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Music At The Oscars 2014

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Music at the Oscars – the winners and losers

The 2014 Oscars was definitely a show unlike those in former years. CBS described the front row of the Oscars as comparable to a club. Donald Trump asked the question “Where was the glamour?”. It appears that there is much talk about the event and a handful of selected winners, but no real focus on the winners and losers overall. Being that the Oscars gives awards for music, it is essential that a musician or just a lover of a great track take note as to the winners and losers of this event. Regardless of one’s feelings as to the sanctity of the event, one will be benefited to know the winners and the composers of these pieces.

Best Original Score

These nominations were listed in detail in an earlier post. However, as a refresher the nominations were The Book Thief, Gravity, Her, Philomena, and Saving Mr. Banks. What made the nominations so great this year is the definitive differences in the selections. Where Saving Mr. Banks had a more classical tone, Philomena has more of a happy and positive undertone.
The winner, Gravity, is known for the modern techno/ electrical music style. This goes well with the movie as it is based in outer space (which on the whole is usually associated with futuristic events and places). The scope of the movie blends wonderfully originally composed music from Steven Price with background music and subtle sounds that control the emotions within the movie.

Best Original Song

Being a little partial to animated films, I am quite happy to see that two animated features made the nominations for the best original song. This is not entirely a surprise. Composers for children’s movies spend a tremendous effort ensuring that at least one of the songs within the movie will get stuck in the child’s head. Both of this year’s animated features were excellent movies in my opinion. The songs which were nominated from the animated features are “Happy” from Despicable Me 2 and “Let it Go” from Frozen.
Apart from the animated features, two more movies of just as great importance were nominated. “The Moon Song” from Her, which was a late comer in terms of the nominations and features considered for an Oscar, and “Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, which captures well the story of Mandela, were both nominated. “Let it Go” from Frozen won the Oscar much to this writer’s satisfaction.

Sound Editing

When it comes to a great movie, sound editing is a key factor to the film’s success. A film that relies solely on royalty free music or stock music is doomed to fail. However, a film that does not incorporate sounds which are known to the public will also fall short. A nice blend of originality as well as background sounds and music is needed.
This year Gravity won the Oscar. Competing for the award were Captain Phillips, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, All is Lost, and Lone Survivor. Those which are in film are encouraged to look at the editing teams for these films. Research the software which was used as well as listen to the track and see the methodology that presents itself.

Sound Mixing

It is my opinion that sound editing and sound mixing go hand in hand. Apparently, so did those which determine the winners of the Oscars. Gravity won its third Oscar concerning music. The other nominations were Inside Llewyn Davis, Captain Phillips, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and Lone Survivor.

How the Oscars relate to composers

If one were to take away all of the added material of the night’s events and focus on the Films and the awards, then one will see the craft of professionalism at its peak. For a composer, one need to see which scores are recognized as being worth an award and which scores do not even get nominated. Those composers which have a proven track record for producing great scores should be researched especially if the genre is similar to that which you produce.
Film Producers need to look at the musical scores to see how the directors, editors, and composers merged the score, background music, stock music, and such together. Iconic films are made not only because they contain great shots and dialog (though this is the number one factor), but also because the music found within them directs and conditions the audience to the producer’s vision.
These are the winner’s for this year’s Oscars. Remember, just because a film did not receive a golden statue does not mean that the music within the film is not worth considering. One is strongly encouraged to look at all nominations and if possible listen to the soundtracks from these movies.

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