Official Nominations: The Lion In Winter. Planet Of The Apes. The Thomas Crown Affair. The Shoes Of The Fisherman. The Fox. Oliver! Star! Finian’s Rainbow. The Young Girls Of Rochefort. Funny Girl.
The Scoring award was split this year between original and adaptation scores, but I’ll bundle them into one. John Barry picked up an official win for The Lion In Winter, a score with many heavy and mysterious tones thanks to dramatic horns and ominous low blasts, made all the more eerie thanks to the choir. Goldsmith’s soundtrack to The Planet Of The Apes is a fitting mixture of the experimental and strange with creeping piano and woodwind instruments. The main theme lacks a true hook, giving that air of mystery, threat, and confusion that the film relies on. Legrand’s work for The Thomas Crown Affair is filled with jazz and cool, but as such lacks the melodies which tend to grab me and mostly reminds me of musical wafted through shopping malls. Alex North does find some useful melodies in the stirring score for The Shoes Of The Fisherman but nothing outstanding while Schifrin’s work for The Fox has some truly beautiful moments throughout the main arrangements. Johnny Green picked up another win for Oscar – you already know how it sounds, while you can imagine exactly how Lennie Hayton’s Star! sounds. Similarly, Heindorf and Burton’s Finian’s Rainbow is mostly fluff while Legrand does the French equivalent with The Young Girls Of Rochefort. Oh look! Funny Girl is your standard musical fare.
My Winner: The Lion In Winter.
My Nominations: The Lion In Winter. The Planet Of The Apes. The Fox. 2001: A Space Odyssey. Barbarella. Bullitt. Hang Em High. The Odd Couple. Once Upon A Time In The West. Rosemary’s Baby. Where Eagles Dare.
I add a number of obvious choices in this category – films either with classic themes, haunting scores, or a combination of both. Ennio Morricone does it again, and maybe pulls off his finest score for Once Upon A Time In The West while Stanley Kubrick (yes yes I’m cheating) borrows a number of famous classical works and applies them to the vastness of space and time meaning no viewer of 2001 can watch a clip of the movie without thinking of the music and no listener can hear the music without thinking of the movie. Maurice Jarre gets yet another nomination merging sexy cool with mystery while Lalo Schifrin continues his trend for yearly nominations with an equally cool, mysterious, and jazzy score for Bullitt. Neal Hefti earns a nomination for crafting an ever popular theme in The Odd Couple while Krysztof Komeda makes a generation creeped out by lullabies forever thanks to his work on Rosemary’s Baby. Ron Goodwin gets a nomination for his suitably militaristic and heroic music on Where Eagles Dare, rousing and ominous at once and lastly, Dominic Frontiere gets a vote for his great pieces in Hang Em High – they may borrow heavily from Morricone, but in the best possible way.
My Winner: Once Upon A Time In The West.
Which movie of 1968 do you think has the Best Scoring? Let us know in the comments!
Official Nominations: The Windmills Of Your Mind – The Thomas Crown Affair. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. For Love Of Ivy – For Love Of Ivy. Funny Girl – Funny Girl. Star! – Star!
Unsurprisingly, Musicals make up the bulk of the nominations, but surprisingly a non-musical thriller picks up the win. The Windmills Of Your Mind, by Michel Legrand, Alan Bergman, and Marilyn Bergman merges the French New Wave cool with beach side 60s pop, the swaying melancholy melodies juxtaposed by the lightning fast lyrics and vocals. The win seems to be because the song is unusual and doesn’t have an obvious hook, but is nevertheless an interesting song and winner. Other artists would cover the song at a much slower pace – I’ll leave it up to you to decide which style is best. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is absolute nonsense, twee, grating, but still damn catchy. At barely a minute long it feels like it doesn’t deserve a nomination, but it’s pretty iconic and memorable. For Love Of Ivy feels like an early Motown-lite song, showcasing the increasing talents of Quincy Jones but it’s a largely forgettable ballad. Funny Girl is all about the performance, with Streisand giving it her all, but the song itself, while lyrically interesting, has nothing strong in either melody or innovation. Between Jimmy Van Housen and Sammy Cahn you would expect a big band, swinging song with a hook, but Star! is bland from a musical perspective. The lyrics are fine, but the song itself is just another by the numbers Musical standard with nothing to make it stand out.
My Winner: The Windmills Of Your Mind.
My Nominations: Consider Yourself. Food Glorious Food. The Windmills Of Your Mind. Once Upon A Time In The West Theme. All I Needed Was The Rain. A Little Less Conversation.
While the songs from Oscar! may not necessarily be considered originals as they are the same as those from the Stage version, they had not yet appeared on film so that’s good enough for me. I’ve never been a fan of musicals, but both Consider Yourself and Food Glorious Food are such a part of British childhood that they are inescapable – luckily both songs are good fun (but I despise those feckin accents). I may be cheating a little when I include the Once Upon A Time In The West theme, but its wordless vocals area again good enough for me – it’s a glorious piece of music. A Little Less Conversation became a huge hit over thirty years after the release of Live A Little, Love A Little with an awful remix which plagued TV and radio – the original is much better. Finally, another Elvis song from another Elvis movie – All I Needed Was The Rain from Stay Away, Joe – a blues rock drawl featuring thunder and dog howls.
My Winner: Once Upon A Time In The West Theme.
Official Nominations: Romeo And Juliet. Ice Station Zebra. Star! Oliver! Funny Girl.
There is one obvious outcast here, and that one will obviously be my choice of winner. The other nominees each feel and look too much like stage adaptations to deserve a Best Cinematography win under my criteria so therefore my winner is Ice Station Zebra and Daniel L Fapp.
My Winner: Ice Station Zebra
My Nominations: Ice Station Zebra. Planet Of The Apes. Bullitt. Hell In The Pacific. Once Upon A Time In The West. The Charge Of The Light Brigade.
It’s bizarre that in a year filled with so many stunningly shot films that The Academy fell back upon its old traditional ways and awarded wins and nominations to films which would look essentially identical on stage as they do on film. In that light, my list is almost completely different to the official one, with Planet Of The Apes shooting Earth as a foreign land and offering one of cinema’s most memorable shots and Bullitt showcasing a violent San Francisco in an all American ultra-modern fashion. Hell In The Pacific is a frequently beautiful looking film which doesn’t shy away from showing the wrath of nature and how insignificant man is, while The Charge Of The Light Brigade looks great even if it is largely forgettable. My winner is no surprise, with Tonino Delli Colli again working wonders with Sergio Leone in Once Upon A Time In The West to depict wide barren lands sparsely populated with distant bandits and assassins who seem to hang on the edge of a horizon.
My Winner: Once Upon A Time In The West
Over to you, which movie of 1968 do you think has the Best Cinematography? Let us know in the comments!