Global hit: Academy Award nominees

The World
The World

This Sunday it’ll be Academy Awards time. So to end the week, we want to take a few minutes to sample some of the Oscar-nominated music.

Italian-born Dario Marianelli scored “Pride and Prejudice” in 2005. And just in the past year, he’s added four films to his credits. Marianelli is nominated for “Atonement.”

The love story is set in England during World War Two. It has received six other Oscar nods, including best film. In his score, Marianelli creates a somewhat traditional symphonic sound. But then, an unconventional instrument pops up.

At the center of “Atonement” is an aspiring writer. So it’s fitting that a typewriter should become a percussive voice in Marianelli’s score.

Far from England, in Afghanistan, is the setting for the film “The Kite Runner.” Its composer and score have also been nominated for an Oscar.
This melody is inspired by traditional Afghan music. It comes courtesy of Spanish composer Alberto Iglesias. Iglesias has an uncanny ability to mimic ethnic idioms. He scored the 2005 film “The Constant Gardener” set in Kenya.

For those compositions, Iglesias included African musicians and traditional instruments from the continent. In “The Kite Runner,” Iglesias folds the sounds of Afghanistan into a western orchestra.

That’s an edgy score for an edgy tale of an Afghan man who returns from America to his country — while it’s still in the grip of the Taliban. Another edgy sound comes from New York-born Marco Beltrami. He’s nominated for scoring the remake of the western “3:10 to Yuma.”

Beltrami composed the taut music for action flicks such as “I-Robot” and “Live Free or Die Hard.” For “310 to Yuma,” Beltrami also tightens the mood. But “310’s” director James Mangold instructed him to do that with a small set of instruments.

So Beltrami went lo-fi, with screeching electric guitars, and piano strings that are plucked, and then bowed with fishing wire.

Beltrami’s music echoes the vast expanses of the west evoked by Ennio Morricone’s scores for spaghetti westerns.

But Beltrami injects that mood in his impressive score for “310 to Yuma” his way: full-throttle.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Sign up for The Top of the World, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.