’s “Chernobyl” mini-series). And this score sounds like something right out of a horror movie. Not because there are plenty of sudden stings to make your 12-year old cousin jump, but more in how it relies on low, often eerie instrumentation to create an unsettling vibe that will get under people’s skin… it certainly got under mine.

The one and only John Williams – Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Sample: Battle of the Resistance)

For our final score today we have the one and only John Williams’ final entry in the long running “Star Wars” franchise. There’s not much to say other than it’s another “Star Wars” score. Lots of loud brass to create an overwhelming feel of grand adventures. I can’t really go more in-depth with it, as everything you can say about a “Star Wars” score has been said a kajillion times before. All I’ll say is that it’s good… because “Star Wars” music is always good.

Who I want to win: Joker.
Who I think will probably win: Little Women or 1917.

Before we move onto our next category, my friend Maddy has sent in a little paragraph about this year’s score nominees I’d like to share with you all:

Score is a very exciting category this year, and I think the two front runners are Joker and 1917. If Hildur Guðnadóttir wins for her Joker score she’ll be the first woman to win in the category, and if Joker is going to win anything I’d be ok with it being this.

And here’s one from Martin:

This would appear to be a straight up battle between Guðnadóttir and Newman. But even 15 nominations later, and after producing a stirring, breath-taking score for 1917, there’s a substantial chance that Newman could lose out yet again. Which begs the question, what has he got to do to end his run without an Oscar?! If she wins, Guðnadóttir will become the first woman to win since the score category became one single category. While Desplat’s score for Little Women was delightful, it’s unlikely he’ll be claiming his third Oscar. The nomination for Williams does feel like a token nomination, and is more of a celebration of his work in general, given that his score for The Rise of Skywalker was, like the film itself, unremarkable. For the “Portals” track, in Avengers: Endgame alone, Alan Silvestri was deserving of a nomination.

Best Original Song

As with all other years, not only do score get nominated for Oscars, but individual vocal tracks do too. Which means we gotta talk about them as well. So here we go.

I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away, Randy Newman – Toy Story 4

Speak of the devil and he shall appear, it’s our old buddy Randy Newman doing music for “Toy Story”! If you’re like me, you’ve enjoyed Newman’s vocal tracks from previous movies. And this is another addition to that pile. It’s a fun-sounding song about something way more mature than one expects from an animated film about toys.

I’m Gonna Love Me Again, Elton John & Taron Egerton – Rocketman

“Rocketman” is a movie about Elton John. And it seems like the sir gave us a new song in conjunction with it, sung by him and the film’s star, Taron Egerton. And man, this is some fun shit. This is the kind of stuff I’d love to hear at parties (if I were invited). It’s seemingly about self-love, something we all need a bit more of. Combine that with the funky instrumentation and talented vocalists, and you got yourself one hell of a song.

Stand Up, Cynthia Erivo – Harriet

Cynthia Erivo, talented actress and wonderful singer recently starred in “Harriet”, a movie about former slave Harriet Tubman. Not only did she nab a best actress nomination for her role there, but she also managed to get a nom for best original song. And it’s a well deserved one. “Stand Up” is a beautiful soul song about standing up and being free. It’s a strong tune wonderfully brought to life by Erivo’s great voice and obvious passion for the themes and story.

I’m Standing With You, Chrissy Metz – Breakthrough

“Breakthrough” is a movie that seemingly no one saw, but here we are, talking about its one Oscar nomination. Written by Diane Warren and performed by Chrissy Metz, “I’m Standing With You” is a fairly standard soul/pop ballad that you’d hear in any old drama movie. It’s not bad, if I heard it again I wouldn’t be upset. But it’s not one of those I’m gonna be humming and remembering in a week.

Into the Unknown, Idina Menzel & AURORA – Frozen 2

“Frozen” getting a sequel was never in question. And that sequel getting another Oscar nominated song after… that other one that shall not be named… was also never really in question. And guess what? This is less ear-bleeding than that other one. It’s way less of an annoying earworm. Though while Menzel’s voice is nice to listen to, It’s the instrumentation and background chorals that intrigue me. That shit is great. Yeah yeah, Menzel does a good job, but I like the background stuff more here.

Who I want to win: (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again.
Who I think will probably win: Into the Unknown.

Remember Maddy from before? Well, she’s back with some choice words about the original song category:

Best original song is such a dead category this year, with no one song being a stellar stand out (at least in comparison to past years eg Shallow/ Let it Go). I don’t really know which way it will go, but think it will probably be Elton.

And here’s Martin again:

While Rocketman definitely could have got a few more nominations (Costumes and Best Actor), the one nomination it has picked up is likely to end in triumph for the Elton John biopic. As well as her nomination for Best Actress, Cynthia Erivo’s soulful performance of “Stand Up”, probably represents its closet challenger. However, a victory for Elton would be a fitting tribute to a true legend of the music industry.

So those were the music categories for the 2020 Oscars (airing tonight). Who do you want to win out of all of these? And do you have any scores or songs that got snubbed in the nomination process? Frankly I’m sad that the score for “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” didn’t get any love by the academy. Anyway, leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one.

Collaborators:

FiveThreeNinety

Through the Silver Screen

Plain, Simple Tom

Perks of Being Nath

Academy Awards 2018: Best Music Nominees

Hello there, ladies, gentlemen, and space aliens. The Oscars are not far away (as of writing it’s less than 24 hours to it), so to celebrate that I have teamed up with a bunch of other bloggers to talk about the various categories, and give our thoughts and predictions on them. When it was time for me to choose, I chose the music categories (which had been lumped into one), because of my undying love of music and occasional analysis of it. I also chose it because I haven’t seen all the movies yet, so this is one I can do from the comfort of my own room (thank you, spotify!). So without further ado, let’s get into it.

Best Original Score
The first category we’ll go through is best original score, the category celebrating the works of the composers who work so hard to help us get immersed. So here are the nominees.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – John Williams.

First up we have the one and only John Williams and his music for the latest entry in the “Star Wars” franchise. And this really has everything that you’d expect from “Star Wars” music at this point. Big brass, tense strings, catchy melodies. And whereas the score for “Force Awakens” was damn good, it doesn’t really hold a candle to “The Last Jedi” (not comparing the movies, just the music). There are throwbacks to the previous movies in the series throughout this score, but none of it feels like forced (HA!) pandering, but rather fun inclusions to make it all feel a bit more connected. But as great as the music here is, I don’t think it has a chance in this Oscar race. Would I be made if it won? No. But we’ve heard these stylings before, and I feel like it doesn’t have the same chance at the gold due to that.

The Shape of Water – Alexandre Desplat.

Our second entry is the score for “The Shape of Water”, the latest weirdness from Guillermo Del Toro. As of writing this, I have not seen the movie, so I can’t comment on how well the music works within the movie. But I can comment on it as it’s own entity, and I can safely say that this score is fantastic. It takes a couple cues from old school John Williams, and even a bit from Wes Anderson’s movies (which is funny considering Anderson has worked with Desplat before). But it does a lot of unique things to give it a really odd, yet beautiful sound that works for this kind of odd love story. I’d say this has a very good chance of getting the Oscar.

Phantom Thread – Jonny Greenwood.

Here we have the score for “Phantom Thread”, the latest movie from Paul Thomas Anderson, and the final movie of actor Daniel Day Lewis. This score relies heavily on piano and various string instruments (violin being the most prominent). It creates an emotionally charged sound that evokes a lot of dramas from the 70s (I notive a little bit of “Godfather” in there). This score has a pretty good chance of taking the Oscar, though I’m not 100% sure if I want it to. I’m a little split on it.

Dunkirk – Hans Zimmer.

So here we have a score from one of my favorite composers, for a movie by one of my favorite directors. Yet I have somehow not seen “Dunkirk” as of writing. But what we have here is an intense and very unique score that makes use of not only your typical orchestral sounds, but also a ticking clock and a few other sounds that I can’t identify that easily. But I must say that this sounds fantastic, and it makes me tense up a bit, without the visuals of the movie. Zimmer catches the horrors of war incredibly well with his music, creating a haunting but also beautiful sound that drills itself into my bones and makes me feel like I’m in this horrible situation. So I’d say Zimmer has a good chance at getting the statue.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Carter Burwell.

Hey, finally a movie I’ve actually seen! But yes, the final score nominated for an Oscar is Carter Burwell’s score for Martin McDonagh’s masterful “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”. At times sounding like a western, at times sounding like an emotional drama, Burwell’s score perfectly captures the tumultuous journey of Mildred as she tries to get justice for what happened to her daughter. The music follows her arc perfectly, from the badass and cool, to the intimate and emotional. But as much as I love the music of “Three Billboards”, I doubt that it will take the Oscar. Would I be happy if it did? Hell yeah. But nothing about it really says “I can and will grab that Oscar” like some of the other contenders did.

Biggest chance of winning: The Shape of Water.
My pick: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

So those were the original scores. Now moving on to the second half.

Best Original Song
Time for the category that celebrates specific tunes made for the movies we watch. It’s an interesting category that I don’t fully understand the point of, but I won’t say no to a bit of music. So let’s go.

Mystery of Love – Sufjan Stevens – Call Me By Your Name.

First song on the list is “Mystery of Love”, a song from “Call Me By Your Name”, a movie about sexual discovery rather than identity theft (missed an opportunity there, yo). Written and performed by Sufjan Stevens, it almost feels like something that you’d hear from José González, but with a slightly bigger lean towards the pop side of it all. And I must admit that this song is pretty damn good. As the title suggests, it talks about how weird and mysterious the concept of love actually is. It has an interesting and unique sound that I like listening to. Do I think it has a shot at the Oscar? Hard to say, really. Would I be okay with it winning? Sure. I’m just unsure how the Academy would vote on it. Some songs/movies are easier to pin the chances of than others, and this one’s a bit challenging to pin down.

Mighty River – Mary J. Blige – Mudbound.

Here we have a song from a movie I’ve actually seen. “Mighty River” is part gospel, and part radio ballad. And it strikes a good balance between the two to make a song that is pleasing for the ears while still having an interesting and somewhat unique sound, at least for the current music industry. It also evokes those big, emotional songs you could hear in various movies from back in the day. Like “My Heart Will Go On” or that Faith Hill song from “Pearl Harbor”. So I’d be perfectly fine with “Mighty River” winning… shit, I’d say it’s chances are good.

This Is Me – Keala Settle – The Greatest Showman.

So here we have a pop song from a musical about P.T. Barnum, a man who wasn’t a very good person… but they still decided to make a colorful musical about him and his circus. False depiction of a historical figure aside, how is this song? Pretty good. It’s a very radio-friendly pop song that still manages to elevate that with the help of some solid crescendos and a slightly more old school approach. Do I want this to win? Not really. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it, but I don’t think it does anything that makes it worthy of that prize. It’s a little bit too… generic, in my opinion.

Stand Up For Something – Andra Day feat. Common – Marshall.

Here we have a song from the Thurgood Marshall biopic “Marshall”. This is a pop song with a good amount of soul thrown into it to create a sound that I really enjoyed listening to. Plus, the lyrics about standing up for a cause are somewhat inspiring, especially when delivered by Andra Day’s gorgeous voice. There’s also a short bit where Common raps, and it’s really good. Do I think this song has a chance? Maybe. It definitely has a foot in the door, but it’s hard to say how much that will help in terms of actually winning. Let’s say the chances are pretty good.

Remember Me – Benjamin Bratt/Kristen Anderson-Lopez/Robert Lopez – Coco.

The final song on the list is “Remember Me (Ernesto De La Cruz)”, a mostly upbeat and energetic song from Pixar’s latest film, “Coco”. The lyrics are good, the the instrumentals are good, it’s very personal to the writers… and it’s sung by the great Benjamin Bratt. Yeah, this is great. I haven’t seen “Coco”, but this song has made me want to check it out even more. The chances for this to win are pretty good, and I wouldn’t be mad if it did. ’tis a good song.

Biggest chance of winning: Mighty River.
My pick: Mighty River.

So those were the original song nominations.

And those were all of the music nominations from the Oscars, and my thoughts on them. But now I wanna hear from you guys, which score/song do you think should/will win? Please leave any and all answers in the comments, I really wanna hear from you guys.

The people I collaborated with on this:

Plain, Simple Tom.

Through the Silver Screen.

Angus McGregor Movies.

QuickFire Reviews.

Fivethreeninety.

Perks of being Nath.

Have a good one.

Movie discussion: Jamie Foxx is the main character in Collateral (2004)

How are you guys doing? Today I felt like starting another “series” here on my blog. In this “series” I will choose a movie related topic that I want to discuss. I will do these every now and then, not just to spit my thoughts out but also to here what you guys think about the situation. I will also be getting into a few spoilers in this “series” about the different movies I will be talking about throughout, so if you haven’t seen that specific movie…then go away, please. And today we are starting off with something that has been pinching me in the back of my head for a while now. And that is about one of my favorite movies; “Collateral”. So let’s begin!

tom_cruise_jamie_foxx_collateral_wallpaper_-_1366x768

If you didn’t read the title of this entry, I will be talking about the main character of the fantastic movie “Collateral”. And you might be thinking “But if you say he’s the main character, then he is the main character right?”. Eh, wrong. The story of the movie is about the taxi driver Max (Jamie Foxx) who one night meets the very smart, very smooth hitman Vincent (Tom Cruise). Max is kept at gunpoint by Vincent through the entire movie as he is forced to drive Vincent to all his destinations where he has to kill somebody. Now if you listen to that short (and odd) synopsis of the movie you would automatically assume that Jamie Foxx is the main character, right? But if you go to imdb.com and look at the 2 Oscar nominations this movie got, Foxx was nominated for “Best Supporting Actor”. Do you see now how this is weird to me? Look, I know that Tom Cruise at the time was a slightly more well-known and popular actor…but that doesn’t make him the main guy in this movie. Sure, he is one of the main ones, but if anyone should have gotten the “Best supporting Actor” nod, it should have been Cruise. My guess on this is like I said, Cruise was the more popular actor at the time and therefore he wasn’t the “Supporting actor” in the pair. But I honestly don’t think that is an excuse to put the most prominent actor/character as “Supporting”. Look, I love Tom Cruise as much as the next guy, but I can see who is supporting or not in a movie. In the end, Max is the one still standing out of the two. Let me shortly recap the final(ish) scene of this movie for you. Vincent leaves Max in the street and goes after his final target who is a woman (Jada Pinkett Smith) Max met earlier that very same night. Max goes after him (after Vincent is gone, of course). He goes to the building where she works and Vincent has gone into. Max has gotten hold of a gun, shoots up the glass and gets in. He finds Vincent and Annie in there. Max and Annie escapes and enters the train…Vincent follows. In the end (which is slightly blurry) Vincent dies and Max & Annie lives on. The character you see most in the movie is Max. You see this movie (mostly) from his point of view.  And that makes Max the main character! So why in the hell is Jamie Foxx listed as “Best Supporting Actor”!? If you have a theory, leave it in the comments below and let me know.
Also, since you’ve gotten this far I assume you have seen “Collateral”. And in that case, what did you think of it? Let me know! Like I said, it’s one of my favorite movies of all time.

I hoped you “enjoyed” this little thing. I will be doing more of these later on, so stay tuned!

Now that I think about it, they kind of did the same thing with “Interview With The Vampire”. Ya know, had Tom Cruise being the most prominent actor on the posters/promotional art/DVD covers…odd.

Movie Review: The Master (2012)

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Back on the drama platform again. Some dramas get universal praise, while some get hated and some are just somewhere inbetween. And no, this is not one of the inbetween movies…at all. This is a movie that got recognized as a great movie pretty damn quick. But is it something that this guy can get behind and love as much as the critics did?

Ladies and gentlemen…”The Master”.

The story of the movie is set in 1950 and follows a man named Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix). Freddie isn’t really a completely stable person. First he was kind of traumatized by being in war and then he ended up a bit of a drunk. One night when he is on one of his drunken escapades he ends up one a boat filled with people led by Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Dodd is someone who the people pn the boat call “Master” (Roll credits). Basically it is like a cult or organization that Freddie ends up joining. And then he struggles to be in the organization but also having the disadvantage of having the bottle as his best friend. And that is it realyl considering how difficult it is to explain this movie without spoilers. But the premise is kind of interesting and the execution isn’t too shabby. It is just that strangely enough…the story of this movie doesn’t appeal to me. Not saying it’s bad, it just isn’t that kind of super awesome to me. It is kind of good, but not perfect.

The characters are kind of like the story…odd. Okay, I never mentioned odd in the story segment, but it is kind of odd. But the way these characters are is diffcult to say. I could say they are portrayed very realistically, but I am not sure on if what they do is realistic or not. I can at least say that the acting is really good…I mean REALLY GOOD. Joaquin Phoenix is pretty much unrecognizable as this drunken mess of a man. This guy pulls off the role perfectly! I honestly think it is one of the best performances I have seen from any actor. Philip Seymour Hoffman was also great as this leader of the organization. Still, Philip Seymour Hoffman is good in everything. But with characters/acting I was pleased.

The music is fantastic. A good mix of orchestral tracks, both bombastic and calm. Composer Jonny Greenwood did an excellent job making the soundtrack for this movie.

This movie looks better than most movies I have ever seen. Paul Thomas Anderson really shows here that he knows how the camera works and how to make a really good looking scene! Also, when I looked in the cast list for this movie I was surprised to see Swedish actress Lena Endre in there. Not saying seeing here there was a bad thing, just surprising.

The reception for “The Master” was good. On Rotten Tomatoes this movie has a 85% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has 86/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2,5/4 stars and said this;

Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master” is fabulously well-acted and crafted, but when I reach for it, my hand closes on air. It has rich material and isn’t clear what it thinks about it. It has two performances of Oscar caliber, but do they connect? Its title character is transparently inspired by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, but it sidesteps any firm vision of the cult religion itself — or what it grew into.

On imdb.com this movie has a score 0f 7,1/10. This movie was also nominated for 3 Oscars. Best actor in a leading role (Joaquin Phoenix), Best Actor in a supporting role (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Best actress in a supporting role (Amy Adams).

I have given this movie some good words and some less good words. So now I am ready to give it my score. This movie gets my personal 8,43/10 and a recommendation to rent it. This movie has a lot of things going for it, but is still not really worth buying (In my opinion).

“The Master” is now reviewed.

While Philip Seymour Hoffman is cool, he is not as cool as the Master from Doctor Who.

Movie Review: Driving Miss Daisy (1989)

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We all love Morgan Freeman. He is not only a great actor, he is also the man with the golden voice! He has played in some really great movies. The “Dark Knight” trilogy, “Shawshank Redemption” and many more. But these are more modern examples. So how was he back in the day? Today we are taking a look at one of the earlier but still well known Morgan Freeman movies.

Daisies and Donalds (Bonus point if you get the reference)…”Driving Miss Daisy”!

This movie follows Daisy Werthan (Jessica Tandy) who after trying to drive to the store one day crashes the car and ends up sitting in her house doing nothing almost every day. But after a while, her son Boolie (Dan Aykroyd) convinces her to finally get a new driver. Sure, she is hesitant and not happy about the situation, but she agrees. She hires a man whom her son recommended. This man is the African-American man Hoke Colburn (Morgan Freeman). Like I said, at first she is hesitant, but over the years these strats bonding. And that is the basic premise. Doesn’t sound all too interesting? Don’t worry, the execution makes it all so much more entertaining. They get put in some interesting situations (and by interesting I don’t mean like “Collateral” form of interesting). What carries the movie for the most part is what I am gonna mention in the next segment. Oh wait, I can mention one more thing here, a lot of things that have with the story are kinda fun to watch, trust me. Also, this takes place through a lot of years and that is pretty damn cool!

Now…here is what carries the movie. The characters are what carries this movie. They are not only well written, but also incredibly well acted. Especially on the sides of Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman (And that is improtant since they are what the movie is mainly about). Their chemistry is really great and gives us one of the most entertaining team-ups (Couldn’t find a better word…sorry) in movie history. Their dialogues were great. I was also happily surprised the really good performance we get from Dan Aykroyd in this movie (Take note that I have only seen him in “Blues Brothers and Ghost Busters and that doesn’t say much about him). He is really good.

The music by Hans Zimmer…I fucking love it. It is not only serious and beautiful at times, but it can also be delightfully light hearted at times and just make me happy. I have nothing else on this part.

Ony my so called “extras” bit here I really have no words to use. Sorry.

The reception for “Driving Miss Daisy” was overall good. Critics and people seemed to like this movie. Rotten Tomatoes currently has the score of 81% positive reviews. Metacritic has 81/100 on it. Roger Ebert gave this movie a 4/4 star rating and said this lovely thing:

“Driving Miss Daisy is a film of great love and patience, telling a story that takes 25 years to unfold, exploring its characters as few films take the time to do.”

On imdb.com this movie has a 7,4/10 rating. This movie won 4 Oscars. Best Picture, Best Leading Actress, Best screenplay from already existing medium and best makeup. It was also nominated on five more things. But I’m only gonna mention two of them. Best Leading Actor (Morgan Freeman) and Best supporting Actor (Dan Aykroyd).

I liked the story execution, characters/acting, the fantasticly nice music by Hans Zimmer and for the msot part everything. If anything I have nothing negative to say and that might be a negative thing in itself. Still, this movie gets a 9,11/10. However it does not get the “Seal of Approval”. Just trust me. It is however worth a buy if you like most types of movies like me. But if you’re looking for something extremely exciting…you will not like this movie. But still, it is a great movie that I recommend.

“Driving Miss Daisy” is now reviewed.

I wish I would get to hear Morgan Freeman read this in his voice.