×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Nominated Composers Take Center Stage at Oscar Concert

With this year’s round of Oscar campaigning finally over and the ballots all in, members of the film scoring community got to take a long, congratulatory breather with a celebratory concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall on Wednesday night. Presented by the LA Phil and the Academy, the Oscar Concert offered a stirring evening of music from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, featuring suites from each of this year’s five Oscar nominated original scores, most conducted by the composers themselves.

Lalo Schifrin, A.R. Rahman, Ava DuVernay, Daniela Vega, Common and last year’s Oscar winner Justin Hurwitz were some of the luminaries on hand for the evening, which kicked off with an introduction from Michael Giacchino (who won the best score Oscar for “Up”). Joined by conductor Thomas Wilkins, Giacchino offered a cute demonstration of the film scoring process as Wilkins conducted three different pieces set to a clip from “Up” — onstage, Giacchino acted the part of a meddlesome, indecisive director, giving Wilkins vague new instructions for the music (“less pushy,” “more magical”), to chuckles of recognition from the film scorers in the audience.

The early program consisted of segments from famous past film scores, as Wilkins ran through pieces by the likes of Nino Rota, Mica Levi, Quincy Jones, John Carpenter and Erich Wolfgang Korngold, set to clip reels from past Oscar honorees. The highlight came at the end, when Terence Blanchard emerged from the wings to play the mournful trumpet solo from his “Malcolm X” score.

The second half of the program was dedicated to the year’s score nominees themselves, with Carter Burwell, Alexandre Desplat, John Williams and Hans Zimmer all joining the orchestra for their respective pieces. (Of the nominees, only Jonny Greenwood was MIA.)

“Good evening, I’m Michael Moore,” said “Shape of Water” director Guillermo del Toro as he strode onstage, going on to introduce the typically animated Desplat by explaining the importance of his music in a film where the two lead characters cannot speak. “When the time came to give them a voice, I called on his craft and artistry.”

Appearing via video, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” helmer Martin McDonagh praised Burwell’s counterintuitive musical vision for his film: “I hadn’t dreamed it would be a spaghetti Western score, but it is.” Paul Thomas Anderson lauded his absent “Phantom Thread” maestro Greenwood by recalling: “I said the one thing you should never say to a composer: ‘Would you write some music like Nelson Riddle?’ Knowing how atonal and depressing [Greenwood’s] music can be, I thought it might make an interesting baby.”

To no one’s surprise, the biggest single ovation of the night was reserved for Williams, after the five-time Oscar winner blazed through a brief, muscular portion of his “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” score. Director Rian Johnson introduced him by noting that, while the composer is “a legend,” “John doesn’t work like a legend; he works like a little kid sprinting to the playground because that’s where the toys are.”

To close the evening, Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch brought the thunder with a stentorian selection from “Dunkirk.” With Wilkins conducting and Zimmer and Wallfisch joining the orchestra on synths, the film’s unnervingly hypnotic sounds climbed higher and higher until Wallfisch was practically head-banging at the back of the stage.

More Scene

  • First Look at SAG Awards' Cuban

    First Look at SAG Awards' Cuban-Inspired After-Party (EXCLUSIVE)

    Celebrities at this year’s SAG Awards won’t have to go far for some tropical fun. Sunday’s annual post-show gala, hosted by People magazine for the 23rd year, is set to feature a Cuban-themed party space adjacent to the Shrine Auditorium. Related Oscar Nominations: Biggest Snubs and Surprises Elton John to 'Shallow' Songwriter Mark Ronson: 'You're [...]

  • DF-10956_R – Gwilym Lee (Brian May) and

    'Bohemian Rhapsody' Producer Confirms Bryan Singer's Reason for Leaving, Says 'No One' Was Attached to Play Mercury

    “Bohemian Rhapsody” producer Graham King provided insight into some of the events surrounding the Golden Globe-winning film Saturday at the Producers Guild Awards Nominees Breakfast, including director Bryan Singer’s departure from the film partway through production. “It’s an unfortunate situation, with like 16, 17 days to go and Bryan Singer just had some issues, his [...]

  • Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce

    Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce GLAAD Media Award Nominations

    Mj Rodriguez and Nico Santos are set to announce the nominees for the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards. The “Pose” star and “Crazy Rich Asians” funny man will make the announcement during a live-stream hosted by AT&T and from the AT&T Hello Lounge at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Jan. 25. Related Oscar Nominations: Biggest Snubs [...]

  • Emile Hirsch, Matt SmileyEmile Hirsch hosts

    Emile Hirsch Hosts Smiley Face Art Opening at Mondrian Hotel

    Despite the rain on Wednesday night in West Hollywood, there were plenty of smiles inside the Mondrian hotel thanks to artist Matt Smiley‘s Refresh exhibition. Not only is Smiley his real last name, but several of his paintings and other pieces in the exhibit feature smiley faces. Related Oscar Nominations: Biggest Snubs and Surprises Elton [...]

  • Randall Park, left, and Constance Wu

    Constance Wu Wants Her 'Fresh Off the Boat' Co-Star Randall Park to Host the Oscars

    While the Academy may have decided to go hostless for this year’s Oscars, that doesn’t mean the rest of Hollywood has stopped thinking about who would be a good choice for the emceeing gig. Former host Whoopi Goldberg recently suggested Ken Jeong. Related Oscar Nominations: Biggest Snubs and Surprises Elton John to 'Shallow' Songwriter Mark [...]

  • 'Schitt's Creek' Stars Reveal Dream Guest

    'Schitt's Creek' Cast Reveals Dream Guest Stars: Oprah, Beyonce and ...

    “Schitt’s Creek” has big dreams. Dan Levy, who stars as David on the series, says his wish list of guest stars includes Oprah, Beyonce, Mariah Carey and Gwyneth Paltrow. “All for different reasons, none of whom we’ll get,” he cracked at the Critics’ Choice Awards. Related Oscar Nominations: Biggest Snubs and Surprises Elton John to [...]

  • Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bundchen

    Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen to Be Honored at UCLA Science Gala

    Science can be very glamorous. It certainly will be during Oscar week on Feb. 21 when the UCLA Institute of the Environment & Sustainability (IoES) honors Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen for environmental activism at its annual Hollywood for Science Gala. Related Oscar Nominations: Biggest Snubs and Surprises Elton John to 'Shallow' Songwriter Mark Ronson: [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content