Best Original Score – 1980

Official Nominations: Fame. Altered States. Tess. The Elephant Man. The Empire Strikes Back.

Fame won the official award this year, but for me you think of the songs (or at least the title song) rather than the score. Deserves the nomination – not the win. Altered States getting nominated is pretty funny because… have you seen Altered States? It’s weird to me that such a weird and not remotely Hollywood film got nominated, but it’s wonderful that it did because it is a great score – horror movie strings and all manner of jump-scare sounds and offbeat rhythms. The Elephant Man is all carnival-esque rhythms and beats which recur over and over throughout the film reminding us of how most people feel towards Merrick even as his story progresses – the main theme for some reason always felt like a missing piece from The Godfather. 

The Empire Strikes Back builds upon everything that made A New Hope so good and adds a number of pieces which have become just as memorable and powerful – The Imperial March in particular becoming synonymous with ‘evil’. The pieces we know from the original often take on darker hues as you would expect given the nature of the film. Finally, Tess… not one of my most favourite Polanski movies, but another with a good score. If it has strings, if it’s emotive, then it’s for me.

My Winner: The Empire Strikes Back

The Empire Strikes Back (soundtrack) - Wikipedia

My Nominations: The Elephant Man. The Empire Strikes Back. The Blues Brothers. Cannibal Holocaust. Dressed To Kill. Flash Gordon. The Fog. Friday The 13th. Raging Bull. The Shining.

Only two make it to my list due to some other excellent scores this year. The Blues Brothers updates a number of Blues and rock standards while retaining their core power. It’s one of the only musicals I enjoy and definitely one of the few musical scores I can stand listening to. If Altered States is getting nominated, then there’s no way I’m not nominating Cannibal Holocaust. It’s a horrible, disgusting movie (I love it) but the soundtrack is downright beautiful – the choice of this wavering synth to play the main melody is perfect – beauty skewered. It’s weird because once you’ve seen the movie you can’t help but recall images from it when you hear the music, again making something so sweet leave the bitterest taste in your mouth. It’s a crime this wasn’t nominated with its outlandish disco beats and synthetic beeps and throbs merging with the more traditional strings wonderfully.

Keeping things Italian, Pino Donaggio follows in Riz Ortolani’s footsteps by creating another horror soundtrack which has a beauty all of its own, one which doesn’t (at least on the surface) seem to fit the film it was written for. Look deeper, like with Cannibal Holocaust, and it’s perfect. While Flash Gordon is mainly known for Flash’s Theme, the rest of the score by Queen helps to make a pretty bad film watchable beyond its camp value. Raging Bull’s score is a bit of a cheat nomination given that it’s a mixture of existing popular music from La Motta’s time, and other traditional classical pieces – but it’s the way they are mixed as a whole and how the score works alongside the dialogue and direction which earns its nomination.

Our final entries are all from horror films – if horror as a genre is (stupidly) usually passed over by the Academy for most categories, it should at the very least be a stalwart in this category. Out of my three picks, only The Shining stood any chance of officially being nominated – though its mixture of original and non-original pieces probably exlcudes it. No matter, it still works as an effectively creepy score, evoking birds eye views of cars travelling down winding rounds, empty ballrooms, long corridors, and little dead girls. Friday The 13th isn’t one of my favourite horror scores, but there’s no getting away from how famous parts of it have become, particularly the ‘ki ki ki, ma ma, ma’ and piercing strings of the main title. Finally, The Fog soundtrack is another winner by Carpenter – there haven’t been too many directors in the history of cinema who have also written the music for their own films, and none to the same level of success as Carpenter has. This one has all the creepy factors of his Halloween score, but it’s a little slower, more tense, more malevolent, but maybe lacking that all important widespread appeal motif. In any other year, this would be my winner…. in fact, Empire got my win from the officials so lets split the difference and give it to Carpenter.

My Winner: The Fog

Let us know what you pick as the Best Score of 1980!

Best Original Score – 1979

Official Nominations: A Little Romance. Star Trek. The Champ. 10. The Amityville Horror. All That Jazz. Breaking Away. The Muppet Movie.

A Little Romance and All That Jazz were the winners this year, the former netting Georges Delarue his Oscar. It’s a suitably twee, gentle, unassuming score for a cutesy coming of age romance. Star Trek finally hit the big screen this year with Jerry Goldsmith providing the epic music – most notably the central theme. Dave Grusin’s theme doesn’t adequately match the emotional content of the movie while 10 by Henry Mancini is perfectly bland.

The Amityville Horror gets the rare horror nomination. Music for the genre wasn’t quite starting to copy itself yet, but you can grab many moments from prior classics here, saved mostly by Schifrin’s pedigree. The strings sound creeping, not creepy – there’s some insect like about the way they jab quickly and I like how the brass mimics the string notes. The love theme is pretty good too. If you know me by now, you’ll know my feelings on anything called All That Jazz. Breaking Away is another film which features mostly adaptations while The Muppet Movie is as fantastic as you would expect, though it’s the songs which stand out rather than the other music.

My Winner: Star Trek

See the source image

My Nominations: 1941. Alien. Apocalypse Now. The Black Stallion. Mad Max. Moonraker. Nosferatu The Vampire. Quadrophenia. Rocky II. Star Trek. Zombie Flesh Eaters. Stalker.

An almost entirely different roster this year, starting with John Williams and Steven Spielberg up to their old tricks. 1941 doesn’t seem like their typical collaboration but still features plenty of great selections with a military feel. It’s that man Goldsmith again – remember he did Star Trek this year too – with the inspired and creepy score for Alien. Not only are their chilling parts which must work even without having seen the movie, but it inspires a sense of wonder and adventure too. Apocalypse Now merges original pieces with period hits and classic music to create a truly hallucinatory whole – merges genres, overlapping with snippets of gunfire, rotors, and warfare. The Coppola love continues with the underrated score of The Black Stallion – Carmine bringing the grace and class.

Over on the other side of the world the score for Mad Max is every bit as chaotic and unhinged as the film with booming brass blasts and thunderous percussion almost blocking out any trace of melody. Moonraker has a score better than the film it blesses, Barry’s familiar strains working oddly well for the unusual setting. Also working against the odds is Popol Vuh’s soundtrack for Nosferatu The Vampire, a work of electronica, chanting monks, sitars, each finely tuned to unsettle. Quadrophenia is The Who’s best opus – far better than Tommy and I much prefer the film too. This one has the much better songs, and the much better overall score. Bonus points for the movie being on as my wife was giving birth to our second child. Rocky II expands upon the original score in a few ways, though I do feel a little dishonest including it because it reuses so many pieces and motifs from the first film. Those are modified enough to suit the sequel and the original pieces are just as good as anything from part 1 – Bill Conti bringing the goods again.

Star Trek brought the famous series to the big screen, feeding off the success of Star Wars. Jerry Goldsmith indeed took inspiration from the music of Williams as well as expanding upon the original TV series themes to create a majestic score in its own right, as mentioned above. Tarkovsky’s Stalker joins him once more with Eduard Artemyev for another unearthly score, mixing oriental string instruments with strange mechanical synth. Finally, ahem, Zombie Flesh Eaters. Seriously, it has a great soundtrack. It’s really creepy, elevating the film itself and working as a great standalone – all threatening beats and epic synths along with random weird noises.

My Winner: Star Trek

Let us know your winner in the comments!

Best Original Song – 1979

Official Nominations: It Goes Like It Goes. I’ll Never Say Goodbye. It’s Easy To Say. Rainbow Connection. Through The Eyes Of Love.

There’s only one winner here, surely, and it ain’t It Goes Like It Goes which picked up the official win. That song is a little odd, a ballad which starts with this strange minor key intro before dropping into a faux-Joni Mitchell dance. It’s another one of those Oscar songs that goes absolutely nowhere and is mostly forgettable. Melissa Manchester became the first person to be nominated in the same year for two songs from two films – I’ll Never Say Goodbye is belted out but terrible while Through The Eyes Of Love is much better and fits the sentimental nature of Ice Castles (which I’ve always had some fondness for). It’s Easy To Say from 10 is understated but not very interesting. The undisputed winner is of course Rainbow Connection – still not a great song, but sweet, endearing, and light years ahead of anything else in the category.

My Winner: Rainbow Connection.

A Frog, a Banjo, and an Indelible Message: Making “The Rainbow Connection”  | Vanity Fair

My Nominations: Rainbow Connection. Moonraker. Aquarius. Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life. Fantasy. Goodbye Friends. Get Out And Stay Out. Four Faces. Joker James. The Rose. In The City.

Fantasy is from Robert Altman’s forgotten A Perfect Couple – there’s a number of decent ballads and soft rock songs on its soundtrack so you can pick any from it. Goodbye Friends is from the same soundtrack, maybe the standout song as it feels like a more traditional musical number and moves through different tones and stages. Three songs are added to the soundtrack of Quadrophenia, and they’re all great. I’m biased though as I love the original album so finding these bonus extras is always a treat. Get Out And Stay Out is good but a little too repetitive to win. Four Faces is great but feels pretty different from the rest of the soundtrack, while Joker James is very old school The Who in the chorus with verses having their late 70s vibe. You can’t not include The Rose here, perhaps the most gaping miss from the Official Nominations, with Bette Middler blasting it out. Not typically my sort of thing but it works damn well. So much so that I also allowed it to be one of my Wedding songs – played while going up the aisle/completing the service etc. In The City from The Warriors was later covered by The Eagles – Joe Walsh’s original still feels like quintessential US 70s Rock.

My Winner: Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life

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

Carly-Simon-Nobody-Does-It-Better-Single-1977-Front-Cover-42102

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

ome.jpg

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

51USxyLM87L._SY355_

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!