Oscar night is in well an hour. It usually entails red carpet showdown, opening monologue (LEGENDARY), music, food, and of course, the awards. Unfortunately, I will be missing them all. I will be in class tonight, but I will be checking my phone constantly.
The wonderfully talented composer, Alexandre Desplat, is the star of the night. He has been doubly nominated for his original music in The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Imitation Game. I am a huge Wes Anderson fan. His films are a perfect blend of quirkiness, awkwardness, and realism. I love Fantastic Mr. Fox among many others. However, I have to confess that The Grand Budapest Hotel is not one of my favorite Anderson films. Somehow the story seems a little bit disjointed for me. I don’t want to spoil the movie, so go watch it.
I want to focus on the equally quirky music by Mr. Desplat. His somewhat minimal and almost impressionistic approach to music in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button caught my attention initially. Musically speaking, the score for The Grand Budapest Hotel is very different. Mr. Desplat developed a new type of folk music for this fictional country where the hotel is located. Drawing inspirations from Central Europe, the score used both orchestral and traditional folk instruments, such as balalaika, zither, and cimbalom. High energy (driving tempo), use of exotic instruments, and simple melodies help to enhance the humor and quickness that are standard in Wes Anderson’s films, and effectively convey a sense of nostalgia and wistfulness that resonated with the film.
All in all, this is still a great film, and the visual is stunning with the usual Anderson style picture book-like framing and coloring. I challenge you to pay attention to Alexandre Desplat’s unique take on scoring for this film, and I believe you will thoroughly enjoy it. This is his 6th time nomination, and I hope tonight will be his night.