Listen to Chris Cornell’s ‘The Keeper’ from ‘Machine Gun Preacher’

Posted by · 9:45 am · August 29th, 2011

I haven’t heard too many great things about Marc Forster’s “Machine Gun Preacher,” which is set for a bow at Toronto next month. I’ve been interested in it mainly for the contribution of Chris Cornell on the soundtrack, as the Soundgarden front man cooked up the original song “The Keeper” for the film. I haven’t […]

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‘Captain America’ keeps the summer sizzling

Posted by · 12:00 am · July 20th, 2011

So, “Captain America: The First Avenger” wraps up the summer’s superhero slate this week. Yes, we have “Cowboys & Aliens” on the way to keep the general comic book flow going, but Marvel’s other bookend to the summer hits Friday, and, well, I thought it was just (yankee doodle) dandy. “Robust” is the word that […]

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Listen to Alan Menken’s ‘Star Spangled Man’ from ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’

Posted by · 7:07 pm · July 19th, 2011

When Alan Menken was tapped last year to provide an original song for Joe Johnston’s “Captain America: The First Avenger,” I had no idea how that made any sense. Not that Menken isn’t able to branch out of his typical milieu, but it just didn’t really compute for this material. When I finally saw the […]

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TECH SUPPORT: ‘Inception’ dominates below the line

Posted by · 8:47 am · February 28th, 2011

So, the morning after a terrible prediction record at this year’s Oscars, I’ll try to make some sense of what the Academy told us, and what it means for the crafts artists we got to know along the circuit this year. As the evening went on, many people began to wonder if “The Social Network” […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Final analysis, part two

Posted by · 8:40 am · February 25th, 2011

Yesterday we began our final look at the 10 crafts categories.  Check out part one here.  Today, the conclusion.  Meanwhile, you can find my final predictions in all categories here. Best Music (Original Score) Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, despite their atypical approach to film music composition, are very much contenders in this race. Having […]

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‘If I Rise’ music video

Posted by · 2:50 pm · February 17th, 2011

One of the earliest installments of this season’s Oscar Guide covered the Best Original Song category. It could be a tight race, though most are betting on Randy Newman (who we spoke to earlier today) taking his second Oscar, for “We Belong Together.” Another strong possibility, especially given its Best Picture nomination, is “127 Hours” […]

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TECH SUPPORT INTERVIEW: ‘Toy Story 3’ composer and songwriter Randy Newman

Posted by · 11:29 am · February 17th, 2011

When the Oscar nominations were announced last month, composer Alan Menken almost tied Randy Newman for third-most nominations among living artists.  But Newman inched away, nabbing his own nomination for the song “We Belong Together” (listen) from “Toy Story 3” and thereby maintaining a firm grip on the designation. It was Newman’s 20th nomination to […]

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OSCAR GUIDE: Best Music (Original Score)

Posted by · 10:39 am · February 16th, 2011

Recently the International Film Music Critics Association were the last critics group to offer their (specialized) thoughts on the 2010 film year. The announcement made for an interesting counter to the year in score awardage. And the eventual nominees for Best Original Score reflected, if nothing else, a continued break with tradition. The music branch […]

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Best Original Song performances are back

Posted by · 9:31 am · February 4th, 2011

The Academy’s Twitter feed just noted the following: You heard it 1st: Best Song performances are back for 83rd #Oscars! Gwyneth Paltrow set to sing…more on the way. To which I say: Great.  It was grossly disrespectful, I thought, to suddenly jerk them from the telecast last year (and if you heard some of the […]

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The Bagger in-studio with Reznor/Ross

Posted by · 11:53 am · February 3rd, 2011

A little difficult not to be totally envious of Melena Ryzik’s recent trip to Trent Reznor’s crib/studio to talk “The Social Network” with the Nine Inch Nails front man and his composing partner, Atticus Ross:

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TECH SUPPORT: Analyzing the nominees

Posted by · 11:53 am · January 28th, 2011

So the 83rd Annual Academy Award nominations were finally announced this week, and I did fairly well in handicapping the nominees. Outside of Best Sound Mixing, I never missed more than one nominee in a category. Unfortunately, there were no categories where I scored 100% (apart from Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay). Oh well. […]

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OSCAR GUIDE: Best Music (Original Song)

Posted by · 9:09 am · January 28th, 2011

The music branch’s process of nominating in the Best Original Song category changed a few years ago.  Members now screen clips and view contenders as used within the context of their films.  It generally means music used organically has a better shot than the usual closing credits fluff of yore. That rule change has also, […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Final analysis, part one

Posted by · 8:57 am · January 20th, 2011

It seems hard to believe that it’s been more than six months since I wrote this year’s introductory Tech Support column ( a dissection of the art direction race). Much has changed since then, naturally, as we are less than a week away from the big day when we find out the nominees for the […]

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In praise of Reznor/Ross

Posted by · 8:44 am · January 19th, 2011

This year’s Best Original Score race really has me at a loss.  I freely admit that I have no idea what will happen there.  Some days I think we’ll get a small surprise like Alexandre Desplat sliding in for his best work this year in “The Ghost Writer,” others I think we could just get […]

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12/27 OSCARWEB ROUND-UP: Pond on original songs, rigging the ‘Grit’ game, coal for the year’s worst

Posted by · 8:35 am · December 27th, 2010

• Steve Pond offers his perspective on the Best Original Song race. [The Odds] • Jack Giroux talks “Rabbit Hole” with star Sandra Oh. [Film School Rejects] • Michael Cieply reveals how a shrewd publicity executive rigged the game in the favor of “True Grit” the first time around. [New York Times]

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TECH SUPPORT INTERVIEW: ‘True Grit’ composer Carter Burwell

Posted by · 11:54 am · December 23rd, 2010

Nearing the end of our week-long series of interviews with the below-the-line talent of Joel and Ethan Coen’s “True Grit,” we’re talking today with the film’s composer Carter Burwell. Of the entire Coen crafts family, Burwell is one of the true veterans.  He goes way back with the brothers — all the way back, in […]

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Academy DQs scores for ‘Fighter,’ ‘Grit,’ ‘Kids’ and ‘Swan’

Posted by · 5:43 pm · December 20th, 2010

I had a bad feeling Carter Burwell’s work in “True Grit” was going to get the axe from a consistently dubious music branch, and so it has. Along with three other hopefuls. Variety is reporting that Burwell’s score and Clint Mansell’s for “Black Swan” were nixed due to being overwhelmed by pre-existing music (19th century […]

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41 original songs up for consideration

Posted by · 12:32 pm · December 15th, 2010

Via press release, the Academy has whittled the Best Original Song field down to 41 eligible contenders.  They can be found in the category’s Contenders section. Nothing stands out as an egregious snub from what I can tell.  Only one of the songs from “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” is on there, which I guess I […]

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