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75th Annual Academy Award Nominees for Best Original Film Score
Tone deaf. To put it bluntly, that is what film critic Royal Brown thinks of the Academy Awards' music division. Only two out of the five nominees for best film score does Brown deem worthy of an Oscar. He discusses his gripes and praises with host Fred Child.

Royal's Oscar Round-Up -- Part 1 -- Frida, Road To Perdition, and Catch Me If You Can

Royal's Oscar Round-Up -- Part 2 -- The Hours and Far From Heaven


'Catch Me If You Can' CD cover CATCH ME IF YOU CAN  (Dreamworks)
Composer: John Williams

Royal's Review: "Brilliant" and "wonderfully witty." Royal believes this is the strongest nominee out of the five film scores. He would like to see it win but thinks the Academy has pigeon-holed Williams into the "spectacular" film-score genre i.e. Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Music clips:

"Catch Me If You Can" | "The Float" | "Recollections"


'Far From Heaven' CD cover FAR FROM HEAVEN  (Varese Sarabande)
Composer: Elmer Bernstein

Royal's Review: Royal thinks this score will probably win the award. It sounds very '50s and, at the same time, is devastatingly effective. The music comes in to remind you that there's a very deep emotion hidden in that particular scene.
Music clips:

"Autumn in Connecticut" | "Turning Point" | "Beginnings"


'Frida' CD cover FRIDA  (DG/Universal)
Composer: Elliot Goldenthal

Royal's Review: A lot of "pseudo-mexicana crap." Royal believes that Goldenthal is one of the most sophisticated composers of film music today (Interview with a Vampire, Michael Collins, etc.), but you wouldn't be able to tell by this score.
Music clips:

"The Floating Bed" | "Alcoba Azul" | "Still Life"


'The Hours' CD cover THE HOURS  (Nonesuch)
Composer: Philip Glass

Royal's Review: The score screams, "I am Philip Glass! I am Philip Glass!" The music seems to be playing in one universe, while the film takes place in another, and "never the twain shall meet." Royal fears that the Academy, wanting to be sophisticated, will choose this score.
Music clips:

"The Hours" | "I'm Going to Make a Cake" | "Morning Passages"


'Road To Perdition' CD cover ROAD TO PERDITION  (Decca)
Composer: Thomas Newman

Royal's Review: Newman uses his distinctive sound of rhythmic figures and open harmonies to evoke the film's Irish background rather than to suggest the era in which the film takes place. Royal loves Newman's music but doesn't think this is his best film score.
Music clips:
"Rock Island, 1931" | "Meet Maguire" | "Cathedral"


In Depth

NPR coverage of the 75th Annual Academy Awards

Other Resources