The music of “Krypton”

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018 at 6:42 pm

I’ve been fascinated by the backstory of Superman’s home world as long as I’ve been reading DC Comics (which I did, a lot, back in the 1960s). So I was understandably curious about the new series Krypton, which debuted last night on the SyFy channel — and about what kind of music might accompany it…. Read More

Michel Legrand scoring Orson Welles’ final film

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018 at 7:22 am

Monday was an especially fun day, as I got to break a story I’ve been working on for weeks — that the Oscar-winning French composer Michel Legrand was scoring his second Orson Welles film, The Other Side of the Wind — some 44 years after their collaboration on F for Fake, the legendary filmmaker’s final… Read More

Music for “A Wrinkle in Time”

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018 at 6:48 pm

One of the year’s most anticipated sci-fi extravaganzas, A Wrinkle in Time, features both a new song by Sade (her first for a film in over 30 years) and a score by Game of Thrones favorite Ramin Djawadi. Variety asked me to examine the music of the film, so I visited the scoring stage to… Read More

Oscar music roundup

Monday, March 5th, 2018 at 6:42 pm

Another awards season is finally in the books, with Sunday night’s Oscar telecast that saw Alexandre Desplat win for his Shape of Water score, and songwriters Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez for their song “Remember Me” from Coco. Variety kept me busy all weekend, writing the winner stories (score story here, including Desplat’s beating the… Read More

Oscar concert review

Thursday, March 1st, 2018 at 5:02 pm

On Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Motion Picture Academy joined forces to present an evening-long celebration of film music, highlighting this year’s five Oscar-nominated film scores. But that was only the second half of the concert (featuring conductors John Williams, Alexandre Desplat, Carter Burwell and Thomas Wilkins). The first half took a… Read More

“Baby Driver’s” musical choreography

Friday, February 23rd, 2018 at 9:38 am

An unexpected Variety assignment turned out to be the most fun in weeks: I was asked to interview the director and sound designer for Baby Driver as part of Variety’s “Oscar Innovators” series, which ran in a special issue on Thursday. Director Edgar Wright corrected me at the very start — this wasn’t a film… Read More

Historical, statistical notes for original-score race

Friday, February 23rd, 2018 at 8:21 am

Can composer Alexandre Desplat win a second Academy Award (for The Shape of Water), just three years after his first? Statistically, the odds are against it. But then Desplat has beaten the odds before, winning for The Grand Budapest Hotel the same year he was nominated for another film (The Imitation Game). Yet don’t count… Read More

Jonny Greenwood on “Phantom Thread”

Friday, February 16th, 2018 at 7:38 pm

Journalism is a funny business, and it’s changed a lot since I started in 1973. I saw Phantom Thread on November 25 and immediately felt that Jonny Greenwood’s score could be a serious Oscar contender. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have gotten an interview with him the very next day. But my story was… Read More

Analysis of the original-score Oscar race

Thursday, February 15th, 2018 at 7:40 pm

Every year Variety asks me to analyze the music races for the Academy Awards — not really handicapping them, as that entails choosing favorites, which I don’t like to do. But examining the five nominees, quoting the composers, hinting at what’s important about each, and subtly suggesting what Academy voters might be thinking. Alexandre Desplat’s… Read More

African musical sounds for “Black Panther”

Tuesday, February 13th, 2018 at 7:08 pm

This was one of my most fun Variety assignments of the year: Interviewing Swedish composer Ludwig Goransson about his music for Marvel’s Black Panther. I’ve known Ludwig since his USC days, which is where he met director Ryan Coogler; this was their third film together (after Fruitvale Station and Creed) and his most ambitious score… Read More