Oscar season is upon us, world, so let us whip out our nominations for best director, best actor/actress, best picture, etc. and totally forget about one of the most important aspects of a movie: the film score. Indeed, in my humble opinion, film scores are hands down the most important aspects of sound in the process of making a movie complete. It seems that film scores are socially overlooked or swept under the rug to make room for prominent categories that the masses deem more important. So without further ado, I give you my top film score list of the 2014 Oscar nominations.
5. Her – William Butler and Owen Pallett
This movie alone is very well put together. But add french Canadian electronic/alternative band Arcade Fire to compose the score to this already futuristic neo-indie film and you’ve got magic. With the movie taking place in the near future in Los Angeles and lifestyle that wreaks of digital dependency from the cast, the movie already has the feel of a futuristic computing utopia. The soundtrack simply compliments the theme of the movie.
4. The Book Thief – John Williams
John Williams is a legend in his own right and the fact that he came out of retirement to compose the music for this film is pretty profound. Though I have not seen this film, the score is actually somewhat contrary to Williams’ usual brass and string laden compositions. The Book Thief score is a beautiful piece, nonetheless, giving the feel of mystique with its mostly piano and string usage. This score is very well done, which I would expect nothing less from the Master of Scores in John Williams.
3. Man of Steele – Hans Zimmer
It was pretty obvious that Hans Zimmer would be responsible for the film score of ‘Man of Steel’ considering Christopher Nolan had a hand in the film. Hans Zimmer is known for his big, loud, deep, booming brass and he certainly delivers on Man of Steel. Though I wasn’t blown away by the actual movie, the score itself blew me clean out of my seat. Hans Zimmer is at his best on this explosive score complimenting the super hero theme of the movie.
2. Gravity – Steven Price
A newcomer to the film score genre, Steven Price did surprisingly well on the score to Gravity. I put this score at #2 on the list because it hit on all cylinders as far as complimenting the movie and even on the composition having a life of its own. Set it space throughout 97% of the movie, Gravity is already a dark movie and the score certainly sets the mood for this celestial escapade. With is subtle electric feel and moody instrumentations, Steven Price has made a name for himself in the film score world and I am a fan.
1. Oblivion – M83, Anthony Gonzalez, Joseph Trapanese
And the Academy Award for best film score goes to…Oblivion. (At least in my world it wins). With the help of french electronic artist M83, this score could be a full length album on its own. Similar to Her, this movie is also set in the future and if you ask me, there is no better and feel to set the tone to any futuristic movie than the use of electronic instruments. M83 does just that with a high tempo, fast paced action feel to this score. If you haven’t seen the movie, this composition is good enough to tell much of the story on its own. With that being said, that’s my top list of film scores from the year 2013 but don’t take my word for it.