Oscar 2012: Ludovic Bource wins original score for 'The Artist'
French composer Ludovic Bource won the Academy Award for original score for his work on the silent film “The Artist.” While the musician was competing against a bevy of Oscar veterans, including John Williams, Howard Shore and Alberto Iglesias, he was considered the favorite, as "The Artist" used music as scene-setters, dialogue and mood pieces.
In composing for Michel Hazanavicius' film about the end of the silent film era, Bource referenced such genre touchstones as "Sunset Boulevard" and the music of the late film composer Franz Waxman. Yet Bource also immersed himself in the work of early Russian filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein and classical masters such as Johannes Brahms.
This was the first nomination for Bource, as well as the composer’s first major international film. In the 100 minutes of "The Artist," Bource's music touches on a lifetime of sounds, from Bollywood melodicism to noir-like diversions. Bource earlier won the Golden Globe for his composition.
The field was rounded out by John Williams' scores to “The Adventures of Tintin” and "War Horse," Howard Shore's "Hugo" and Alberto Iglesias' “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.”
Williams has more than 40 nominations spread throughout his five-decade-plus career. He last won in 1993 for “Schindler’s List.” His collaborations with Steven Spielberg, in fact, have resulted in three of his five Oscar statuettes, as he was also recognized for his work on “Jaws” and “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.” Williams was last nominated in 2005, when he also had two films in the running, “Munich” and “Memoirs of a Geisha.”
Spanish composer Iglesias had been nominated twice before, most recently in 2007 for “The Kite Runner.” The award that year went to Dario Marianelli’s score for “Atonement.”
This was the fourth nomination for veteran Canadian composer Shore. His previous three nominations all resulted in wins, and they all stem from “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Twice the films won original score, and the song “Into the West” from “Return of the King” was named best original song.
In recent years voters have alternated between traditional and left-of-center options. Last year, for instance, the award went to the Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross score for “The Social Network,” which placed the emphasis on spare electronics. The 2010 ceremony recognized Michael Giacchino’s work on the computer animated “Up,” and the 2009 telecast honored the Bollywood stylings of A. R. Rahman’s “Slumdog Millionaire” score.
The Academy Awards are taking place in Hollywood and are being televised live on ABC. They are presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, whose membership was recently examined in depth by the Los Angeles Times.
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-- Todd Martens
Image: Ludovic Bource. Credit: Getty Images