The rants and raves of a teenage cinephile who is just a little bit obsessed with Catherine O'Hara and Hayao Miyazaki.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Best Score Ranking: 2006

5. Babel - Gustavo Santaolalla

Even though I quite love this movie, that doesn't mean I can't hate on its score, which is really nothing more than glorified background music. And, as incidental muzak it's perfectly fine, in fact it's quite good, but it is nothing that belongs anywhere near an Oscar nomination (let alone a win). The best moment in the score (which I've sampled above) was the final scene, and Santaolalla didn't even write it! It's an old piece called "Bibo no Aozora", by other Oscar-winner Ryuichi Sakamoto. The Academy really should have done their research on this one...*sigh*

4. The Good German - Thomas Newman

Very good work from one of my favorite film scorers, Thomas Newman. It's really good, especially in that opening - however, something feels off about it. It's old-fashioned in the best sense of the word, but for some reason it still doesn't completely fit. Perhaps it was more the movie's fault than its own, because it's still pretty good. (Sorry, I couldn't find a clip of it on Youtube!)

3. The Queen - Alexandre Desplat

Alexandre's first Oscar nomination is one of my favorite of his scores. It can't be easy to write for small, intimate movies like "The Queen" but Desplat does it very well - the score is as refined as the film and its characters, and it has an element of whimsy to it that just works greatly. You almost forget it's there, but that's not at all a bad thing. Sometimes it's good to be subtle! (Take notes Hans Zimmer...)

2. Notes on a Scandal - Philip Glass

I looooove Philip Glass. Without this score, "Notes" would not have been half as intense as it was, and it's truly fabulous work. I suppose at times it can come off as being a bit overbearing, but it's not that big of a problem. Glass's minimal structures and powerful harmonies are perfect for this tense drama.

1. Pan's Labyrinth - Javier Navarette

The fact that this lost is just unbelievable. Navarette's score is so haunting - the lullaby theme is one of the most brilliant written in years. It's simple, brilliantly orchestrated, and beautiful. Listening to this score later after watching the movie, and you'll recall every feeling that it holds. Great, unique and sincere work that gives me goosebumps!

Should Have Been Nominated...

The Golden Globes totally disagreed with the Oscars this year, nominating "The Da Vinci Code" (Hans Zimmer), "Nomad" (Carlo Siliotto), "The Fountain" (Clint Mansell) and "The Painted Veil" (Alexandre Desplat, who won), the latter two often considered the biggest snubs of the year. They also nominated "Babel", continuing the nonsensical obsession with that movie's score. I'd like to personally mention "Little Miss Sunshine" (DeVotchKa, though it wasn't completely original so it wasn't eligible) and "Volver" (Alberto Iglesias) as being a couple of my personal favorites from that year.

So there you have it, what were your favorites from 2006? Do you agree with my disdain for Babel's nomination? Have I missed any snubs? Sound off with anything below!

Updated Ranking Here.


  1. I think The Queen should have won, though Pan and Notes On A Scandal were great.

  2. Good choice! The Queen does have a really great score and would have been a deserving winner, especially since Desplat had such a good year with The Painted Veil as well.

    How is it possible that Desplat can write SO many scores all at once that are all so good and original? Ay!

  3. Yes, agreed! That Queen score is phenomenal. (Though your top two choices were also some deserving options...) May I also suggest Philip Glass' work in The Illusionist, which far surpasses the film itself, or Douglas Pipes' terribly fun score for Monster House??

  4. Yea! I'm glad The Queen is getting some love. It was SO close to being my number 2 choice but I couldn't resist that Philip Glass.

    Speaking of which, thanks for the recs Luke! I haven't seen/heard The Illusionist, but it's Glass so I'm sure it's awesome. And as for Monster Hhouse, it's been AGES since I've seen it so I'm definitely going to have to go back and listen to the music again! :)

  5. I saw "Babel" fairly recently, and I really did love that score. It has stuck with me in the weeks since, as has the film as a whole.

  6. Danny, good of you to stand up for Babel's score. I was quite harsh on it!

    I really liked the film and it has stuck with me as well. I thought the score was very effective, but really not Oscar-worthy, since much of it was just riffs on a guitar. And, the best parts of the score (like the music in that last scene in Japan) wasn't original, though it was still very beautiful. It's definitely not badly scored by any means.


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