I already referenced the scores for three of the five nominees (The Artist, Hugo, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) but I’m not going to get a chance to see War Horse (which has multiple nominations) and I don’t really want to go see Tintin just to hear the nominated score. So, YouTube saves the day. Here are John William’s two nominations:
Movie: War Horse
What it’s up for: Score (and Best Picture, Cinematography, Art Direction, Sound editing and sound mixing)
(The video is 15 minutes long. Don’t be intimidated by that, if you want to listen. If you listen to the first couple minutes you get a good gist.)
Movie: The Adventures of Tintin
What it’s up for: Score
I’ll be straight with you: I am completely biased when it comes to John Williams. He is my favorite composer in all of history. I can distinguish his work without anyone telling me whose it is.
BUT, putting my bias aside, I truly do believe that these two scores are much more unique than any of the other three. Composition-wise, I think they’re superior. He’s at an advantage with the Tintin score, since it’s a cartoon and cartoons can have a lot more distinctive personality in their scores. The War Horse score is gorgeous. I love everything about it and it makes me want to see the movie even MORE than I already did.
HOWEVER, the kicker in this category is the fact that The Artist‘s score had to do a lot more than the other scores. It’s score had to be a character. It had to help tell the story in a really tangible, foreground way. (You could argue the same thing for War Horse, I’d wager, but it’s entirely different when the score is supporting the dialogue versus the score playing with no dialogue at all.)
Despite my undying love for John Williams, it’s gonna go to The Artist, and I’d have to agree.
(PS if you want to hear all 5 scores, here’s this:)