Friday, January 31, 2014

2013 Best Score Oscar Musings - Saving Mr. Banks By Thomas Newman

JohnnyTwoToes tells us why this score by Thomas Newman deserves an Oscar

Not surprising, 2013's Oscars for Best Music are full of omissions and nominees that are curious, to say the least. For Best Original Score, Thomas Newman's wonderful score for Saving Mr. Banks is my pick for the best of the year, followed by Steven Price's terrific score for 2013's best film, Gravity. The other nominees are Alexandre Desplat's score for Philomena, William Butler and Owen Pallett for Her and John Williams with his 49th nomination (yes, you read that correctly) for The Book Thief

I read that Thomas Newman has been nominated, including this year for Saving Mr. Banks, twelve times. It is time for Mr. Newman to take home an Oscar. Saving Mr. Banks is a joyous and heartfelt score from Newman and has track after track of toe tappingly gorgeous music. The fact the the Academy could only find it in their "wisdom" to nominate the film for ONE Academy Award (score only) bodes well for Mr. Newman since the Academy likes to spread around the Oscars for an array of films. 

Steven Price is new and has many more great scores ahead of him, but if he should win that would be a good thing, too. The scores for Philomena, Her and The Book Thief are great scores, too but it is time for Newman's time in the sun. 

Saving Mr. Banks is the true story of a two week visit by P.L. Travers to see Uncle Walt Disney, who wanted to purchase the rights for Mary Poppins and make it into a film. The film takes place in 1961 as Ms. Travers book royalties are dwindling, she is coaxed to California to visit Uncle Walt. She is a prickly woman and as my research into her background has shown, she was a very troubled woman who dealt with her demons all of her life until her death in 1996. 

Thomas Newman - SAVING MR. BANKS (2013) Soundtrack Suite from Score Guy on Vimeo.

Newman's score is a scant thirty eight minutes but the album is a double disc collector's item with songs from the film of Mary Poppins included as they appeared in Saving Mr. Banks. Newman's score starts from the very first track with 'Traves Goff' and as soon as it starts your heart will soar. Newman repeats the piano motif later in 'Beverly Hills Hotel' and 'Ginty, My Love' but slight changes keep it fresh, every time. 'Walking Bus' and especially 'Mr. Disney' are tracks Uncle Walt would enjoy himself and have a Midwestern feel to them with strings and woodwinds floating about. 'Uncle Albert' is warm track from the floating to the sublime. 'Jollification' is old school Newman with mandolin and orchestra impeccably timed together. Since Saving Mr. Banks has some flashback scenes that recall P.L. Travers childhood with her father who was a loving father but an extremely heavy drinker, 'Celtic Soul' has the emotional sadness of longing for happier times; a beautiful track. 'A Foul Fowl' is Mr. Newman himself on piano and the orchestra playing back-up and 'Mrs. P. L. Travers' is a swanky track with more piano from Newman and a mix of guitars and horns. You can almost feel the culture shock as Ms. Travers first arrives as glitzy California overwhelms her country upbringing. 'Laying Eggs, 'Worn To Tissue' and 'Whiskey' are all pretty tracks with a full orchestra and Newman's wonderful piano peppered throughout. 

The remainder of the album is an eclectic mix of joy and sadness which nobody can do as well as Thomas Newman. From the bouncy 'Impertinant Man' to the subtle in 'To My Mother', 'Westerly Weather', 'Spit Spot', 'Penguins', 'Pears' , 'Maypole' 'Forgiveness' and 'The Magic Kingdom'. Newman rebounds with the joyous in 'Ginty, My Love' and the final end theme aptly titled, 'Saving Mr. Banks'. 

As I have stated, the other nominees have composed great scores and are deserving of nominations, but Thomas Newman seems to hit a home run with each score he does. His music is filled with good cheer and is composed by a man who, you can tell, loves what he does. His joy of composing permeates his music and HOPEFULLY this will be his year to take home the Oscar. He' s earned it.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't seen this movie yet, and now I am looking forward to see it even more.


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