The LAMB Devours The Oscars 2017: Best Original Score

by Jay Cluitt · January 26, 2017 · LAMB Devours the Oscars · 3 Comments

Every day until the Oscars ceremony we’ll be highlighting a different category or movie here on the LAMB! Here’s a link to all the posts written so far:

Kicking things off is JD Duran from Insession Film, talking about his favourite award, Best Original Score:

If there’s one thing that defines me, it’s that I’m a huge fan of film scores. It’s no secret that Best Original Score is my favorite category when it comes to the Oscars. In fact, every year, I send The Academy a letter requesting that they just relent power over to me since most years they get this category wrong. In some cases, it’s a huge disaster. However, the last few years haven’t been as bad, thankfully.
As for this year’s crop of scores, there were some great nominees out there that could have landed in the Top 5. While some great scores were left out, I’m looking at you Jo Yeong-wook (The Handmaiden), the final nominees are all worthy of being selected.
Mica Levi – Jackie
It’s about time that Mica Levi gets some love. Her score from 2014’s Under the Skin was arguably the best of that year, which ended up with zero awards recognition. And while I don’t expect her to win, to see her get nominated is pretty exciting. The way Levi’s score simultaneously builds beautiful melodies while also adding a brooding rhythm adds so much ambience to the film. It also plays well into Jackie‘s thematic undercurrent, and this idea that Jackie’s life is constantly being dragged into places that she doesn’t choose for herself. Mica Levi’s score is no doubt one of the best parts of Jackie.
Justin Hurwitz – La La Land
I hope Mr. Hurwitz has his Oscars speech ready. There is no doubt that La La Land will take this category, and for good reason. Hurwitz’ original score is breathtaking and I would argue that it’s a character in the film. The way it pays homage to classic musicals, while also rendering something modern is wonderful. The track “Planetarium” is arguably one of the best individual tracks you will hear all year, in how it lushly illustrates La La Land‘s romance and what we love about musical dramas.
Dustin O’Halloran – Lion
Dustin O’Halloran’s score is one of the more underrated of the year, up until this nomination. The first half of the film, as it features young Saroo Brierley, features music that is remarkable building such robust pathos. The music does a great job of highlighting how lonely and intense being lost can be, especially for a young kid. The last act changes slightly, where the music becomes more desperate as Saroo becomes increasingly more anxious to find his family in India. Every step of the way, O’Halloran’s score parallels Saroo’s journey, and if you ask me, it’s pretty great.
Nicholas Britell – Moonlight
The score for Moonlight isn’t going to be for everyone. It’s cerebral and isn’t really interested in building emotional support. Moonlight is a film that relies on imagery and performances to carry the weight of the film. Britell’s music however does amplify the film’s transitions and provocative montages, which reflects Chiron’s meditative nature. The music is somewhat raspy in the beginning and slowly develops into something more mature by the end, involving elements of hip hop. While the images from Moonlight speak for themselves, the music does add a captivating touch that you won’t notice much, but it’s doing great work.
Thomas Newman – Passengers
Speaking honestly, I haven’t seen Passengers. But I have listened to the music from Thomas Newman and it’s pretty great. I can’t tell you how it’s used in the film, but on it’s own, it’s an exhilarating piece of music. The electronic elements evoke that sense of adventure this film was marketed to be, as well as this feeling of curiousness that is dreamlike in a way. I would imagine that it couples very well with the film’s space aesthetics. Regardless of how it plays in the film, it’s great to listen to on its own.
Well, that’s it. Those are the five nominees for this year’s Best Original Score. As mentioned above, the winner to me is rather clear, but these are some good candidates that I can be happy with overall.

What do you think of these five nominees?