Friday, November 21, 2014

Could the composer of the scores for The Imitation Game and Unbroken finally win an Oscar?




I might as well go ahead and make a fan page dedicated to Alexandre Desplat, the French composer behind so many incredible music scores. This year he's the man behind the music of The Imitation Game the film about Alan Turing starring Benedict Cumberbatch, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Monuments Men and Unbroken, the Angelina Jolie film coming out on December 25th.

The man has been nominated six times — six times! (hey cinephiles, can you name them? answers below)— and has yet to win. I'm wondering if he might not get nominated for more than one movie this go round, and finally take the prize home? Oh I know I say it doesn't matter if you win or lose, when you're at this level it's all about the artistry. Truth is a win bumps up an actor's asking rate, I suppose the same holds true for music. In any case, I'm rooting for a nomination, he's such a musical genius, he deserves the recognition.


Here's what he told Variety about crafting the score for The Imitation Game, a project he was given just three weeks to write!
“I wanted music that could be subjective, inside this head of this awkward, brilliant mathematician. At the same time I wanted music that would depict the epic scope of the war; a tender, fragile love story; and the thriller element, the spy story. I wanted music that felt classic, yet at the same time had elements that were unique and contemporary.”
According to Variety,
"Desplat suggested mirroring the complexities of Turing’s thought processes with three pianos. These pianos, Desplat says, “were programmed, or should I say computerized, with random algorithms, as an homage to Turing’s invention. These fast scales and arpeggios have a dual task, playing both the fast activity of Turing’s brain, and the chase — the ticking clock to crack the Enigma code.” 
Let's listen: THE IMITATION GAME  Score by Alexandre Desalt 5:30
The CD will be available November 24th, the MP3 version is available now.

Gorgeous, isn't it? Thrilling and romantic, just as he wanted. Swoon.


For Unbroken, Desplat not only had more time, but also got to meet the real Louis Zamperini, the World War II hero at the heart of the film. Zamperini died this past August but his home was just a couple of blocks from Desplat's new L.A. studio so Desplat, who used to run past Zamperini's home all the time, asked if they could meet.
“A few stars were aligned,” Desplat recalls. “I asked if I could meet Louis, chat with him, learn about his musical world, his sound world.”

“The orchestra is much larger (than ‘Imitation Game’), but I always kept the orchestra to a gentle dynamic. Never fortissimo,” says Desplat. “He’s a hero, but a human hero, not a superhero. So when the orchestra swells, it’s very powerful but without overwhelming either the character or the film.”
The score to Unbroken won't be available until December 15th and for now I can't find anything other than what's in the trailer which as you know doesn't mean it's going to be in the film, but its all we have so let's take a listen. Oh, all right, I guess you can watch if you like.



That's a noisy trailer, lots of helicopters, guns and punch sound effects to contend with but in the middle of the trailer I think I heard some distinctive Desplat sounds, a repeated bell like tone that he uses to great effect. What do you think, will this be Desplat's year?

Did you know the titles to the six films that have earned Alexandre Desplat an Academy Award nom?
Desplat was nominated for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score for:

Philomena (2014)
Argo (2013)
The King's Speech (2011)
The Fantastic Mr. Fox (2010)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2009)
The Queen (2007)

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