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March 21, 2002 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-03-21

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16B - The Michigan Daily - Weetkeid Ma i- - Thursday, March 21, 2002
Enya leads the pack for 'Rings' Best Score

By Jim Schiff
Daily Fine/Performing Arts Editor
Suffice it to say that predicting the
Best Original Score at the Academy
Awards is like splitting hairs: There's
very little Oscar politicking and the
winner is crowned with relatively little
hype or expectation. And because of
this, you can expect that Academy vot-

ers are likely to reward a score on its
merits rather than its Oscar buzz fac-
The Academy is known for making
some odd choices as well as changing
the category itself several times.
We've moved away from the dual
score groupings (Original Dramatic
Score and Original Musical or Come-
dy Score) and long gone are the days
of a separate category for Original
Song or Song Adaptation score. We're
back to one collective lumping of film
music, which pits those cute little Dis-


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ney scores against our favorite war
After a weak lineup of film scores
last year, the 2001 nominees are a
strong, diverse bunch. There are some
heavyweight composers, like perennial
nominee John Williams with two nods
("Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's
Stone" and "A.I.: Artificial Intelli-
gence"), James Horner with "A Beau-
tiful Mind" and Randy Newman with
"Monsters, Inc." Then we have the rel-
ative newcomer Howard Shore with
his spectacular "Lord of the Rings:
The Fellowship of the Rings" score,
arguably the most powerful soundtrack
of the year.
You certainly can't trust the Gold-
en Globes this year: Craig Arm-
strong's score to "Moulin Rouge"
failed to garner an Oscar nomina-
tion yet took home the Globe. Add
this to the fact that winning in the
top Oscar categories has little or no
effect on the Best Score winner (i.e.
"The Red Violin" from 1999), and
you have yourselves a mighty
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1432 Washtenaw

cloudy race.
But looking at each score individ-
ually, it becomes possible to narrow
down the list of likely winners.
Although Randy Newman has
received 16 Oscar nominations over
his incredible career, he has yet to
take home a statue, making him this
year's sentimental favorite. But
Newman needn't bother preparing
an acceptance speech - his score to
"Monsters, Inc." is a light, jazzy
companion to the film, but probably
not sophisticated enough to sway
Academy voters.
With a whopping 41 nominations
and 5 wins under his belt, John
Williams is the undisputed god of
modern film music. He hasn't won
since 1993's "Schindler's List," but
even so, a double nomination is
probably going to split his vote.
"Harry Potter" is the weaker of the
two scores, recycling a lot of
Williams' best material from the
early '80s.
The race will likely be between
"A Beautiful Mind" and "The Lord
of the Rings," and rightly so. These
scores are easily the two best of the
year. Horner won for "Titanic" four
years ago, but "A Beautiful Mind"
surpasses it with breathtaking string
melodies and Charlotte Church's
haunting vocals. Likewise, "Lord"
put Shore on the map with a raw
musical energy that is rivaled by
few composers.
It might come down to whose
pipes the Academy prefers-
Church's or Enya's-but for ambi-
Continued from Page 4B
but unfortunately, the film hasn't gained
enough attention. But with this aside,
Washington has proved that he is just as
good at playing the pathetic "loser" as he
is playing the hero. In this sense, it was
actually quite humble of Washington to
take on such a part. It sure paid off
though, because he is just plain fun to
watch. His character immediately draws
you in, whether he's talking about the
number of guys he's locked up or what



non, for innovation ana or noiang
nothing back, "The Lord of the
Rings" is the odds-on favorite this
year. Shore's orchestrations are
remarkably complex, handling the
romantic sections with great musi-
cal sensitivity and unleashing his
army of horns, trombones and trum-
pets on the action sequences. Sim-
ply put, it's a score that's too hard to
ignore - and a score that should
rule them all come this Sunday.


' -

- Dan Fanton,+

Class of 2002

kind of gun he prefers.
As many have discarded "Ali" as a dis-
appointing attempt at depicting the life of
Muhammed Ali, some have mistakingly
discarded Will Smith as an actor without
merit. This is a mistake. Smith showed
extreme bravery and courage in addition
to intense training by taking on such a
difficult role, but more importantly, he
did a great job. And although "Ali" itself
was indeed disappointing and anti-cli-
mactic, Smith held fast to the integrity
and determination inherent in his charac-
ter, and he definitely gauged the audi-
ence's interest in the politics of the time.
Despite his proven talent in this film;
however, Smith is sadly in the shadows.
This is because so much of the disap-
pointment from the film naturally and
inevitably carried over to Smith, whether
he, or the audience, liked it or not.
Sean Penn, who plays a mentally
handicapped father in "I am Sam,"
gives a great performance, but the
audience's emotional discomfort with
the complexities of his character makes
it difficult to assess his acting ability.
The reality of his appearance is defi-
nitely there - his gestures, expres-
sions and mannerisms are superb. He
deserves a lot of credit for his physical
The depth of his character, however,
is far more difficult to judge. It's just
not as convincing. It's hard to put one's
finger on it exactly, but Penn doesn't
shine as much as he could. There are
some inconsistencies in his character's
motives. This may be inevitable, how-
ever, simply because he is sucked into
such a mediocre quality film.

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