Sunday, February 7, 2010

My Ballot: Best Original or Song Score

It's that time of the year, when some of the best films of the year make it to my neck of the woods. Better late than never, I figured I'd resurrect In Widescreen in order to share what I think are some of the best films of 2009. I'll kick off my ballot with a nod to the composers (and other music gurus) who stirred the soul with the perfect aural accompaniment.

Nathan Johnson for The Brothers Bloom
The Brothers Johnson like to keep it in the family, but it works. Nathan's variations on a simple melody -- sometimes jovial and sometimes melancholy -- match perfectly with Rian's bittersweet odyssey of a film.

Marco Beltrami, Buck Sanders and John Bissell for The Hurt Locker
For once, the Academy got it right. It's easy to lose track of the musical soundscape underneath the human drama and intense visuals, but it plays an integral part of the film's suspense.

Marvin Hamlisch for The Informant!
Hamlisch's retro-tinged score serves as the glue that holds this uneven film together. Had Soderbergh been able to commit to the semi-ironic tone set by its music, the film might've been a more effective satire. Samples from this score seem to be impossible to find online.

Clint Mansell for Moon
The always-fantastic Mansell captures the emptiness of space, as well as the loneliness and paranoia of the film's protagonist. The score threatened to overwhelm the film at times, but it accurately portrays the mounting urgency of Sam Bell's situation.

Michael Giacchino for Up
Giacchino's work is always a thing of wonder. Not only does he hit all the right notes in this high-flying adventure, but he also reflects the time-burnished melancholy of Carl Fredricksen in the film's central theme, "Married Life."

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