Thursday, March 1, 2018

NIGHT 2: SOUND – 2018 Oscar Blog/Podcast

March 1, 2018

 Tonight we focus on the aural. Music and sound are instrumental to filmmaking and allow for some of our favorite movie moments. Dunkirk & Baby Driver are two of my top films this year; both utilized their sound designs to the fullest. Let’s check out the nominees and what to expect in the music and sound categories…

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score)
·         Dunkirk - Hans Zimmer
·         Phantom Thread - Jonny Greenwood
·         Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi - John Williams
·         The Shape of Water - Alexandre Desplat
·         Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri - Carter Burwell
Who I’d vote for: The Shape of Water – Del Toro’s masterpiece crosses many genres: science fiction, romance, comedy, horror and heist are at the core of this film. I’m especially drawn to the moments that are reminiscent of French new wave cinema. Desplat’s score seamlessly maneuvers between genre switches and gives the film a consistent tone.
Who will win: The Shape of Water – This is Alexandre Desplat’s 9th Oscar nomination and will likely be his 2nd win (The Grand Budapest Hotel). John Williams got his unprecedented 51st nomination with The Last Jedi but Hans Zimmer’s experimental score for Dunkirk and Jonny Greenwood’s luscious composition for Phantom Thread are the only real threats to Desplat’s chances. Still, I see this being one of multiple awards taken home by the crew of The Shape of Water.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)
·         Call Me by Your Name - Sufjan Stevens “Mystery of Love”
·         Coco - Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez “Remember Me”
·         Marshall - Common, Diane Warren “Stand Up for Something”
·         Mudbound - Raphael Saadiq, Mary J. Blige, Taura Stinson “Mighty River”
·         The Greatest Showman - Benj Pasek, Justin Paul “This is Me”
Who I’d vote for: The Greatest Showman – If it were up to me Pasek and Paul would win their 2nd Oscar in as many years (La La Land). “This is Me” is a catchy showstopper that will have you humming it all the way home. It also has a message of acceptance, tolerance and self-empowerment sung by a bearded-lady; everyone should be looking forward to Keala Settle’s performance this Sunday.
Who will win: Coco – The songwriters behind Frozen’s “Let it Go” will likely win their 2nd Oscar instead of Pasek & Paul. “Remember Me” is the beautiful spine of this animated film that deals with death so poignantly. The song entertainingly drives the film’s point home that our ancestors should never be forgotten.

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Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

·         Baby Driver - Tim Cavagin, Mary H. Ellis, Julian Slater

·         Blade Runner 2049 - Ron Bartlett, Doug Hemphill, Mac Ruth

·         Dunkirk - Gregg Landaker, Gary Rizzo, Mark Weingarten

·         Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi - Michael Semanick, David Parker, Stuart Wilson, Ren Klyce

·         The Shape of Water - Christian T. Cooke, Glen Gauthier, Brad Zoern
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Who I’d vote for: Baby Driver – Although Dunkirk’s sound design is pretty incredible, I’m inclined to back one of my favorite films of the year, Baby Driver. Director Edgar Wright had a clear sound design long before the script was ever written; he wanted the actions to follow the music and vice versa. Baby Driver’s sound mixing is a thing of poetic beauty. Watch this film intently and see how many actions match the sounds and music; the symphony is something to behold.
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Who will win: Dunkirk – This film has a minimalist script with very little dialogue and still comes away as one of the best films of the year. Why? The sound design. Whether on land, sea or air the audience is put right in the middle of this harrowing event from World War II. War movies are always a safe bet in the sound categories; this year is no different.
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Best Achievement in Sound Editing

·         Baby Driver - Julian Slater

·         Blade Runner 2049 - Mark A. Mangini, Theo Green

·         Dunkirk - Richard King, Alex Gibson

·         Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi - Matthew Wood, Ren Klyce

·         The Shape of Water - Nathan Robitaille, Nelson Ferreira
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Who I’d vote for: Baby Driver – See above. This is my favorite sound design for a film in many years. This is a unique take on a musical. It’s not a musical in the traditional sense but a musical nonetheless. Every scene and plot point is propelled by music; and eclectic music at that. This wasn’t the hackneyed collection of radio hits so many films mindlessly use (I’m looking at you Suicide Squad). Baby Driver showed the world that a popcorn movie can also be intelligently crafted.
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Who will win: Dunkirk – Again, see above. How can a film be so riveting with little to no dialogue? The intensity comes from the sound design and, of course, Hans Zimmer’s score. Dunkirk will likely lose out on most of its other nominations which is certainly a shame for Christopher Nolan, who finally got his 1st Oscar nod for directing. The Academy will make sure that Dunkirk won’t go home empty-handed by rewarding the film with both Sound statuettes.

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Check back in tomorrow for Night 3: Visuals!

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