Academy award nominations for music this year have included the traditional nod to composer John Williams and also a disqualifying entry. A movie is never complete without the background music of suspense and romance. There is always something special about hearing the fanfare of an orchestra as we get to know the characters and their story. Without the underlying musical tones, the film would just be full of empty chatter and colorful scenery. Music is what ties the theme of the plot together with intriguing enticement.
Unless the movie is a musical, most theatre patrons pay little attention to what they take for granted. Without the musical score and maybe a featured song or two, the film would be dry and boring. Music is like the blood in the body or the gas and oil in a car that keeps things running. It is a key component of a successful movie picture and one that will be long remembered.
The 2014 Academy Award presentation of Oscars will be held on March 2 and will be hosted by Ellen DeGeneres. The annual event honors the best in motion pictures of the past year as well as the best actor and actress. Supporting roles, costuming, special effects and all of the other behind the scenes elements, including music, are rightfully honored as well. Leading the pack in the music industry is the 49 time nominee John Williams. He is probably the most prolific movie composer of all time. He is nominated this year with his original musical score he wrote for the movie The Book Thief.
The soundtracks of movies are well known and have become the tunes we all recognize. Acquiring earworms from songs that do not leave the mind, the echo of movie music warms the heart and ignites memories. Also nominated in the music category for best original score are the soundtracks from the films Gravity, Saving Mr. Banks, Her and Philomena. Original song nominees usually include five choices, but as Alone Yet not Alone has been disqualified, the remaining four are Happy from Despicable Me 2, Let it Go from Frozen, The Moon Song from Her and Ordinary Love from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. Alone Yet not Alone from the same movie title was taken off the list recently due to composer Bruce Broughton campaigning unfairly for votes.
Williams, age 82, has been churning out music for close to six decades. The New York native has written some of the most recognizable music and movie themes of all time. A jazz pianist and composer, Williams’ work has not been limited to the soundtracks such as Fiddler on the Roof, Jaws, Star Wars, E.T. and Schindler’s List, which he won Oscars for. He also composed the music we have heard for the past two weeks, The Olympic Fanfare. Beginning with conducting and arranging for the US Air Force band when he served in the 50’s, Williams has never stopped the music.
Although the Academy Award for best musical score has gone to numerous other artists such as Rodgers and Hammerstein for Sound of Music, Marvin Hamlisch for The Sting and Henry Mancini for Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Williams tops the list for nominations. Working closely with Steven Spielberg over the years, Williams is the master musician behind many other films like Jurassic Park and Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Another nod in Williams’ direction almost seems traditional, as the Academy Award will go to the most deserving, or the one with the most votes. In any case, Williams’ musical contributions have been a staple of entertainment for years. Conductor of the Boston Pops from 1980 to 1993, Williams has composed many concertos along with the music most people remember from famous films. He is responsible not only for The Olympic Fanfare, but for the music that accompanies Sunday Night Football and NBC Nightly News.
Interestingly, the music heard at the Academy Awards was not composed by Williams, but rather The Fanfare for Oscar was written by the late Jerry Goldsmith. The Academy Awards will surely be another night to remember as all who are honored have earned their time in the spotlight. The Academy Award nominations for music are like the icing on the cake of a fantastic journey in adventure, romance or suspense with all the trimmings of making it better. Honorees in each category are nominated for a good reason and have proven beyond a doubt they can take good care of the statue named Oscar.
By: Roanne FitzGibbon