10 Best Film Scores Of 2015
Contributed by Michelle McCue and Melissa Thompson
Whether we sailed away to fairytale lands, visited far off worlds or made a grand journey on past and present adventures, 2015 cinema provided something for everyone. To be sure, this year’s movies delivered spectacular visuals and rich characters, emotive performances, and stories that gripped you to the bitter end. But as always, it’s the composer’s score that captures the true heart of any film.
On Wednesday the Academy announced that 112 scores from eligible feature-length motion pictures released in 2015 are in contention for nominations in the Original Score category for the 88th Academy Awards.
Here’s our look at the 10 Best Scores from 2015.
Honorable Mention: KRAMPUS by Douglas Pipes
Well-known Yuletide favorites are transformed into “We Wish You A Scary Christmas” and “Krampus Karol of the Bells” in Michael Dougherty’s KRAMPUS. Providing some Christmas frights is Douglas Pipes’ fun and mischievous score for this darkly festive tale and one we couldn’t leave off our list. Believe us, you’ll never think of “Jingle Bells” in the same way again.
10. LOVE AND MERCY by Atticus Ross
Walking that fine line for telling the story of a famous musician while including their well-known songs was masterfully done by Atticus Ross. With a combination of Ross’s score and Brian Wilson’s voice weaved throughout, we became fans of “Pet Sound” music all over again.
9. THE HATEFUL EIGHT by Ennio Morricone
‘The Mission: Gabriel’s Oboe‘ is one of the most beautiful score music ever put to paper and in our opinion Ennio Morricone’s finest work.
This time the award-winning composer weaves together the tense, haunting score for Quentin Tarantino’s THE HATEFUL EIGHT. Morricone’s terrific music heightens the human interaction along with the bleak human drama of the eight travelers stranded.
A bonus highlight – the roadshow experience features an exclusive overture composed by the legendary composer.
8. BROOKLYN by Michael Brook
The film’s true emotional atmosphere was the music, led by an aching score from Michael Brook. His lovely score captures the film’s theme of how to merge where you have come from with where you dream of going. Making it one of our favorites of the year, the highlight of the BROOKLYN score is the beautiful violin solo by Julie Rogers that conveys Eilis’ (Saoirse Ronan) life-altering decisions.
7. THE REVENANT by Ryuichi Sakamoto and Carsten Nicolai
The very visual score for Alejandro González Iñárritu’s film THE REVENANT from composers Ryuichi Sakamoto and Carsten Nicolai is both haunting and intense. The choice of synthesized motifs were composed for both eyes and ears, and one that stayed with us long after the credits rolled.
6. CINDERELLA by Patrick Doyle
Patrick Doyle whisks us off to the fairytale land of glass slippers, and handsome princes with a score that is so pretty and moving and very heartfelt. Disney couldn’t have been happier with this lovely, sweeping, almost lullaby-like music that takes you on a journey that you just know has a happy ending right around the corner. Extra bonus? Helena Bonham-Carter singing Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo, of course!
5. BRIDGE OF SPIES by Thomas Newman
The sweeping soundtrack to Steven Spielberg’s BRIDGE OF SPIES embodies a mix of Cold War themes, robust Americana motifs and a nostalgic reminder of a time gone by. Newman’s music is understated and brilliant in its simplicity.
4. IN THE HEART OF THE SEA by Roque Baños
The glorious score finds just the right balance between the old and the new, the classic and the cutting-edge. Baños’ music for Ron Howard’s epic tale had a power and emotion to it which infused an impressive percussion section with props from the film, including harpoons, ropes, sharpening stones and other tools from the era. Right from the heart, Baños’ amazing score made for one of 2015’s best.
3. CREED by Ludwig Goransson
With his knock-out score for Ryan Coogler’s CREED, Goransson’s music left us chanting ROCKY, ROCKY, ROCKY! Obviously Bill Conti’s iconic theme music from the original was present in a big way, but Goransson adds his own updated heart-pounding score that fits seamlessly – as if they had been written at the same time – and makes you feel like you are hearing it for the first time. Add to that the super current hip hop acts like Meek Mill and Future and it makes for a really complete modern sound.
2. STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS by John Williams
The Oscar-winning composer returns us to that Galaxy Far Far Away with his regal score to J.J. Abrams STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS. Like with CREED, the source material is ever-present in the best possible way. And let’s face it, do we really want to hear anything else anyway? At some point moving forward, iconic pieces such as the Imperial March and Princess Leia’s theme will be replaced for the new characters, but until then move along, this IS the score we are looking for.
1. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD by Tom Holkenborg
Oh What A Lovely Day it was with Holkenborg’s amazing score for George Miller’s MAD MAX: FURY ROAD.
It was one of those brilliant times where the beating drums, sweeping strings and electric guitar-driven operatic themes made for one exciting ride and our number film score of 2015.
Let us know your favorite film scores in our comments section below. Who would’ve made your Top 10?