January 17, 2014: Hobbit Snub

So…I think I’ve made WordPress hate me because I made it “inspire me” about 12 times and then proceeded to use none of it’s ideas because I didn’t like them, *sigh*!  I have to say, though, I hate days when I can’t get my mind around anything, it’s the most frustrating experience!  Rather than bore you with whining I’m in search of a writing prompt, so I can at least demonstrate to myself, if no one else, that I still have a brain!

…And this is not ending well.  I’ve yet to find a prompt that I like that doesn’t make me go…”oh wait, that was someone else’s idea.”  I’d love to write something about music (considering what the nature of this blog should be) but I can’t quite manage to come up with anything!  Here’s what I’m starting to come up with!  It’s awards season, which means nominations.  Nominations for best actor, actress, movie, song, soundtrack, etc.  It’s hard for me to be a good judge this year since I haven’t seen many of the nominated movies, by which I mean I’ve seen precisely seven of all the nominated movies in all the categories.  That wasn’t true last year, though.  Last year I saw nine, which, while not a huge improvement was enough to allow me to say I had a better clue of what was going on.  

Regardless of that, I think I still have enough knowledge and understanding to speak to one category, and one movie, which was snubbed, both last year and this year!  Best Original Soundtrack and both Hobbit films.  Yes, I’m a fan and yes, that makes me biased!  However, I’m also a musician, a music major, and I tend to have a good understanding of music because of that.  Now, I would shut up about this if I thought they were saving the award and the nomination for next year and There and Back Again, but I don’t.  The fact is, by this point, the Lord of the Rings trilogy was nominated for best picture, twice, best original soundtrack for Fellowship, and several other awards, including a nomination for best supporting actor for Ian McKellen.  I’m not saying that any of the Hobbit  films are necessarily on that level, though, I do believe Richard Armitage deserves a nomination, at the least, and that Benedict Cumberbatch deserves some acknowledgement for playing a truly brilliant Smaug.  I mean, really, it’s not easy to create a believable talking dragon!  However, I’ll limit myself to what I think has been the grossest oversight, that of the score.

I realize, in the past few years there have been many talented composers who have written beautiful music for beautiful movies.  I grant that!  However, one cannot deny the brilliance of Howard Shore’s score, because, as a friend and I have repeatedly discussed, he doesn’t treat it like movie music, he treats it like art music!  Shore has written and orchestrated every film, with the exception of the orchestration for Desolation of Smaug.  He still wrote the music, but was too busy to orchestrate it, but you can’t tell and the Oscar is, basically, for the composition, not for the orchestration.  In addition, frequently, there are teams of people that stand up there and accept the award.  So why have there been no nominations for Howard Shore’s music for these films?

Especially, after listening to the soundtrack for Desolation of Smaug, I can’t help but be baffled!  The music is articulate and there are moments of sheer brilliance!  One of my favorite moments in the score takes place in Mirkwood.  During this part of the music Tauriel’s theme (which I also think is sheer brilliance, feminine and strong all at once) combines, weaving in and out, of Legolas’s theme!  It’s quite powerful and beautiful when you hear it.  There are other moments like that too!  All the metal instruments used in Smaug’s lair.  It encourages the Eastern feel Peter Jackson said he wanted, but also implies the gold Smaug is hording!  Also, Smaug’s theme, something you hardly notice when you hear it in An Unexpected Journey is back with a vengeance and  it’s brilliant!  A slightly altered version of the Mordor theme you hear later in the trilogy!  

My point is, these scores aren’t something that should be lightly tossed aside, but they should be considered, acknowledged, and awarded as the serious art music that they are!  Like any respectable symphony, the themes Shore introduces build and intertwine with one another creating a true symphonic masterpiece.  Some may think I’m exaggerating, but I really feel they only need to listen closely to the music to understand it’s beauty and brilliance.  Perhaps the soundtracks are being snubbed at awards shows because they are too intelligent?  I don’t know, but something needs to change so these brilliant works are acknowledged and not cast aside like so many movie scores.  The Lord of the Rings scores are repeatedly acknowledged in symphonies, live works, and other various ways.  I feel this is an honor that these film scores also deserve because they’re more than movie music, they’re true art.


P.S. Thanks to Mom for helping me come up with a topic for tonight! 😀


Curious about the music and other people’s thoughts on it?  Here are some links:





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