Articles

Pinar Toprak’s music for “Captain Marvel”

Tuesday, March 5th, 2019 at 10:32 am

Wow, two great Variety assignments in a row! First, writing about the year’s first stunning score, John Powell’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. And now, the chance to preview Pinar Toprak’s memorable music for Captain Marvel, which opens Friday. It’s a landmark moment not only because Toprak is the first woman to… Read More

John Powell’s “How to Train Your Dragon” music

Tuesday, February 26th, 2019 at 10:43 am

John Powell’s music for How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is the first genuinely great score of 2019. I found it a stunning, unexpectedly emotional experience, and so asked for time with both Powell and director Dean DeBlois to explore their process and learn about the creation of the music. This, of course,… Read More

Final Oscar stories for the 2018 awards

Monday, February 25th, 2019 at 8:21 am

The 91st Academy Awards are in the books at last. It was a joy to report on composer Ludwig Goransson’s victory in the original-score category, more than a year after I first called attention to his African-infused music for Black Panther in the pages of Variety. In the days leading up to the awards, we… Read More

The Oscar song brouhaha and its aftermath

Sunday, February 17th, 2019 at 1:30 pm

On January 24th, we at Variety received word that the Oscar producers had decided to perform only two of the five Best Song nominees on the show (Lady Gaga’s “Shallow” and Kendrick Lamar’s “All the Stars,” by the two most popular recording artists). Within an hour, I had three other solid sources confirming this, so… Read More

Oscar song and score category analysis

Thursday, February 14th, 2019 at 2:16 pm

One of my favorite annual Variety assignments involves analyzing the competition in the Best Song and Original Score categories as the Academy Awards campaign winds down and the voting begins. While Oscar pundits debate whether “Shallow” from A Star Is Born will win the song honors or be upset by one of the others, and… Read More

Music in “Green Book”

Tuesday, February 12th, 2019 at 2:27 pm

Although it wasn’t eligible for an original-score nomination — Kris Bowers’ 20 minutes of score was insufficient by comparison with all the other music in the film — Green Book still managed to be one of the year’s toughest assignments for a composer. That’s because Bowers came aboard early, trained actor Mahershala Ali in how… Read More

Composer Michel Legrand, dead at 86

Sunday, January 27th, 2019 at 1:31 pm

French composer Michel Legrand — the genius behind such unforgettable movie songs as “I Will Wait for You,” “The Windmills of Your Mind,” “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life” and others — died Jan. 26 in Paris. I adored his scores as much as his songs, ranging from classics like The Umbrellas… Read More

Program notes for LA Phil’s John Williams concerts

Sunday, January 27th, 2019 at 8:05 am

I was honored to be asked to pen the program notes for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s four-day series of concerts paying tribute to the great John Williams. Gustavo Dudamel conducted a thrilling greatest-hits collection of music that included four of his Oscar winners (Jaws, Star Wars, E.T., Schindler’s List), popular movie hits (Close Encounters, Raiders,… Read More

Oscar nominations for best song and score

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019 at 2:18 pm

Waking up on Oscar morning to find out the nominees is exciting enough — racing to be the first online with a thoughtful, historically informed analysis can make the heart beat even faster. This year was no exception, and our initial breakdown of the nominees was up within an hour of the announcement. It took… Read More

Nick Redman, dead at 63

Friday, January 18th, 2019 at 5:57 pm

This wasn’t supposed to happen. Nick Redman, a close friend for nearly 30 years and a collaborator on dozens of film and record projects, died on January 17. He was only 63, and while he had been battling cancer for the past two years, we all thought he’d be around much longer. He was a… Read More