The Oscar nominations for music

Wednesday, January 15th, 2020 at 9:12 am

Variety was first out of the gate with an instant analysis of Monday morning’s Oscar nominations for original song and score. The early readings suggest that Hildur Guonadottir’s Joker score and Elton John’s Rocketman song have the inside track, but I am being cautioned that Oscar voters can be unpredictable in these categories and not… Read More

Oscar voting ends; Globe song musings

Wednesday, January 8th, 2020 at 9:24 am

As the Golden Globe awards were nearing and Academy voters were deciding who to nominate in the music categories, Variety commissioned a final few stories related to songs and scores from calendar year 2019. Chris Willman and I shared a byline as we examined how period films handled music (my portions involved 1917, Ford v… Read More

The Hans Zimmer Bond exclusive

Tuesday, January 7th, 2020 at 9:12 am

This writer — the author of The Music of James Bond — was proud to supply Variety with the world exclusive that composer Hans Zimmer is scoring the new 007 film, No Time to Die. I placed a lot of calls to sources on both sides of the Atlantic to lock down as many details… Read More

Musical challenges of ABC’s live “Little Mermaid”

Tuesday, December 31st, 2019 at 7:22 pm

ABC, which is owned by the Walt Disney company, re-staged The Little Mermaid in a live telecast on November 5. But how, exactly, did they conceive and execute this mostly underwater adventure with songs and music? The editors of DGA Quarterly, the magazine of the Directors Guild of America, asked me to investigate, so I… Read More

John Williams on “Rise of Skywalker”

Tuesday, December 17th, 2019 at 4:12 pm

It is a rare privilege to be able to sit down with composer John Williams and discuss his latest project. I was honored that he agreed to talk about his 42-year history with the Star Wars franchise and especially the long-awaited finale, The Rise of Skywalker, which opens this week. In this piece for Variety… Read More

The Oscar “shortlists” for song and score

Monday, December 16th, 2019 at 7:01 pm

Every year at this time the Academy announces its “shortlists” in music (and other specialty areas including visual effects, makeup, documentaries, short subjects, etc.). This year, 170 scores and 75 songs qualified under the rather stringent Oscar rules. My initial story, a Variety exclusive, detailed the six major scores (including Captain Marvel, A Hidden Life… Read More

Discovery to Composers: your music is worthless

Friday, December 13th, 2019 at 6:50 pm

A couple of weeks ago, I was tipped off to a shocking payment plan that the Discovery Networks (a conglomerate of cable channels that includes Discovery, Animal Planet, HGTV, Food Network and others) were demanding that composers accept by year’s end: Composers (already poorly paid for their work on all these shows) would no longer… Read More

In Contention: this year’s movie songs

Friday, December 6th, 2019 at 8:12 pm

Original songs for movies is a world unto itself, as we continue to discover. This year’s awards-worthy movie songs were covered in several Variety stories spread over the past two months: discovering that Taylor Swift and Andrew Lloyd Webber had collaborated on a new song for Cats, Oct. 24; our early guesses as to who… Read More

In Contention: the best of this year’s film scores

Wednesday, December 4th, 2019 at 7:44 pm

Between October and December, my calendar is filled with screenings, composer interviews, live Q&As, and most importantly writing about all of this for Variety. All of this was spread across a series of stories that attempted to cover most of the major candidates for awards consideration at year’s end. The first story, Oct. 29, covered… Read More

Music for “Endgame,” “How to Train Your Dragon”

Tuesday, November 26th, 2019 at 6:42 pm

Two of this year’s biggest, most moving musical scores were for larger-than-life spectacles. Avengers: Endgame became the year’s top-grossing film, and its massive symphonic score by Alan Silvestri (Forrest Gump, Back to the Future) matched the galaxy-spanning scope of the Marvel Universe finale. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World featured some of the… Read More