This year’s Golden Globe nominations in the music categories reflect, pretty much, business as usual: song nods going to rock-star performers and original-score noms going to late-year releases where the music takes center stage.
Globe nods are “very meaningful, an industry-recognized standard of accomplishment,” says Lia Vollack, president of worldwide music for Columbia. The label received three music noms: song for “The Heart of Every Girl,” the Elton John-Bernie Taupin tune from “Mona Lisa Smile”; song for Eddie Vedder’s “Man of the Hour” from “Big Fish”; and score, for Danny Elfman’s “Big Fish” music.
Creating a movie song “is an incredibly difficult thing for many people, even great writers, to do — to be able to capture the mood and tone of a story without literally telling every beat of it,” she says.
The songs couldn’t be more different, Vollack points out. For John and Taupin, “they wrote it from the perspective of a ’50s song, celebrating the womanly values of the period, and it plays with some degree of irony over the images,” Vollack says.
“Man of the Hour,” performed by Pearl Jam over the “Big Fish” end titles, does “a lovely, elegiac job of describing the relationship between father and son” that is the subject of the film, she adds, while Elfman’s music was “a very emotional score without being showy.”
Sting, nominated for his song “You Will Be My Ain True Love” from “Cold Mountain,” admits that he chased the assignment because he loved the book. His job was to “write a song for a woman’s voice, a voice that would bring this man back from the hell of war — a musical version of Nicole Kidman’s character.”
Performed by bluegrass vocalist Alison Krauss and produced by T Bone Burnett, the song is heard four times in the movie. “That’s different than Scotch-taping a song on the end of a film,” says Miramax music topper Randy Spendlove. “This is a song that actually furthers the story.” Gabriel Yared’s nominated score, he says, both reflected the period and worked as dramatic underscore.
“In America” director Jim Sheridan says he was “delighted” with the song nomination for “Time Enough for Tears,” written by U2’s Bono with Gavin Friday and Maurice Seezer. “I wanted it to be an emotive song about grief, about the autumnal feeling of the film,” he says. The trio was previously Globe-nominated in 1994 for a song from Sheridan’s “In the Name of the Father.”
New Line execs were pleased that both Howard Shore’s final “The Lord of the Rings” score and his song “Into the West” — co-written with singer Annie Lennox and screenwriter Fran Walsh — were nominated.
“It was a really rich canvas for Howard, and this very emotional song wraps the whole thing up,” explains exec VP Paul Broucek. “It was created from the perspective of Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) singing to Frodo (Elijah Wood) at the Grey Havens (near the end of the film).”
French composer Alexandre Desplat becomes the new kid on the block this year with his score nomination for “Girl With a Pearl Earring.” Speaking from his studio in Paris, he says he thought voters may have responded to his music because “the movie is very intimate, quiet, delicate, (with) long gaps between dialogue. The music gives the audience a perception of the inner thoughts and emotions” of the characters.
Two-time Globe winner Hans Zimmer (“The Lion King,” “Gladiator”), nominated again this year for his massive, Japanese-inflected orchestral score for “The Last Samurai,” says the acknowledgment is “always meaningful for a composer.”
But, surprisingly, he’s not looking to win. Instead, he says: “They haven’t given it to Howard Shore for any of those ‘Lord of the Rings’ movies, and I think he absolutely deserves it. I would like to be there to cheer Howard on.”
Sting, who won two years ago for his song “Until” from “Kate & Leopold,” says the Globes “are vitally important, as well as being a hugely fun event. It’s much less formal than the Academy Awards. You’re sitting down with your mates, and you can have a bite to eat and a glass of wine. I also think it has an effect on the Academy (nominations). It’s an important stage in the game.”