The Oscar for Best Original Score is awarded to a musical composer for the best body of musical work in the form of underscoring for a particular film. This is perennially one of my favorite Academy Award categories because in my opinion, music is essentially what makes or breaks a film. A movie is just a bunch of images and words, but with the addition of a musical score, the film develops feeling and emotion in a way that better connects with the viewers. This year’s nominees include two composers with deep roots at the Oscars (Hans Zimmer & Alexandre Desplat, the latter of which earned two nominations this year) and two other nominees earning their first nomination (Gary Yershon & Jóhann Jóhannsson). Between the two previously nominated composers in this year’s group, they have received a combined 15 nominations in the Best Original Score category, winning one of those (Hans Zimmer for The Lion King). The following is my Oscars ballot for this category, Best Original Score:
WINNER: Jóhann Jóhannsson (The Theory of Everything)
Movie fans—ASSEMBLE! Welcome back, everyone. As of today, we are exactly 180 days away from the 87th Academy Awards. As usual, my preparation for the release of a large portion of this year’s Oscar-worthy films begins now! So far throughout this calendar year, there has been a decent amount of good films that have been released and a couple that are downright superb.
And now it’s time to get this Fall Movie Season started. I have again compiled a list of my most anticipated movies of the season. Below is the schedule for my three Fall Preview posts, so make sure to be on the lookout this week:
Today: Honorable Mentions
Wednesday: No. 10 – No. 6
Friday: No. 5 – No. 1
Kicking off this year’s Fall Preview are the five films that just missed out on making the Top 10 list (in alphabetical order). Enjoy!
Birdman follows Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton), a former star actor known for his role as a superhero named Birdman, and his desire to return to his A-list status. Riggan hopes to retain his past glory through a Broadway play that he has created, but in anticipation of opening night, he battles a breakdown. Director Alejandro González Iñárritu is not known for making comedies (he has directed critically-acclaimed dramas, such as 21 Grams and Babel), but with this film, he brings to the table an entire new experience.
The trailer is rather mysterious, not lending itself to many comedic overtones (other than Mike Keaton parading through the streets of NYC in his tightie-whities), but with a cast that includes Keaton, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Emma Stone, and Zach Galifianakis, it is sure to be enjoyable—in a weird kind of way. Birdman is set for a theatrical release on October 17, 2014.
Starring: Michael Keaton (Batman Returns, Jackie Brown), Edward Norton (Fight Club, Moonrise Kingdom), Naomi Watts (The Impossible, Diana), Emma Stone (The Amazing Spider-Man, Magic in the Moonlight), and Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover trilogy, The Campaign)
Horrible Bosses 2
Horrible Bosses 2 reunites fans with three friends who attempted to kill their respective bosses in the previous installment in the series: Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis), and Dale (Charlie Day). This time around, the guys have started their own business, but a smooth-talking investor (Christoph Waltz) threatens to bring them down. In order to get the business back, the three hapless friends forge a plan to kidnap the investor’s son (Chris Pine) for ransom. “That obviously goes sideways pretty quickly,” Bateman told Entertainment Weekly.
Horrible Bosses is by far one of my favorite comedies of all time, and I am definitely looking forward to seeing this comedy trio back in action. The trailer reveals cameos from three of the last film’s funniest characters: David Harken (Kevin Spacey), Dr. Julia Harris (Jennifer Aniston), and Dean Motherf*$%#^ Jones (Jamie Foxx). I am hopeful that this film will become a classic sequel, as it definitely looks way better than Anchorman 2 and the new Dumb and Dumber sequel. Horrible Bosses 2 is set for a theatrical release on November 26, 2014.
Director: Sean Anders (Sex Drive, That’s My Boy)
Starring: Jason Bateman (Identity Thief, Bad Words), Jason Sudeikis (Drinking Buddies, We’re the Millers), Charlie Day (Pacific Rim, The Lego Movie), Chris Pine (Star Trek Into Darkness, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit), and Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained)
Jimi: All Is by My Side
Jimi: All Is by My Side is the true-life story of musical legend Jimi Hendrix (André Benjamin). The film follows the rockstar’s journey to his breakthrough performance at the Monterrey Pop Festival in the late 1960s, as opposed to tracking Hendrix from birth to death, and director John Ridley did this intentionally for creative purposes. “The excitement was in avoiding what was expected,” Ridley told Entertainment Weekly.
Unlike most, I am not particularly privy to Jimi Hendrix’s musical career, but this film piques my interest for multiple reasons. For starters, Ridley is directing, and last year he won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for Best Picture-winner, 12 Years a Slave. It was my favorite film of last year, and I anticipate Ridley’s impeccable writing skills translating well to the director’s chair. I am further intrigued by André Benjamin’s casting in the lead role of Hendrix. In the few movies I have seen him in, “Three Stacks” (Outkast fans, where ya at?) always did a tremendous job on the screen. The trailer reveals a performance that is committed and authentic, and I am excited to see his portrayal of Hendrix on the silver screen. Jimi: All Is by My Side is set for a theatrical release on September 26, 2014.
Director: John Ridley (Red Tails, 12 Years a Slave)
Starring: André Benjamin (Four Brothers, Idlewild), Hayley Atwell (The Duchess, Captain America: The First Avenger), and Imogen Poots (That Awkward Moment, Need for Speed).
Kill the Messenger
Kill the Messenger tells the true-life tale of award-winning journalist Barry Webb (Jeremy Renner) and the dangerous story he happens upon. The film chronicles America’s crack epidemic and the government’s implicit knowledge of the drug trade. As Webb’s investigation soldiers on, a range of CIA officials and high-ranking drug lords warn him to stop; however, Webb keeps digging for answers, and this journey becomes grueling as his life is incessantly put into grave danger.
Aside from Renner and cameos from Hollywood heavy hitters Ray Liotta, Andy Garcia, and Michael Sheen, this film’s cast is made up of predominantly second-string character actors. In spite of this revelation, it has a mass amount of potential because of two-time Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner at the helm. Ever since his performance in The Hurt Locker in 2008, Renner has developed into one of the best talents in the business, and it is hard to imagine a world where he does not succeed in this movie. The trailer gives me high hopes for the film, and I am excited to see this conspiracy thriller in action. Kill the Messenger is set for a wide theatrical release on October 24, 2014.
Director: Michael Cuesta (Dexter, Homeland)
Starring: Jeremy Renner (American Hustle, The Immigrant), Barry Pepper (Snitch, The Lone Ranger), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Death Proof, The Spectacular Now), and Rosemarie DeWitt (Rachel Getting Married, The Watch).
According to Entertainment Weekly, Mr. Turner profiles the “last 25 years of the prolific early-19th-century British seascape painter J.M.W. Turner (Timothy Spall).” The biopic conveys his vast impact on the early days of impressionism, and in the trailer, a woman utters, “You’re a man of great vision, Mr. Turner.” That seems to be the enlightening theme behind this untold story. Although this film is probably enormously unknown to the average moviegoer in the United States, it is one that is highly anticipated in Great Britain. Director Mike Leigh is a well-known filmmaker, and this is his sixth collaboration with Spall, fourth with Marion Bailey, and third with Dorothy Atkinson—obviously this continuity and chemistry behind the scenes will help the film along in a refined manner.
I became interested in the film due to the critical acclaim it received at this year’s Cannes Film Festival in France. Early reviews have been wholly positive and complimentary, and most of the praise has been directed at Spall. In fact, Spall won the Best Actor award at Cannes, and it is this specific accolade that gives me faith in the biographical drama. I am also a sucker for great cinematography, and at Cannes, Mr. Turner cinematographer Dick Pope took home the award in that category. All of the pieces are in place for a successful run this winter, and I hope to continue broadening my cinematic horizons by taking in this film. Mr. Turner is set for a theatrical release on December 19, 2014.
Director: Mike Leigh (Secrets & Lies, Vera Drake)
Starring: Timothy Spall (Harry Potter films, The King’s Speech), Dorothy Atkinson (Topsy-Turvy, Chatroom), and Marion Bailey (Meantime, All or Nothing).