Saturday, March 04, 2006

SONGS and SCORES

SONGS

Only three songs are nominated this year for the Oscar® in the category achievement in music written for motion pictures (original song). I am sitting at my computer, drinking coffee from a mug labeled, "9 to 5," which I received when a member of the Los Angeles Working Women, popularly known as "9 to 5". Some of us were asked to consult on the film project NINE to FIVE, and were given mugs in appreciation.

I went to my first Academy Awards® in 1980, and Dolly Parton sang the nominated "9 to 5" (music and lyrics by Dolly Parton). She was, as she is for this year's nomination, the original recording artist for the song as well, which topped the charts. The song didn't win. The honor that year went to "Fame" from FAME
.

Now, I am writing that Grammy Award-winning Parton will perform her nominated original song, "Travelin' Thru" from TRANSAMERICA (music and lyrics by Dolly Parton), on this Sunday's telecast. Wish I could be there.

Kathleen "Bird" York will perform "In the Deep," from the film CRASH, for which she is nominated for writing the music and lyrics. (Her co-composer Michael Becker also is nominated for the music.) York's debut CD on EMI "Wicked Little High," which features "In the Deep," was released February 21.

The Memphis hip-hop group Three 6 Mafia (Jordon "Juicy J" Houston, Paul "DJ Paul" Beauregard and Darnell “Crunchy Black” Carlton, Cedric "Frayser Boy" Coleman), will make history when they perform the first hip-hop song ever performed on an Academy Awards telecast, "It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp" (music and lyrics by Jordan Houston, Cedric Coleman, and Paul Beauregard) from HUSTLE & FLOW, along with Taraji Henson, the actress who sang the hook in the film.

I understand that Three 6 Mafia has "cleaned" the lyrics for the broadcast. I have not seen the movie, but I have heard the song and classify it as light hip-hop with far too much repetition for my brain. Because "It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp" skews "young," it might stand a chance of winning, even with the excess repetition, but I think not. The movie HUSTLE & FLOW received only two nominations, this one and one for Terrence Howard for actor in a leading role. He was fabulous in CRASH as well.

"In the Deep" is a haunting, sometimes discordant melody that compliments CRASH at poignant and powerful moments in the film. However, it is somewhat short on the "likeable" scale, as is the movie. The Academy likes "likeable". CRASH is my favorite to win, but I wonder about its chances of the film snagging the Oscar, and this song winning best song.

"Travelin' Thru" is a ballad, also with repetition, but not as grating to my ears as the HUSTLE & FLOW song. I think that for the Academy, this song is higher on the "likeable" scale than the other two songs. This nomination is probably some additional recognition for TRANSAMERA, not nominated for Best Film, or it could be Parton's year to receive some deserved recognition.

If early on in the telecast "In the Deep" wins best song. Look out! That means CRASH'S chances of winning Best Picture just went up a notch.

To listen to the songs, go to NPR, and clink the links under, "Hear the Nominees". Then, make a comment and tell me what you think.

SCORES

The five nominees for achievement in music written for motion pictures (original score) are: BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN (Gustavo Santaolalla), THE CONSTANT GARDENER (Alberto Iglesias), MEMOIRS OF A GISHA (John Williams), MUNICH (John Williams), and PRIDE & PREDUDICE (Dario Marianelli -- love that name!).

The conundrum of scoring a film is that it should support the film, but not distract the viewer. In other words, if it's a good film score, the viewer shouldn't hear it. So, how do people vote for Best Film Score? They listen to the recorded version, or at least a number of clips, and you can as well.
To listen to clips from the film scores, click links: PRIDE, BROKEBACK and MUNICH, GEISHA and GARDENER.

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