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Getting behind the Oscar music

A recap of this year's nominees

Daily Variety reviews this year’s nominees in the music fields.

ORIGINAL SCORE

“American Beauty”

Thomas Newman’s offbeat, percussion-driven score brought a surprising serenity to the darkly comic DreamWorks film. Newman, perhaps the year’s most prolific composer with “The Green Mile” and “Three Kings” also under his belt, has been nominated in the past for “Unstrung Heroes” (1995), “Little Women” (1994) and “The Shawshank Redemption” (1994).

“Angela’s Ashes”

Oscar’s most nominated living person, John Williams nabbed his 38th nomination for his exquisitely melancholy, piano-dominated score, with subtle hints of Irish influence.

“The Cider House Rules”

The gentle theme and richly atmospheric score by Rachel Portman, an Oscar winner for “Emma” (1996) adds emotional resonance to Lasse Hallstrom’s film from the John Irving novel.

“The Red Violin”

Renowned concert hall composer John Corigliano worked for more than a year, writing both the onscreen violin pieces and the dramatic underscore, on this ambitious music for string orchestra. Joshua Bell played the solos.

“The Talented Mr. Ripley”

Gabriel Yared’s lush orchestral soundscape, punctuated by jazz colors of alto sax and vibes, complemented 1950s jazz tracks in Anthony Minghella’s thriller. Yared won the original score Oscar for Minghella’s “The English Patient” (1997).

ORIGINAL SONG

“Blame Canada” from “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut”

The rude and raucous — but much loved — “South Park” musical got its sole nomination with this hilarious Trey Parker-Marc Shaiman ditty about shirking parental responsibility.

“Music of My Heart” from “Music of the Heart”

It’s no coincidence that Wes Craven changed the title of his movie from “50 Violins” after Diane Warren turned in this winning anthem. Gloria Estefan and ‘NSync took this Diane Warren song to the No. 2 spot on the pop charts.

“Save Me” from “Magnolia”

Paul Thomas Anderson has made no secret of the fact that he wrote his script around singer-songwriter Aimee Mann’s tunes. “Save Me” is an original, a plea for rescue that mirrors the emotional situations of the film.

“When She Loved Me” from “Toy Story 2”

Randy Newman’s paean to lost love, sung by “Lilith Fair” champion Sarah McLachlan, underscores the most moving sequence of the film, as Jessie reminisces about her owner. Could Newman’s 13th nomination finally be the charm?

“You’ll Be in My Heart” from “Tarzan”

Phil Collins’ lullaby for Disney’s animated smash became a huge adult contemporary hit and, given Disney’s Oscar track record with musicals, is a strong bet for top honors.

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