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Randy Newman on Hitting the Romantic Notes of ‘Marriage Story’ (Exclusive Featurette)

Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” opens with a seven-minute montage.

“I wanted a big, warm romantic score for the movie,” Baumbach says, of the music for his film about a couple whose marriage starts to unravel and their struggle through divorce.

“The picture begins with a seven-minute montage. It introduces themes that are such used throughout the picture and introduces each of the principal characters,” composer Randy Newman says. For the sound of Charlie (Adam Driver)’s theme, Newman says he uses a French horn. For Nicole (Scarlett Johansson), “hers was a piano because she was walking.”

The veteran composer explained that the music doesn’t change too much throughout the film: “It keeps playing variations on the love story.”

Baumbach, for his part, calls Newman an “incredible orchestrator.”

Marriage Story” has emerged as a leading awards contender, with predictions slotting it into the best picture, best director, best actor for Driver, best actress for Johansson, best supporting actress for Laura Dern — who plays Nicole’s lawyer — and best original screenplay categories. Baumbach’s first nomination — and most recent — was for best original screenplay for 2006’s “The Squid and the Whale.”

Newman has won two Oscars, both for best original song, for “If I Didn’t Have You” from “Monsters, Inc.” and “We Belong Together,” for “Toy Story 3.” He’s received an additional 18 nominations, dating back to his first in 1982 for the score for “Ragtime” and its original song “One More Hour.”

Watch the exclusive featurette below.

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