Articles

New twists in this year’s Oscar music race

Friday, November 30th, 2018 at 7:32 am

The process of choosing “best song” and “best score” for this year’s Academy Awards will be a little more complicated for voters. Revised Oscar rules mandate that the music branch choose 15 pre-nominees in each category, requiring them to see and evaluate all of the eligible works an entire month earlier than usual. This may… Read More

Kubrick scores with the L.A. Philharmonic

Sunday, November 25th, 2018 at 6:28 pm

It’s always a pleasure to write program notes for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. It’s one of the nation’s leading orchestras, and these extraordinary musicians perform in one of the world’s great music spaces, the Walt Disney Concert Hall. This past weekend the Phil (along with the Los Angeles Master Chorale) performed excerpts from the classical… Read More

The music of “Mary Poppins Returns”

Wednesday, November 21st, 2018 at 1:44 pm

Make no mistake, Mary Poppins Returns — the long-awaited sequel to one of the most beloved Disney films of all time — will be among this year’s biggest Christmas movies. I was lucky enough to see it several weeks ago in anticipation of writing at length about the songs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman,… Read More

Lalo Schifrin gets his Oscar

Monday, November 19th, 2018 at 10:23 am

Composer Lalo Schifrin on Sunday night received an honorary Academy Award “in recognition of his unique musical style, compositional integrity and influential contributions to the art of film scoring.” Actor-director Clint Eastwood, for whom Schifrin composed eight scores (including Dirty Harry and Joe Kidd), presented Schifrin with his Oscar during an entertaining and funny 20-minute… Read More

An honorary Oscar for Lalo Schifrin

Wednesday, November 14th, 2018 at 7:09 am

Lalo Schifrin, the Argentine-born composer of Mission: Impossible, Mannix and more than 100 film scores (including Cool Hand Luke, Dirty Harry and The Amityville Horror), will receive an honorary Academy Award on Sunday at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ annual Governors Awards. Schifrin, who has been nominated six times but never won,… Read More

The death of Francis Lai

Thursday, November 8th, 2018 at 5:31 pm

We learned of the death of Francis Lai on Wednesday afternoon. The Oscar-winning French composer of Love Story and, a few years earlier, A Man and a Woman, was 86. I was especially saddened by the news because the composer had only recently, and very kindly, granted an interview for my next book and that… Read More

Oscar music candidates, part 1

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018 at 6:46 pm

This week, Variety published its first “Contenders” section designed to inform award voters (and watchers) about worthy work in 2018 releases. It may be a record for the earliest one yet (it’s still only October!); there’ll be another at the end of November. We started with three really interesting stories: Michel Legrand scoring Orson Welles’… Read More

A celebration of Henry Mancini music

Sunday, October 14th, 2018 at 8:12 am

I get to do a lot of fun things in my job, but the best part is always getting to listen to the music I love, performed live by top musicians in beautiful settings. On Oct. 13, the New West Symphony performed an evening of music by the great Henry Mancini, with guest vocalists Monica… Read More

“A Star Is Born”: What about the previous versions?

Friday, October 5th, 2018 at 11:12 am

A neighbor of mine, an avid filmgoer, was surprised to learn that the current Bradley Cooper-Lady Gaga movie A Star Is Born is a remake of an earlier film (in fact, this is the third official take on the story). Variety asked me to look at the music of the prior films: the 1937 original… Read More

Music in “The Hate U Give”

Thursday, October 4th, 2018 at 7:43 pm

I hope The Hate U Give is remembered at awards time. It’s a powerful and very timely film, and Variety asked me to write two stories about its music. One was about Oscar-nominated Lion composer Dustin O’Halloran’s piano, synth and strings score, which carefully and effectively augments the songs assembled by music supervisor Season Kent…. Read More