Let’s Go to the Oscars #13: Henry Mancini wins Best Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture for ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ (1961)

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Henry Mancini wins for Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

In today’s entry, at the 34th annual Academy Awards (which were hosted by Bob Hope), Cyd Charisse and Tony Martin present the Oscar for Best Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture to Henry Mancini. This is one of two Oscars that the film ultimately received (the other being for Best Original Song “Moon River”, co-composed by Johnny Mercer). It was also nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Art Direction and Best Adapted Screen play.

Over his long career, Mancini (who died of pancreatic cancer in 1994) won four Academy Awards, a Golden Globe and twenty Grammy Awards. He became well known for his collaborations with director Blake Edwards. Breakfast at Tiffany’s is often cited when speaking about Mancini (though The Pink Panther is widely considered his most famous score) and is also considered the defining role for Audrey Hepburn.

The film is loosely based on Truman Capote’s novella of the same name and follows the romantic mis-adventures of the utterly naive socialite Holly Golightly (Hepburn) who is also unwittingly caught up in a mobster’s drug ring. At the same time, Holly juggles multiple suitors while also flirting with her neighbor Paul (George Peppard). The film was well-received upon release and continues to re-appear in “classic” movie marathons from time to time though it has received increasing criticism over the decades for employing a notorious use of ‘yellow-face’ (Mickey Rooney plays “Mr. Yunioshi” with the help of makeup and a prosthetic mouthpiece). Nevertheless, the film was deemed worthy of preservation in the National Film Registry in 2012 and for better or worse, there it remains.

If you’ve seen Breakfast at Tiffany’s, what did you think about it and Mancini’s music for it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

For more Oscar fun, see also:

Let’s go to the Oscars #1: Jerry Goldsmith wins Original Score with “The Omen”

Let’s go to the Oscars #2: James Horner wins Best Original Dramatic Score and Best Original Song with “Titanic”

Let’s go to the Oscars #3: John Williams and his five Academy Awards

Let’s go to the Oscars #4: Howard Shore wins for “The Lord of the Rings”

Let’s Go to the Oscars #5: Alexandre Desplat wins Best Original Score for The Grand Budapest Hotel

Let’s Go to the Oscars #6: Michael Giacchino wins Best Original Score for Up (2009)

Let’s Go to the Oscars #7: Ennio Morricone wins Best Original Score for The Hateful Eight (2016)

Let’s Go to the Oscars #8: Tan Dun wins Best Original Score for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

Let’s Go to the Oscars #9: Stephen Warbeck wins Best Original Musical or Comedy Score for Shakespeare in Love (1998)

Let’s Go to the Oscars #10: Miklos Rozsa wins Best Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture for Ben-Hur (1959)

Let’s Go to the Oscars #11: John Barry wins Best Original Score for The Lion in Winter (1968)

Let’s Go to the Oscars #12: Maurice Jarre wins Music Score-Substantially Original for Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

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5 awesome TV shows you can find right now on Hulu

It’s one of the age-old questions of the 21st century: Netflix or Hulu? (assuming one doesn’t choose to subscribe to both, which I can’t afford). Both have their pros and cons: Netflix has Stranger Things, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Daredevil, etc. while Hulu has Runaways, The Handmaid’s Tale, Harlots, etc. and so on.

When the time came for me to choose between them (as my budget dictated I could only have one), I carefully considered my options and chose…Hulu! And it’s a decision I have never regretted. More and more it seems like Hulu is getting some awesome shows to stream on their site and I thought I would share five of them with you:

  • ER (1994-2009)

There are (in my opinion) few medical dramas that were more popular than ER, which ran for a whopping 15 seasons and initially starred George Clooney before he became the big movie star he is today. Well, as of a few days ago, all 331 episodes are available to stream on Hulu (to the joy of fans everywhere). If you’re looking for some high quality medical drama (that isn’t Grey’s Anatomy) than look no further.

  • Futurama (1999-2003, 2010-2013)

It used to be that if you wanted to stream the zaniness known as Futurama you had to go to Netflix for access. And then Netflix lost the streaming rights (or simply let it go), in any event, it disappeared from the streaming service. And then came the happy news: Hulu had struck a deal to place the entire Futurama series on their streaming service and fans have been happily binging away ever since. The show (if you’re not familiar): follows the mis-adventures of Philip J. Frye when he is unexpectedly locked into a cryogenic chamber on New Year’s Eve 1999 and not let out until New Year’s Eve 2999. He ends up working for an interplanetary delivery service run by his many times great-nephew and it only gets crazier from there.

  • Marvel’s Runaways (2017-present)

One of Hulu’s better known projects involves a small screen adaptation of one of the greatest comic stories ever created by Marvel (I’m not exaggerating either): Runaways. The story follows a group of friends who discover their parents are actually part of an underworld crime organization that consists of mob bosses, wizards, aliens and mutants known as “the Pride.” The group (eventually known as the Runaways because they, you know, run away from home) decide to take action to “atone” for everything their parents have done, but the situation is a lot more complicated than they realized.

  • Animaniacs/Pinky and the Brain/Tiny Toon Adventures

Okay so I know this is actually three cartoons but since they’re all connected I decided to put them all under one entry. As a lifelong cartoon fanatic, I can’t overstate how happy I was when I started browsing Hulu one afternoon and discovered Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain and (most importantly to me) Tiny Toon Adventures all fully available to stream. It seems that Hulu struck a deal to helm a reboot of Animaniacs (that will begin airing in 2020) and in return they received full exclusive streaming rights to these animated gems from the 1990s.

It’s well known that I’m not a fan of remakes or reboots, but since the deal gets me access to Tiny Toon Adventures (which is practically out of print on DVD), I’m not going to complain too loudly.

  • The Handmaid’s Tale (2017-present)

The Handmaid’s Tale might be the most popular show on Hulu’s roster at the moment and deservedly so.

It adapts Margaret Atwood’s frighteningly plausible dystopian novel in which the United States has become the ‘Republic of Gilead’ where women have no rights whatsoever (they’re not even permitted to read) and a women known only as Offred (literally ‘Of Fred’, the man she’s ‘assigned’ to) has to make her way in a world where her life has been ripped away from her.

For all the accolades this show has received, I’m afraid I must confess something: I can’t watch it. I read the book back in high school and that was traumatizing enough; seeing it all play out on the screen would be too much for me. Season 2 of the acclaimed series will premiere in April.

And that’s my list of five awesome shows you can find on Hulu right now. Have you seen any of these shows? Do you have a favorite? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

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Achievement Unlocked: 450 followers!

My quest to reach 500 blog followers has come one step closer to completion. Over the weekend I finally reached 450 followers, leaving me only 50 away from my longstanding goal.

I can’t thank all of you enough for checking in to the blog every day and reading these reviews and thoughts that I publish. I remember when I began this blog, I told myself over and over again that I should feel happy if I got maybe 100 followers (and even then I figured that would take a very long time). Now here we are with 450 followers and I couldn’t be happier.

One of my goals for 2018 is to surpass 500 followers. I know with your support I will be able to get there 🙂

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John Wick is coming to the small screen with ‘The Continental’

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If you (like many others) are impatient to see the third installment in the John Wick film series, then this should be good news: Starz is developing a television series set in that same universe. But while the films follow Keanu Reeves in his role as John Wick, the new series entitled The Continental will take place in the titular hotel that caters to the elite assassins that prowl the underworld.

I am excited at the idea of seeing more of life in this hotel. With all the assassins coming and going on a daily basis, life must surely get…interesting…for the concierge and the rest of the hotel staff. I can’t help but wonder if Lance Reddick will reprise his role as Charon from the movies (or at least make a recurring appearance), I love his dry wit and how he always seems to know what his customers are in need of. While details on the series are still sketchy, it has been confirmed that Keanu Reeves will be putting in at least one appearance as John Wick (he’s already listed as an executive producer for the series). Truthfully, I could see them doing a special episode for Wick’s appearance (assuming it happens), perhaps something that ties in to the events of the films.

One big question I have about The Continental is: when in time does this occur in relation to the films? Considering that there is only a week’s gap between the two films and the third film is yet to come, I can only assume that this series will take place sometime before the first film (at least more than five years since that’s when John “got out” to marry his wife).

I haven’t seen an anticipated release date for when The Continental will begin shooting, let alone start airing, but when it does come, I will be among those in line to check it out. What do you think about Starz creating a television series set in the John Wick universe? Are you excited or do you think the idea is redundant? Are there any characters from the film you think should make an appearance in the series? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

For more thoughts on John Wick, see also:

Thoughts on: John Wick (2014)

Thoughts on: John Wick Chapter 2 (2017)

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Netflix releases trailer for ‘Altered Carbon’

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‘Altered Carbon’ trailer

If you love the dystopian, cyberpunk worlds of Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell (the animated original not that mess from last year) then you are in luck: Netflix has released a trailer for an upcoming series entitled Altered Carbon, and it is based on all the best qualities of cyberpunk storytelling.


Altered Carbon is based on a 2002 novel of the same name by Richard K. Morgan and is set five hundred years in the future, in a world where humanity has colonized several extrasolar planets and (most importantly): humans can be ‘resleeved’ when they die. Basically, humans have developed the technology to completely digitize the human consciousness: memories, behaviors and all. Upon dying, assuming one can afford it, the mind is “downloaded” from the dead body and “uploaded” into a new one, allowing life to essentially pick up where one left off. In this way, humans can technically live forever, though most choose not to as the strain of aging over and over again becomes too much for some after a few go-throughs.

The story of Altered Carbon revolves around former soldier Takeshi Kovacs who is resleeved after dying two hundred and fifty years ago in order to help solve the murder of Laurens Bancroft (who has been resleeved with no memory of the past two days, hence his belief that he was murdered). Takeshi is thus plunged into a world full of holograms, flying cars and a society where you can have multiple faces over a series of lifetimes (even Takeshi has a face that bears no resemblance to his former body). The trailer implies that this is a society full of dirty secrets that will be uncovered when Takeshi begins digging around to discover why (or even if) Bancroft was murdered.

The first season will consist of ten episodes and premieres on Netflix on February 2nd. The series will star Joel Kinnaman as the current sleeve for Takeshi Kovacs; James Purefoy as the current sleeve for Laurens Bancroft and Kristin Lehman as Miriam Bancroft. Will Yun Lee also stars in a recurring role as Takeshi Kovacs (presumably as the ‘original’ Takeshi).

What do you think of the trailer for Altered Carbon? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. I haven’t had a Netflix subscription for years, but I may have to get one again just to see this series when it premieres next month.

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Let’s Go to the Oscars #12: Maurice Jarre wins Music Score-Substantially Original for Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Since it is awards season, I decided it was time to return to my annual series Let’s Go to the Oscars, where I continue my journey to highlight all of the film composers who have been honored with an Academy Award for Best Original Score (and the many different names that award has taken over the decades). For example, you see in the title how I refer to Maurice Jarre’s win as “Music Score-Substantially Original”? It sounds like a mouthful but that’s what the award was called that year.

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Maurice Jarre wins for Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

In this entry, at the 35th Annual Academy Awards, Ginger Rogers (longtime dance companion of Fred Astaire) presents the Oscar for “Music Score-Substantially Original” to Maurice Jarre (the award is accepted by Morris Stoloff on Jarre’s behalf) for his work on Lawrence of Arabia. This is preceded by host Frank Sinatra telling some simply awful jokes (at least I think they’re meant to be jokes).

This Oscar was one of seven that the epic film ultimately received (it was nominated for ten), the others being: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography (Color), Best Art Direction (Color), Best Film Editing and Best Sound Mixing.

Jarre (who died in 2009) was a French composer who won 3 Academy Awards over the course of his career out of 9 nominations (the other wins being for Doctor Zhivago (1965) and A Passage to India (1984)). Some consider Lawrence of Arabia to be one of Jarre’s greatest scores (and I’m inclined to agree). The film recounts the story of T.E. Lawrence (the titular “Lawrence of Arabia”) and his work in the Arabian Peninsula during World War I. It is considered to be one of the most influential films ever made (and certainly high up on the list of “films you must see at least once before you die.”)

I’m a little disappointed that Maurice Jarre wasn’t there to accept his award in person, since it’s always interesting to hear what the composer has to say, however briefly, about their accomplishment. At any rate, I hope you enjoyed this look back at the Oscars in the early 1960s (I can’t help but point out once again how much simpler and shorter the ceremony used to be). If you’ve seen Lawrence of Arabia, what did you think of the film and Jarre’s score? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

For more Let’s Go to the Oscars, see also:

Let’s go to the Oscars #1: Jerry Goldsmith wins Original Score with “The Omen”

Let’s go to the Oscars #2: James Horner wins Best Original Dramatic Score and Best Original Song with “Titanic”

Let’s go to the Oscars #3: John Williams and his five Academy Awards

Let’s go to the Oscars #4: Howard Shore wins for “The Lord of the Rings”

Let’s Go to the Oscars #5: Alexandre Desplat wins Best Original Score for The Grand Budapest Hotel

Let’s Go to the Oscars #6: Michael Giacchino wins Best Original Score for Up (2009)

Let’s Go to the Oscars #7: Ennio Morricone wins Best Original Score for The Hateful Eight (2016)

Let’s Go to the Oscars #8: Tan Dun wins Best Original Score for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

Let’s Go to the Oscars #9: Stephen Warbeck wins Best Original Musical or Comedy Score for Shakespeare in Love (1998)

Let’s Go to the Oscars #10: Miklos Rozsa wins Best Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture for Ben-Hur (1959)

Let’s Go to the Oscars #11: John Barry wins Best Original Score for The Lion in Winter (1968)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

Winners of the 2018 Critics’ Choice Awards

Last night was the 23rd Critics’ Choice Awards which were held in Santa Monica, California, to celebrate achievements in filmmaking.

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Going in to the ceremony there was great cause for excitement as a number of films had multiple nominations: The Shape of Water led with 14; Blade Runner 2049 had 7; Lady Bird had 8; and there was cause for celebration as Logan earned 3 nominations (for Best Action Movie, Best Young Actress and Best Supporting Actor), among many others. Ultimately, The Shape of Water came out the big winner with 4 wins; Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri received 3; and Coco, Darkest Hour, Get Out and I, Tonya received 2 each.

The major wins are:

Best Picture: The Shape of Water

Best Director: Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water)

Best Actor: Gary Oldman: Darkest Hour (as Winston Churchill)

Best Actress: Frances McDormand: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (as Mildred Hayes)

Best Original Screenplay: Jordan Peele (Get Out)

Best Cinematography: Roger Deakins (Blade Runner 2049)

Best Visual Effects: War for the Planet of the Apes

Best Animated Feature: Coco

Best Action Movie: Wonder Woman

Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie: Get Out

Best Comedy: The Big Sick

Best Score: Alexandre Desplat (The Shape of Water)

Best Song: “Remember Me” (Coco)

It is gratifying to see Roger Deakins rewarded for his amazing cinematography in Blade Runner 2049 (and also to chalk up another accolade for the film). I’m disappointed that Logan did not win any awards (especially because Patrick Stewart was nominated for Best Supporting Actor and Dafne Keen (X-23) was up for Best Young Actress) but seeing Wonder Woman win for Best Action Movie partially makes up for it.

Seeing The Shape of Water win the biggest awards of the night (both in terms of number and importance, by which I mean it won Best Picture) confirms my thinking that this film will likely sweep a large portion of the Oscars in March. If this ends up happening, I will likely have to add the film to my viewing list (though I don’t watch many del Toro films, this one does sound intriguing).

There was also no surprise that Coco won Best Animated Feature (a well deserved honor) and Best Song. I’m still hoping to see Blade Runner 2049 pick up at least one award for its music but as of right now Desplat’s score for The Shape of Water is dominating in that category.

What do you think of the big winners from The Critics’ Choice Awards? Do you disagree with any of the winners? Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂

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