Best Original Song – 1978

Official Nominations: Last Dance. Hopelessly Devoted To You. The Last Time I Felt Like This. Ready To Take A Chance Again. When You’re Loved.

It’s the late seventies, so that means disco and Donna Summer. She won an Oscar here for Last Dance from a film she appears in – Thank God It’s Friday. It’s like a crappy, Disco version of Slackers or Dazed And Confused. Last Dance is a simmering ballad that seems to be going nowhere until there’s a pause and the disco comes. That’s when the song really gets going, but for me it’s never more than just okay.  Hopelessly Devoted To You is the single entry for Grease – a little odd when there is at least one more obvious choice. It’s a pretty wanky ballad which starts out with that country twang I hate, then has a bit of the 50s ballad thrown in, then has a belting chorus by Newton-John – unsurprisingly it doesn’t work.

Both of the previous songs were big hits outside of the movies – our remaining options seem minor by comparison. The Last Time I Felt Like This is a nice, simple Mathis/Olivor ballad which starts promisingly but quickly becomes boring while Barry Manilow’s Ready To Take A Chance Again doesn’t start well but has a better chorus. Finally, The Magic Of Lassie is a musical about Lassie and Jimmy Stewart, with a lot of not very good songs. The Sherman Brothers know how to pen a hit, but When You’re Loved is yet another meandering, aimless ballad.

My Winner: Last Dance

Last Dance (Donna Summer song) - Wikipedia

My Nominations: You’re The One That I Want. Summer Nights. Greased Lightning. Copacabana. Ease On Down The Road. Caravans. Another Fine Mess. Bright Eyes.

Before we get to Grease, lets look at the other contenders – Caravans, from the movie of same name, is a much more interesting ballad than any of those officially nominated – an epic sounding folk song. Ease On Down The Road from The Wiz is a bit of a forgotten Michael Jackson song – a slice of Mowtown funk from before he truly hit it big as a solo artist. Another Fine Mess from The End is a much better ballad than those above – nice melodies, interesting shifts, good lyrics, and a good Glenn Campbell performance.

The only genuine contender here to Grease is of course Bright Eyes from Watership Down. It’s a haunting piece forever intertwined with visuals from the movie and is arguably the best song here. It’s not quite as iconic as those from Grease though, so that may have a bearing on what you select. Greased Lightning is cheesy rock’n’roll fun. Summer Nights is horny and fun, though I’ve never been keen on the actual vocal performance – it would be much better served without all the backing vocals and musical theatre crap – just do it right. What can you say about You’re The One That I Want? It was always played at school discos when I was young and it occasionally pops up in weddings I’ve been to – it’s fast, fun, changes tone nicely, its infectious, and is one of the most famous songs from the movies.

My Winner: You’re The One That I Want

Best Original Score – 1978

Official Nominations: Midnight Express. The Boys From Brazil. Days Of Heaven. Heaven Can Wait. Superman. The Buddy Holly Story. The Wiz. Pretty Baby.

After last year’s bonanza, John Williams only received a single meagre nomination this time around. Superman is another classic with several rousing themes which go hand in hand with any discussion or review of the movie. Midnight Express was one of the official winners this year, Giorgio Morodor introducing movie audiences to the joys of synths. It’s a weird one – ranging from fast tracks which sound more like a cheesy action movie and love themes which now feel dated. It still feels like a worthy win, though I never feel any of the music evokes any of the horror, despair, or feeling of the movie. The Boys From Brazil probably sounded incredibly old fashioned alongside Morodor’s new-fangled beast, with its waltzes and strings – some good pieces but lacks that core theme.

Another yearly stalwart in this category is of course Ennio Morricone – his work on Malick’s Days of Heaven is ridiculously his first official nomination. Heaven Can Wait seems to have received nominations all over the place – we know The Academy loves Warren Beatty – but they apparently went overboard this year. It does have a memorable lead theme, but I find it veers too close to cheesy daytime soap. The Buddy Holly Story was the other official winner this year – as you would expect it features plenty of early rock’n’roll hits. The Wiz is your everyday African American Adaptation of The Wizard Of Oz featuring Michael Jackson and friends. It’s not really like anything else you’ll ever see. Quincy Jones brings the noise and while he, Ross, and Jackson had all and would later make better music, it’s still interesting and has some good moments. Finally, Pretty Baby is the one film here most people won’t remember, odd given that it’s Louis Malle directing Brooke Shields as a young girl working in a whorehouse. The soundtrack is essentially all Ragtime stuff which I’m not a huge fan of.

My Winner: Superman

SUPERMAN – John Williams | MOVIE MUSIC UK

My Nominations: Superman. Days Of Heaven. Midnight Express. Jaws 2. Grease. Halloween. American Hot Wax. Big Wednesday. Dawn Of The Dead. Damien: Omen 2. I Wanna To Hold Your Hand. Animal House.

Seriously people – if Pretty Baby and The Buddy Holly Story are getting nominations here, there’s no way Grease should not be nominated. I’m not a huge fan of the film, but its songs and its music are part of our culture much more than most of the films nominated. It was the highest grossing film of the year, one of the biggest selling soundtracks ever, and with some of the most famous movie songs ever – there’s no way it doesn’t get a nomination. Although it’s long forgotten, if we’re including soundtracks on the strength of their songs then we have to include American Hot Wax – it ain’t American Graffiti, but it ain’t far off. While we’re on the subject, we have to also include I Wanna To Hold Your Hand for all those Beatles songs.  And Animal House too. Jeepers.

Here’s an interesting one – I picked Jaws as my winner when it was released but I think Jaws 2 is the better score. It has everything the first one had, but some inspired additional pieces too. I’m not sure I can pick it as winner though given that so much was created for the original. Sticking with horror sequels, and Goldsmith’s work on The Omen 2, while not as effective or creepy as the first one still does enough to be worthy of another nomination. Halloween kick started a hundred horror clichés, music and musical cues among them – Carpenter’s score is one of the best horror scores ever with chilling themes which evoke not only the era but the timeless nature of the season. Speaking of timeless horror soundtracks and we have Dawn Of The Dead – much lesser known outside of horror circles than Carpenter’s work, but Goblin’s score is beloved by everyone inside the genre.

Basil Poledouris is one of the most underrated composers in history and sadly passed away without a single Academy nomination. We change that now, with his work in Big Wednesday much softer and nostalgic than his later work yet no less notable. As you may know, Jerry Goldsmith was on a roll this year – along with The Omen 2 and The Boys From Brazil,  he did Coma, Capricorn One, Swarm, and Magic, the last of which is creepy and dramatic enough to earn a nomination from me.

My Winner: Halloween

Let us know your winner in the comments!

Best Original Score – 1977

Official Nominations: Star Wars. The Spy Who Loved Me. Julia. Mohammed Messenger Of God. Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. A Little Night Music. Pete’s Dragon. The Slipper And The Rose.

Well well well, John Welliams (Williams) was on a bit of a roll this year, with two nominations and one win – both scores of course being indisputable classics which are still listened to by thousands of people today. Lets not kid ourselves – Star Wars is winning this every day of the week. From the main theme, to Leia’s theme, to the Cantina theme, it’s littered with classics and is obviously one of the best and most famous movie scores ever. Close Encounters Of The Third Kind is mostly known for the famous ‘do di do duh doo’ communication melody, but elsewhere the score has many other great pieces ranging from tense buildups and wailing melodies of foreboding.

The Spy Who Loved Me remains one of the most critically acclaimed Bond entries, netting three Oscar nominations. Marvin Hamlisch took over from John Barry and ironically got the first nomination of the series (Skyfall would pick up the second decades on) – his score patriotic, quintessentially Bond yet self mocking. Julia is one of George Delerue’s most suitably poignant efforts while Mohammed Messenger Of God (or The Message) isn’t a film you can see being made or becoming so successful today – Maurice Jarre’s blends East and West quietly. On to the other category and A Little Night Music picked up the official win – you already know how I feel about musicals. Pete’s Dragon is there too, never a favourite film of mine but the music is okay, and finally The Slipper And The Rose is a bizarre British live action musical of Cinderella with some decent songs and tunes.

My Winner: Star Wars

My Nominations: Star Wars. The Spy Who Loved Me. Julia. Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. Black Sunday. A Bridge Too Far. The Deep. Eraserhead. Hausu. Martin. Saturday Night Fever.

Does anything else stand a chance against Star Wars this year? Well, John Williams didn’t only make two scores this year – he ain’t no slacker – he also made Black Sunday – another string heavy piece which actually has a lot in common with his two official nominations though not as bombastic. A Bridge Too Far is yet another classic war epic with a massive cast  – you know I love those, and while John Addison’s score is not as memorable as others it does still have a great lead theme. The Deep isn’t a great film, but for some reason certain scenes have always stayed with me, usually those involving eels (Louis Gossett Jr never seems to have much luck with aquatic wildlife). The music is good though, reminiscent of Jaws of course, but going its own way too. I’d love it if Eraserhead had received a nomination here (or anywhere) so I’m adding it, for it’s washing, industrial, hissing noise.

The soundtrack to Hausu is great because it was completed before the film had actually been made, yet it manages to be as buck nuts as the film itself, sounding like a children’s TV show and a cheesy rock based musical. The soundtrack of Martin is one of the most beautiful, haunting, and underrated in horror, while we can’t have a discussion about soundtracks without mentioning one of the biggest selling albums ever – Saturday Night Fever – a soundtrack brimming with disco classics. If we’re going to include that, then we must also include Smokey And The Bandit – as much as I’m not a fan of disco, I hate country music more, yet both these soundtracks are great. Susperia remains Argento’s most famous film and probably Goblin’s most acclaimed score – reminding me of Rosemary’s Baby but with hissing and arcane whisperings and chants in place of the lullaby ‘la las’. It’s one of the few soundtracks I can put on and listen to the whole way through, a rip-roaring ride of devilish funk, rock, synth, screams, and more. It would be my winner if not for Star Wars. I think that’s quite enough soundtracks for one year.

My Winner: Star Wars

Let us know in the comments which Score of 1977 you would choose!

Best Original Song – 1977

Official Nominations: You Light Up My Life. Candle On The Water. The Slipper And The Rose Waltz. Nobody Does It Better.

You Light Up My Life won officially, but look, we all know who the real winner here is. Nobody Does It Better is one of the best Bond songs, bringing the franchise into a new era, and it works well as a standalone too. It wins, hands down. The winner has been hugely successful too, being covered by a bunch of people. I actually like it, then I’m a sucker for big ballads as you know, at least when they feel genuine and emotional, not showy and theatrical. Candle On The Water is another ballad, but it is too theatrical, too cleanly sung, and is yet another of those floating songs with no discernible melody. The Waltz song He Danced With Me is pure musical theatre wank – I’m surprised Liza Minnelli doesn’t gyrate out of the shadow and start twerking in the middle of it.

My Winner: Nobody Does It Better

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My Nominations: Nobody Does It Better. You Light Up My Life. Down Deep Inside. In Heaven. Hausa Love Theme. New York New York. Someone’s Waiting For You. Stayin Alive. Night Fever. How Deep Is Your Love. More Than A Woman. If I Can’t Have You. East Bound And Down.

There’s at least one major snub here, with New York New York arguably being one of the most famous songs ever recorded. I actually always assumed it was a much older song given that it’s from a period long gone by 1977, but nope, it was made for the Scorcese musical. I’m not a fan of musicals, of swing, of jazz, or of Minnelli, and yet you can’t discount the song. Someone’s Waiting For You from The Rescuers is a little known Disney ballad – it doesn’t hit the high notes of many of their best songs but it’s still sweet and honest.

I’ve added five Bee Gees songs from Saturday Night Fever – they’re all good but as I’m adding so many I’m not going to go through each. East Bound And Down is fast, feel-good country chase music and the love theme from Hausu is bizarrely cheery and sweet. Deep Down Inside is Donna Summer, so disco, but it has nothing to do with water or eels or Nick Noltes and it is a little monotone, but it does get going later with plenty of sex noises. Speaking of sex noises, In Heaven is not one to listen to when doing the dance of naked squelching. In fact it’s not one to listen to ever, unless you’re a weirdo like me. Actually, it’s nice, if a little offbeat – even if you know zero about Eraserhead you know there’s something not quite right about the song.

My Winner: Nobody Does It Better

Let us know in the comments which songs you would pick!

Best Original Score – 1976

Official Nominations: The Omen. Obsession. The Outlaw Josey Wales. Taxi Driver. Voyage of The Damned. Bound For Glory. A Star Is Born. Bugsy Malone.

The category is still separate this year – The Omen and Bound For Glory picking up the official wins. What’s that? A horror movie actually winning an Oscar? I know, right? It’s well deserved and it’s easily the most recognizable and iconic film score here, a classic of horror soundtracks. Bernard Herrmann received a posthumous nomination for Obsession – you’d think this was just a nod to recognize a body of work, but it’s another great soundtrack. It’s all the more amazing when you remember he was also nominated for Taxi Driver this year – two terrific scores in his last months on the planet – not bad. The Outlaw Josey Wales has an underappreciated score while Voyage Of The Damned is surprisingly NOT about a ship filled with demonic, hypnotic albino children – the soundtrack is fine.

Bound For Glory appears to have been nominated and won more for what is represents than what it is, I’m surprised one of the other two nominations didn’t get the vote. Bugsy Malone is one of my most disliked films of all time…. I’ve just hated it since the moment I first clasped eyes on it, and the music is a large part of that. A Star Is Born is entirely unnecessary.

My Winner: The Omen

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My Nominations: The Omen. Obsession. The Outlaw Josey Wales. Taxi Driver. Rocky. 1900. Assault On Precinct 13. Burnt Offerings. Carrie. The Missouri Breaks. Silver Streak. The Tenant.

How was Rocky not nominated here? It got a nomination for Best Song (and should have won) but was left out here – ridiculous considering it’s probably the only other score from the year that still lives on today. 1900 has some of the great Morricone’s most tender work while Assault On Precinct 13 kick started a terrific run of scores by Carpenter – this one being incredibly influential to later hip hop and synth led acts. In a move that you’ll see increasingly here, we have another horror film getting a nomination for Best Score – Burnt Offerings – with it’s lonesome ‘no-one walks here’ piano lead a world away from the shattering apocalyptica of The Omen. Going in yet another direction for horror soundtracks is Carrie –  I almost wasn’t going to nominate this one as it’s quite twee and cheesy, but upon further reflection I think it’s more like Cannibal Holocaust in that it lulls us falsely. Carrie is essentially a tragedy, and the main theme sounds like it should be from some tear-jerking melodrama instead of scenes of nude showering teens and pig’s blood carnage.

Away from horror and we have John Williams leaving his mark yet again, this time in The Missouri Breaks which has a couple of great pieces featuring guitar and harmonica. Silver Streak sees Mancini in fine form, again working wonders on a zany comedy, while The Tenant is quiet, lurking, threatening. I don’t really know where to go with this one – three undisputed classics and a bunch which aren’t far behind – a great year. You know what? If they can split the category, then so can I, for absolutely no reason at all – The Omen got the win above, therefore…

My Winner: Rocky. Assault On Precinct 13.

Let us know your winner in the comments!

Best Music (Song) – 1976

Official Nominations: Evergreen. A World That Never Was. Ave Satani. Come To Me. Gonna Fly Now.

This year we have three (well, two) of the most highly regarded movie songs ever. Any list of top hundred songs of cinema will include them. Evergreen was the winner this year – it’s one of those aforementioned songs. It’s certainly… nice, but it’s not very good? Streisand’s vocals are too powerful, too overwrought. It’s one of those meandering songs that goes nowhere, and the fact that it’s such a simpering old school musical ballad when this version of A Star Is Born is supposed to be based in the world of Seventies rock never sat well with me. The other big song is of course Gonna Fly Now – it’s my immediate winner, and it should be your’s too. Just listen to that intro – if it doesn’t make you want to go out and punch a pile of tramps, run like the devil is chasing you, and charge up the nearest flight of steps, then I don’t know what to say to you. The only thing is that it feels more like an instrumental than a ‘song’. Either way, there’s no way this loses to Evergreen.

Ave Satani is the third great song here – it’s a fantastic one to play in the car to scare the kids or anyone crossing at the lights if you blast the volume. It’s pure metal and it will give you the shits if you listen alone at night. Oh yes, there’s two other songs here – songs no-one remembers from films no-one remembers. Fine fine, some will of course remember The Pink Panther Strikes Again and Come To Me is actually a decent song, a little bland but I’d certainly pick it over Evergreen. A World That Never Was sounds like the intro song to some cheesy one season sitcom, possibly about a friendly bin who helps a suburban white family get over their middle class problems.

My Winner: Gonna Fly Now

My Nominations: Gonna Fly Now. Ave Satani. Born To Have It All. I Never Dreamed Someone Like You. Livin’ In The Land Of Oz.

I add Born To Have It All from Carrie. If someone can explain to me why this wasn’t picked, but Evergreen was, that’d be great. This is basically the same song, except much more honest and heartbreaking. I Never Dreamed Someone Like You gets nominated too, less sad, but better melodies. Livin’ In The Land Of Oz is satirical, funny, still pertinent now, and funky as hell.

My Winner: Gonna Fly Now

Best Original Score – 1975

Official Nominations: Jaws. Birds Do It, Bees Do It. Bite The Bullet. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. The Wind And The Lion. Barry Lyndon. Tommy. Funny Lady.

It’s another year where the category is needlessly divided into Best Original Score and Best Adaptation Score. Just have Best Score, okay? Jaws and Barry Lyndon won their respective categories and if you’re not already humming the Jaws theme as you read this then you probably need to contact your Doctor post haste. I’m surprised Lyndon won over Funny Lady – usually it’s the musicals which win here. Either way, I’d be picking Tommy in that category. It’s not my favourite Who album or film, but it’s the best out of those three.

Birds Do It, Bees Do It (what? Fuck? Ah right.) is actually a documentary about just that. Yep, if you have a thing for watching frogs, chimps, and everything in between humping, then draw the curtains and stick this on. Gerald Fried is one of the great unsung composers, having worked on a bunch of early Kubrick films and just about every TV show from the 1950s onwards. Surprisingly, this score is not entirely made up of grunting and moistness. Bite The Bullet is a forgotten but interesting film about a cross country horse race and stars Gene Hackman, Jan Michael Vincent, Ben Johnson, James Coburn, and the Alex North soundtrack it typically sentimental without becoming schmaltzy.

When talking about One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest the score is something which rarely comes up. It’s use of a saw to get those ghostly ‘woo’ noises makes the score seem like a Western, and while the music as a whole is poignant and fitting I do think it lacks that big movie score hook to draw people in. Finally, The Wind And The Lion is a wonderful, rousing John Milius film which again few people remember. Jerry Goldsmith’s score is big, bombastic, and has all the things I love in film music – huge string arrangements and memorable cues and melodies. Still though… Jaws. 

My Winner: Jaws

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My Nominations: Jaws. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. The Wind And The Lion. Tommy. Deep Red. Hard Times. The Man Who Would Be King. Monty Python And The Holy Grail. Nashville. Picnic At Hanging Rock. The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The Yakuza.

Deep Red is one of Goblin’s best, and funkiest scores – just listen to that bass and those high pitched, torturous squeals. You can see where Carpenter and many others got their inspiration from with this one. Hard Times has some wistful and tender guitar and string pieces which both counteract and fit with the violence and plot, while The man Who Would Be King has a typically rousing and patriotic theme. The Holy Grail has an unexpectedly authentic and stirring central theme, while the rest of the score has militaristic moments, elevator ad music, and jovially epic pieces. Nashville is the obvious snub here, especially considering how well the film was received – maybe something to do with the score being mainly songs than instrumental pieces. As much as I can’t stand country music, the score and film are of course satirical which makes them a little more enjoyable.

Despite making me think about The Karate Kid, the score for Picnic At Hanging Rock feels more modern than maybe anything else on the list. The mournful organ, the disjointed notes which drop off almost by mistake, there’s something airy and not quite right about the pieces here – the original ones or those based off classic pieces. It’s a stunning piece and would be my winner if not for a certain shark. The other omission which most would call a serious snub is of course for The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Now, I don’t love the film as much as many people do, but I recognize both the influence, lasting power, and quality of the score and its songs. Finally, The Yakuza is a film no-one remembers even though it’s Sydney Pollack and Robert Mitchum. I love Japanese traditional music and instruments, especially when merged with Western sensibility. The Yakuza soundtrack is one of the finest examples of this clash of styles – and it doesn’t make me think of The Karate Kid (which I love by the way).

My Winner: Jaws

Let us know in the comments which score gets your vote!

Best Music (Scoring) – 1975

Official Nominations: Jaws. The Wind And The Lion. Birds Do It Bees Do It. Bite The Bullet. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Barry Lyndon. Funny Lady. Tommy.

There are a very small handful of movie scores, or musical cues that everyone knows; Most of them were written by John Williams. Jaws may be the most recognizable of them all. Doesn’t matter if you’ve seen the movie or not, you just know it. While the two note melody to symbolize the shark’s arrival was basically nicked from Bambi, it works brilliantly here, and Williams cranks up the tension by having it build and become more frenzied as it progresses. It isn’t all scares though, it also features plenty of more subdued moments which Williams would recycle and hone in later Spielberg and Lucas productions.

The Wind And The Lion is in with a shot of winning in any other year, a boisterous, heroic sounding theme with enough Eastern mystery to enchant Western audiences. Birds Do It, Bees Do It, remarkably isn’t a camp 1940s musical. No, it’s a documentary about animals fucking, featuring scenes of animals fucking. Yep. The score is bizarre – on one hand, it’s way too huge to be associated with animals frolicking about and feels completely out of place, on the other hand there are many twee moments which feel like something from a Tom And Jerry cartoon – if an animal falls over, you’ll get a flute going ‘weeeeeooo’ downwards for example. It’s a musical laugh track. Also, it’s a 1974 documentary, so it should’t be here.

Bite The Bullet feels outdated, a score two decades late for a film set seven decades earlier – some good moments, but doesn’t feel right for the Seventies. Nitzche’s score for One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest shouldn’t work, but it somehow does – the weird saw playing and glass circling with spiked percussion sounding like a mind in free fall, childlike, almost anti-music – yet it fits the film wonderfully. Barry Lyndon picked up the win for best Adapted Score – it’s great, merging classical pieces you already know from various eras, while Tommy is as good as you would expect from The Who. It’s not my favourite album from the band, but it has its moments. Funny Lady is wank.

My Winner: Jaws

My Nominations: Jaws. One Flew Over The Cucko’s Nest. Barry Lyndon. Tommy. Monty Python And The Holy Grail. Deep Red. Katie Tippel. Lisztomania. The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

I add a few obvious picks on my list – if you have Tommy and Barry Lyndon, then you have to have Lisztomania, with Yes providing the virtuoso licks. You can’t mention music in 1975 movies without mentioning Goblin – their soundtrack for Deep Red is one of their best, and head and shoulders above most scores which usually get nominated in this category. Similarly, there’s no getting away from the strength and influence of The Rocky Horror Picture ShowKatie Tippel has many good moments, mystery and romance in equal measure, while Monty Python And The Holy Grail probably shouldn’t be nominated given that it was mainly pulled together from existing sources, but there are enough original pieces and it’s edited to the film so skillfully that you wouldn’t know otherwise.

My Winner: Jaws

Let us know your winner in the comments!

Best Music (Scoring) – 1974

Official Nominations: The Godfather Part II. Chinatown. Murder On The Orient Express. Shanks. The Towering Inferno. The Great Gatsby. The Little Prince. Phantom Of Paradise.

The category continues to be divided into two, with the official winners being The Godfather Part II and The Great Gatsby. After the mess surrounding the score and snub for The Godfather, there was only one winner here. In truth the score isn’t all that different from Part I but it’s still strong enough to be the choice. Jerry Goldsmith’s Chinatown is the only other potential, a woozy score with plenty of wistful moments, a score which on its own evokes Marlowe imagery, lonely PIs and boozed up dames, and maybe the odd footchase through a dark alley.

The Murder On The Orient Express soundtrack always reminded me of a score from decades earlier, albeit done with better production values – it’s classy, has sudden dramatic outbursts, and the necessary touches of glamour and romance. Shanks isn’t about a series of prison stabbings – it’s somehow worse. It’s amusing that a movie about a killer doll gets nominated for an Oscar. Well, not quite, but it is about a puppeteer played by Marcel Marceau who, with the help of an evil doctor, can control the dead. How William Castle got Alex North to work on this I don’t know, possibly via the use of an evil doctor and puppeteer, but it’s an Oscar Nomination for a horror movie so I can’t complain. It actually isn’t that bad a film – lent authenticity by Marceau’s performance and North’s wispy stop-start score – you can imagine the notes being pulled up and down by the invisible hands of a puppeteer.

The Towering Inferno is, I always forget, another score by John Williams. Even before he made all the soundtracks you love he was knocking it out of the park. If anything, this one actually reminds me of Star Trek – there’s that sense of ambition and exploration and scope in the music. Not a lot of memorable cues though. The Great Gatsby… not a book or an adaptation or a period of time and place I’ve ever really enjoyed so I’m usually biased against such things. Thankfully the score doesn’t go too far down the sound of the period that I don’t like, but still… The Little Prince is a strange one – an unsuccessful musical with a good cast. In theory it sounds like a musical version of the story could work, and that’s coming from someone who hates musicals, but this one doesn’t work. Most of the songs are annoying and the music is forgettable – it’s not a patch on the 2015 version. Finally, Phantom Of Paradise is the weirdest one of the lot – another musical, or maybe more accurately a Rock Opera with horror elements, directed by Brian De Palma. The rock opera movie would have a more successful release the following year, but this one has its moments, possibly let down by the lack of known performers. It’s a film about a disfigured rock star who seeks revenge against an evil producer who steals all his work and gets rich. A number of the songs are good, the overall score is consistent, though none of it became a hit and the film wasn’t a huge success.

My Winner: Chinatown

My Nominations: Chinatown. The Godfather Part II. The Phantom of Paradise. Black Christmas. Foxy Brown. Earthquake. The Taking Of Pelham 123. Blazing Saddles. Dark Star. The Sugarland Express. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Young Frankenstein.

Three of the official choices make it to my list – you should know by now my choices tend to be somewhat more eclectic.

Black Christmas has a pretty unnerving and chilling soundtrack, filled with moans and creaking and wind howls along with twist on Christmas classics. Foxy Brown on the other hand is just good, solid, sexy fun by the great Willie Hutch. John Williams was just starting to hit his stride in the early-mid 70s, as you’ll see from this list and pretty much every subsequent year. Both Earthquake and The Towering Inferno have decent central themes and much to love and quite a few similarities. Elsewhere, he also collaborated with the little known Senor Spielbergo on The Sugarland Express – a weird one which has too much wailing harmonica and not enough of the good stuff – strings, building brass, hooks, yet is great when it works.

David Shire’s The Taking Of Pelham 123 feels like a disaster score, which I suppose is apt. It’s suitably chaotic, the lead ba-dum-da-dum brass pulsating and pounding. Finally, we’ve got to have The Texas Chainsaw Massacre soundtrack (Wayne Bell and Tobe Hooper) – perhaps more than any other main theme this year does it catch in your memory. Those screeching, ‘whatever they ares’ in the intro remain horrifying now, setting up a truly unique and nightmarish film – you watch and hear the opening, and you know you’re in trouble. Aside from that there is booming distortion, clashing cymbals, and other anti-music just off-putting enough to create an unequaled atmosphere.

Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Dark Star. I was going to pick The Godfather Part 2, but lets not.

My Winner: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Let us know which score gets your vote!

Best Original Score – 1973

Official Nominations: The Way We Were. Cinderella Liberty. The Day Of The Dolphin. Papillon. A Touch Of Class. The Sting. Jesus Christ Superstar. Tom Sawyer.

The Way We Were and The Sting were the respective winners this year, and it’s hard to argue against the choices. Marvin Halmlisch’s score was a huge success, mainly thanks to the title song which we all know – misty water coloured memories and all that. The rest of the soundtrack is fine, easy jazz and romantic string led compositions. John Williams is back again with Cinderella Liberty – a film no-one knows but which is perfectly fine. It’s not one of the great man’s greatest in that it lacks a major theme instead rambling through loose jazz albeit in an energetic style. The Day Of The Dolphin is one even fewer people know (about dolphin assassins) – it does have a lovely main theme and some extravagant horn pieces but much of the soundtrack is your standard mixture of watery harps and creepy strings. Jerry Goldsmith is back with Papillon, a French inspired score of evocative strings and accordions which convey yearning and fear. A Touch Of Class is another case of ‘it has a popular song so we’d better nominate the soundtrack’. It’s average and it doesn’t need to be here.

The Sting is The Sting. It’s one of the only film scores one of my music teachers in school would ever allow discussion of. Hamlisch got his second win of the night (in the same category no less) for it, adapting a bunch of Scott Joplin standards while adding his own bonuses. Not really my style, but it’s so damn catchy and fun you can’t really complain. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Andre Previn adapt Jesus Christ Superstar – a mammoth score fusing many styles – it’s pretty chaotic too but good stuff.

My Winner: Papillon.

My Nominations: Papillon. Jesus Christ Superstar. The Sting. The Exorcist. American Graffiti. Badlands. Don’t Look Now. Enter The Dragon. Live And Let Die. Robin Hood. Serpico. The Wicker Man.

If we’re good with having soundtracks that are purely adaptation or mostly filled with songs, then we have to have American Graffiti here. I mean I don’t really agree with simply selecting songs, especially here when it’s so easy to pick songs from an era to evoke a feeling for that era. Then again, the songs do fit and the songs are good, so I’m caught. I’m not going to pick it as a winner anyway, but it does feel right including it. If there’s one film from 1972 whose soundtrack is instantly recognizable, and impossible to separate from the film, it’s The Exorcist. The moment you hear those opening sinister notes of Tubular Bells, you know what it is and where it’s from, even if you haven’t seen the movie – it’s probably the second most famous horror movie them ever, after Jaws. I sometimes terrorize my kids by playing horror movie themes on car journeys, and even though they are decades away from watching the movie, they know there’s something terrifying about this one. One interesting thing about the soundtrack is much of it doesn’t even appear in the movie, but is still creepy as hell.

Sticking with iconic horror movie scores, another one I blast in my car is The Wicker Man – one which is a world away from the futuristic Eastern influences of The Exorcist. Celtic and other folk music is the star here, many loves songs and pieces which are just ‘off’ enough to be unsettling. Pino Donaggio was a singer and musician when Roeg approached him to score Don’t Look Now, even though he had no experience with movie soundtracks. It is peppered with tender piano pieces, string notes stretched and held to torturous lengths, and unnerving funeral rites organ sections. Moving away from Horror but keeping away from the US we find Enter The Dragon, probably the most famous martial arts soundtrack ever – ground zero for almost everything which has come since.

Over to the US and Badlands would influence a host of later soundtracks, most notably True Romance, while highlighting a mixture of carefree innocence and unknown threat. Serpico is a strange one, with the tracks ranging from cheesy US soap type themes to more classic 70s dramatic pieces. Disney wasn’t firing on all cylinders in the 70s, but Robin Hood stands out for being particularly anarchic and having plenty of whistle-along tunes while Live And Let Die has one of the best Bond songs and a great all round score – the first one not to feature John Barry. It’s a tough call and I would happy with at lest three or four of these to win.

My Winner: The Exorcist