Golden Globes: Elton John, Trent Reznor among music nominees
It's the symphonic war horses versus the rock 'n' rollers, both with and without tattoos (dragon or otherwise), in the competition for the Golden Globes' music categories.
In the contest for best original motion picture score, five-time Oscar winner John Williams ("War Horse") will square off against another multiple Oscar winner, Howard Shore ("Hugo"). They'll be joined in the category by the tag team of Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and past Oscar winner Atticus Ross ("The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"); Ludovic Bource ("The Artist"); and Polish-born Abel Korzeniowski, who composed the score for "W.E.," the Madonna-directed historical film about the man who wouldn't be king of England, Edward VIII, and the woman he chose over the throne, Wallis Simpson.
"We're incredibly flattered to receive a Golden Globe nomination for our work on 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,' " said Reznor, who personally eschews tattoos in favor of bulging biceps, in a statement. "We spent the last year immersed in this project contributing to [director] David Fincher's vision and in awe of the talented group of people he assembled to make this film. Atticus and I would like to thank the members of the Hollywood Foreign Press for this gracious acknowledgement of our work."
Shore said "Hugo's" setting -- 1930s Paris, with time travel back to the late 19th century -- is one of music's richest eras. His score for Martin Scorsese's effervescent fable of childhood innocence absorbs classical influences stretching from the late Romantic period to early Modernism. Not coincidentally, the film's time frame overlaps with the period when movies were transitioning to the sound era from the silent era -- which, Shore points out, was never really silent because many non-talkies were performed with live musical accompaniment.
"The film is a beautiful dream, and working on it was a labor of love," said Shore, whose other credits include the films in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and Scorsese's "The Departed" and "The Aviator."
Different time periods also collide in Korzeniowski's score for "W.E." whose pop diva director wanted the music to have a contemporary, deliberately anachronistic feel that would help audiences relate to the star-crossed royal Brits -- just as if they were modern celebs like, well, Madonna.
"Madonna specifically asked me not to try to write a period piece," Korzeniowski said. "One of the most jarring moments in this approach is when we have the Sex Pistols and Wallis and Edward dance to this music. I know it doesn't make sense from the historical point of view, but at the same time it's something we can relate to. It's the celebrity craze."
Madonna picked up a best original song nomination herself, with co-writers Julie Frost and Jimmy Harry, for "Masterpiece" from "W.E." The other entrants in that category are Elton John and Bernie Taupin for "Hello Hello" from "Gnomeo & Juliet"; Chris Cornell for "The Keeper" from "Machine Gun Preacher"; composer Brian Byrne and lyricist Glenn Close for "Lay Your Head Down," from "Albert Nobbs"; and Mary J. Blige, Thomas Newman, Harvey Mason Jr. and Damon Thomas for "The Living Proof" from "The Help."
Cornell, the guitarist and searing lead singer for rock bands Soundgarden and Audioslave, said that in writing "The Keeper," "I sort of put myself in the shoes" of Sam Childers, the biker-turned-maverick-evangelist-do-gooder who helped Sudanese children, played in the movie by Gerard Butler. "If he [Childers] were Woody Guthrie, what sort of song would he write for these children?" Cornell asked himself. "For me it's personal because of the content of the song and its message. There are children living in this world that might not make it through the night."
John faced a very different challenge in writing a tune that drives the whimsical action in the animated film. The scene, involving a key encounter in a greenhouse between the diminutive characters voiced by James McAvoy and Emily Blunt, was shifted around a few times in the story sequence, so the John-Taupin song had to shift a bit too in order to properly express what was going on.
"This one was a little tricky to place," John said.
John was joined in singing the signature tune by Lady Gaga. "With Gaga on it, that gives it a real kind of modern sound," he said.
Hardly a newbie at award shows, John said he was looking forward to attending the Globes. "The Golden Globes have always been the fun thing to do," he said. "You bump into people you'd love to meet."
-- Reed Johnson
Photo: Lady Gaga and Sir Elton John perform together May 13, 2010, in New York. John's song "Hello Hello" features Lady Gaga and is nominated for a Golden Globe. Credit: Jason DeCrow / Associated Press