2011 Calvin Awards: Best Use of Music

February 15, 2011

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Fifth place goes to Toy Story 3, which saw the return of composer Randy Newman to bring the movie to life with his musical accompaniments. The whimsical, sentimental score is the ideal counterpart to the bright, vivid colors and beloved characters appearing onscreen for a final time. "You've Got a Friend in Me" returns (both in English and in Spanish - featuring The Gipsy Kings!) and other songs like Gary Wright's "Dream Weaver" and Chic's "Le Freak" have their part to play, too. Of course, Toy Story movies wouldn't be Toy Story movies if there weren't an original Newman tune to jerk at the heartstrings, and the candidate this time around is "We Belong Together." It's nominated for Best Song at this year's Oscar ceremony, and we remember how awesome it was when Newman told the orchestra to stop trying to play him off the stage when he won for "If I Didn't Have You" and Monsters, Inc. We bet he'd be fun if he won again. Just sayin'.

Next up is Tron: Legacy in sixth place, and how fun is it to see a top ten that includes movie scores from Trent Reznor and Daft Punk? In the case of Tron Legacy, the duo, known for their synthpop electronica, combined their boops and beeps with orchestral music for a completely unique sound that was absolutely perfect for the technologically updated sequel to a franchise (yes, Tron is a franchise) that got its start in the 1980s. My only regret is that they didn't include a reprise of the original film's closing tune, Journey's "Only Solutions."


The music and films in seventh and eighth place couldn't be more different, as True Grit bases its soundtrack on classic hymns while 127 Hours relies more on new tunes that are appropriate to the youth and vitality of its protagonist. Much of True Grit's score, including Mattie's theme, is based on the 1887 hymn "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms," and strains of "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" can be heard as well. These old-timey sounds feel perfectly appropriate for a film that has Old Testament notions of retribution and revenge. For 127 Hours, we have A.R. Rahman's original score mixed with songs like "Lovely Day" (Bill Withers), "Ca plane pour moi" (Plastic Bertrand) and "Festival" (Sigur Ros). Rahman's songs are meditative but never depressing, always maintaining a spark of hope even when Aron Ralston is at his lowest.

Finally in ninth and tenth we have Tangled and Easy A, both movies that center around female heroines. Composer Alan Menken worked alongside lyricist Glenn Slater to combine a folk music feel with medieval sounds that were just right for the instant Disney animated classic, which featured singing from Mandy Moore, Broadway star Donna Murphy, and Zach Levi. It's perhaps not quite on the same level as other classic Disney musicals, but we bet the songs feel more memorable as the film ages. As for the Easy A soundtrack, it features updates of songs from '80s films such as "If You Were Here" (originally by the Thompson Twins, remade by the Cary Brothers) and "Don't You (Forget About Me)" (originally by Simple Minds, remade by AM to evoke the fact that this movie's poking a little fun at those classics of cinema, but also reveling in them.

Finishing just outside the top ten are Get Him to the Greek, Blue Valentine, The Ghost Writer and The Fighter. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

The Calvins Introduction
Best Actor
Best Actress
Best Album
Best Cast
Best Character
Best Director
Best Overlooked Film
Best Picture
Best Scene
Best Screenplay
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best TV Show
Best Use of Music
Best Videogame
Breakthrough Performance
Worst Performance
Worst Picture

Top 10
Position Film Total Points
1 The Social Network 122
2 Black Swan 117
3 Inception 88
4 Scott Pilgrim vs the World 82
5 Toy Story 3 53
6 TRON: Legacy 51
7 True Grit 46
8 127 Hours 42
9 Tangled 40
10 Easy A 35

Continued:       1       2



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