The Oscars is just a week away, folks! Well, a week ago, as I was listening to 99.5 Classical MPR they were playing my favorite score from Titanic and I knew I had to make a post of it. For this post I’m focusing more on the instrumental themes instead of the songs, hence my exclusion of Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, etc. Y’know, I’m still surprised that some of my all time fave scores did NOT win an Oscar, i.e. Gone with the Wind, Superman, Indiana Jones, Gladiator, The Hours, and The Passion of the Christ, just to name a few. Heck, the one I considered one of the greatest scores ever, Somewhere in Time, wasn’t even nominated! But its composer John Barry had been nominated six times. John Williams, the reigning champion of the most-nominated composer ever with 44 (he beat Alfred Newman who had 43 noms) have made some truly iconic scores, but my faves did not win, so I only included the one I love the most.
Thanks to Wikipedia for making it easy for me to see the winners all the way from the 1930s. Now, I’ve seen most of the films the scores appear in, with a couple of exceptions (Out of Africa and Dances with Wolves). So in any case, here are my Top 10 Fave Oscar-Winning Scores, in order of release:
BEN-HUR – Miklós Rózsa
Ever since I saw this as a young girl with my late mother, few films have touched me as much as Ben-Hur did and Rozsa’s score is one of the reasons it’s such an enduring epic.
Lawrence of Arabia – Maurice Jarre
I actually just saw this film two years ago but I’ve heard the soundtrack years before and it’s remained one of my favorites!
Out of Africa – John Barry
Ahhh John Barry… nobody could create a more lush and devastatingly gorgeous music that pierces your soul. I haven’t seen the film yet but I’m actually afraid the music would actually eclipse the film itself.
The Little Mermaid – Alan Menken
I grew up listening to all Disney Princess songs and I somehow identified with Ariel’s loneliness and her yearning to belong in someone else’s world. Mr. Menken is an absolute musical genius in that he somehow could capture the sentiment of her character.
I also have a special fondness for the Caribbean-influenced style of Under the Sea. I LOVE the little crab Sebastian so much I actually bought the tiny stuffed animal, and I’m still using The Little Mermaid‘s beach towel to this day 😀
Schindler’s List – John Williams
Perhaps one of the most hauntingly-beautiful music ever conceived. I never NOT tear up whenever I listen to this. Itzhak Perlman‘s violin solo adds so much to the piece, making it ever so unforgettable.
Beauty & The Beast – Alan Menken
I was just listening to this the other day and out of all the music in the wonderful album, this has to be my favorite. Yes, it even beats the more popular Tale as old as time. The scene itself of the Beast’s transformation is beautifully-done and it always packs such an emotional punch.
Dances with Wolves – John Barry
Another one by John Barry, can’t you tell I absolute LOVE this man’s work? I really should see this film already, as I’ve listened to the soundtrack more often than I can count.
Titanic – James Horner
THIS is the piece that was played in Classical MPR on my way home from work last week. I’m glad they chose to play Take Her to Sea Mr Murdock instead of the massively popular My Heart Will Go On. I always remember the first time I beheld the majestic ocean liner on the big screen and there’s a lump in my throat when that music came on. There’s such an energy to it, a joyful optimism of that day that’s so infectious, which makes the doom fate of Titanic later on in the film even more heart-wrenching.
The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King – Howard Shore
I really think the soundtrack of the entire trilogy is simply exceptional. It’s just as epic as Peter Jackson’s creation and it really transport you into the realm of Middle Earth!
The Artist – Ludovic Bource
The strength of a lot of silent films is the soundtrack and The Artist is no exception. I love most of the tracks but this waltz is my absolute favorite. I LOVE Bérénice Bejo in the role, this music is as pretty and playful as Peppy herself, there’s such a wistful nostalgic vibe that takes you back to those Chaplin classics.
Hope you enjoyed this week’s music break! Which of these Oscar-winning score(s) is your favorite?