Thursday, January 22, 2009

Jai Ho!

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Alexandre Desplat
  • Defiance (2008): James Newton Howard
  • Milk (2008): Danny Elfman
  • Slumdog Millionaire (2008): A.R. Rahman
  • WALL·E (2008): Thomas Newman
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
  • Slumdog Millionaire (2008): A.R. Rahman, Gulzar ("Jai Ho")
  • Slumdog Millionaire (2008): A.R. Rahman, Maya Arulpragasam (M.I.A.) ("O Saya")
  • WALL·E (2008): Peter Gabriel, Thomas Newman ("Down to Earth")
Tulkinghorn surely recalls that it was he, back when he got out more, who introduced me to the melodious emenations of A.R. Rahman's genius, in the form of a casstte tape of the Hindi version of the song score for Mani Rathnam's Roja, hand-carried all the way from Bombay in '92 after a business excursion for Disney.

In 1994, in Toronto, I covered the Rathnam retro for Film Comment and bought, in the city's Tamil quarter, six or eight Rahman CDs, including (just to tie things in a bit) the tunes from K. Muralmohana Rao's early headbanger Super Police. I've bought pretty much every Rahman CD I've come across since, though my collection falls far short of the 108 titles listed on IMDb.

Ain't life grand?


c said...

Nomination for sound

Best Achievement in Sound

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce, Mark Weingarten

The Dark Knight (2008): Ed Novick, Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo

Slumdog Millionaire (2008): Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke, Resul Pookutty

WALL·E (2008): Tom Myers, Michael Semanick, Ben Burtt

Wanted (2008): Chris Jenkins, Frank A. MontaƱo, Petr Forejt

Christian Lindke said...

Slumdog is definitely a competitor in "Sound Mixing" which Ramesh listed here.

But if sound editing goes to anything other than WALL-E, the academy will only continue to demonstrate their lack of understanding of sound design. The number of new audio effect needed to tell the story in WALL-E is almost incomprehensible. "Wanted" is the film that is weakest in the category. I think it deserves a nom, but not the award.

Anonymous said...

lindke, you're the source of my most profound quote this decade ,so far.

my view is, if they want to give slumdog awards, i would rather they give it to all the technical categories than best picture or best director( that would be a crime because slumdog is really a rehash of dev benegal's split wide open.)

c said...

c'st moi...not anonymous

Christian Lindke said...

Hmm...I don't believe I said anything similar to that. One reason might be that "Dev Benegal's Split Wide Open" sounds more like a special move in a Street Fighter game to me, than a movie reference.

Besides, "Slumdog" deserves to be in competition for the best picture and best director awards. Especially when one looks to what the Oscars are supposed to reward, which is films that had wide release in America.

Sorry, "indie market" if America hasn't seen you -- and won't see you even after you've been nominated -- no cookie for you! AFI can reward obscure greatness, but the Academy is about culture...mass culture.

Tulkinghorn said...

A.R. Rahman is now part of the pantheon of Best Song and Best Soundtrack nominees: a pantheon that includes some of the biggest hacks in the history of popular music.

The proper reaction to this (as to so much in life) is disdain.

Maybe they'll get Mariah Carey or Celine Dion to perform the songs at the ceremony.

c said...


your quote was about summum bonum, not about split wide open.

as regards whether split wide open is "deserving" I never claimed that it was /should hav been an oscar contender. I only claim that Slumdog (in the best picture/ director categories) cannot be considered original,and thus is not award worthy. If yu wanted to award remakes, you should have picked ghajini.


Im fine too, thanks for asking.

how's the strip mall hobo thing workin' out for ya ?


GoJoe said...

I will be pleased to see A.R. win, but Giacchino's SPEED RACER was probably my fave score of the year and it would have been nice to see "Little Person" from SYNECDOCHE NEW YORK get at least a nom for best original song...

c said...

gulzar and ARR all the way.

for tulk's sake, kate winslet can take home one for britain(if it's not for revolutionary road)

c said...

and clint eastwood was cheated three times over

GoJoe said...

I was hoping "Gran Torino" would be nominated for best song, if only for the possibility of getting Clint onstage to whisper/growl/warble that opening section...

...way to go Academy, you had your chance and you blew it.

c said...

i think the academy will pick mathangi arulpragasam,,,just t piss tulk off.

"one day i wanna be a staaaar
so I get to hang in a baaaaar
some thing some thing(she's alking british)
so that I can frget my scars"

c said...


you know tulk, under that gruff surly facade hides a really gruff surly dude that likes british stuff classical music science fiction and spewing angry bile at skateboarders in the neighborhood.

if the guy wasn't so darn goodlookin' I'd compare him to .

Prostnic Vogon Jeltz ;)

Generic said...

I agree that Giacchino is a wonderful composor. "The Incredibles"? Amazing. And his "Lost" symphony is building to a suitable apotheosis. Maybe I'll have to face the music (if you will) and finally watch that candy-colored super-flop.

"Jai Ho," however, really sets the hook. I make guitar-playing faces just listening to it.

Tulkinghorn said...

What is amusing is the thought of all those Academy types weighing the pros and cons of two Hindi songs and deciding between them.

If the division of votes between them is different from a coin toss, it'll be a miracle.

But, of course, we'll never know.

What we do know is that the song from WALL-E has the non-filmi vote tied up.

If I were a betting man....

c said...

oh no no, i thought about that. Only the die hard vote/ anti bollywood vote will go wall-e's way.

the bollywood vote will not split evenly. If an academy voter looks for references from people(like chute) who know any bollywood before they vote, there's only one choice, with Gulzar being nominated. I might have wavered if it was only rehman(as might most of mumbai) but with gulzar, its only rehman gulzar jai ho(the only hindi song nominated, the other one is in english)

I see bt 40:25 for each of the rahman songs and the other 35 for the wall-e song.

It can also be argued that between peter gabriel song and the (british )MIA song , the voters will choose the indian one, because the bollywood vote ill all go jai ho.

Generic said...

Dear Mr. Tulkinghorn,

I think "Jai Ho" is the song people associate with their love for the movie as a whole, which is quite strong. And since I haven't seen WALL-E I feel comfortable declaring that it can't possibly win.

As ever,

D. Chute

c said...

i have seen wall -e. whats the matter with this chute guy anyway?! the wall-e song might win if we let the british divide and conquer.

GoJoe said...

A wise friend has a rule that any South Indian film with "Police" or "Rowdi" in the title is worth taking a chance on.

Therefore, I find myself intrigued by SUPER POLICE.

I still have the cassette of RANGEELA that Chute gave me in '95.

Thanks again, David.

c said...

ok joe vouches for you, youre ok...chute guy...but remember Im watching your every move.

(biting out every word) not so fast tulking horn.

Christian Lindke said...


I could see Torino for song, and I agree it would be fun. But there is no way, even as much as I enjoyed the film, that I think it is worthy of any nomination other than Best Screenplay.

The story is excellent. The direction is only journeyman-like on the part of Clint. He's done much better.

The acting of the supporting parts was mixed.

Clint himself was a rough caricature of himself, but not enough of a caricature to be truly meta-cognitive. This is no Rooster Cogburn equivalent, nor does it really match John Wayne's reflection on dying performance in THE SHOOTIST. Besides John Wayne got the TRUE GRIT oscar for years of overlooked, and well acted, roles.

The editing was weak and was often "jumpy." One did not feel a natural observer of the events.

But the story...ah, the story. Now that is where the film shines. In many ways it has the same moral message as THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE merged with a little twist on HIGH NOON. One thinks Clint is alone resisting the "evil forces" in the film, only to discover that the town will stand by the hero. Nice twist, and a nice commentary on when and why force is appropriate. The narrative is masterful, the dialogue crisp, and the film a classic. But it's a classic that doesn't quite reach its potential.

GRAN TORINO is more SHANE than PALE RIDER in its quality, though not its structure.

The film was slighted, but only in that the screenplay wasn't acknowledged.

c said...

O.M.G I so totally disagree about the direction and the movie as a whole.

Its real (I can visualize exactly this happenning in some part of the industrial midwest) clint does a great job without overdoing anything...and the tone and casting is perfect.

GT was cheated.

c said...

and the supporting cast!! it was awesome. sply the young hmong girl and her grand mother

Christian Lindke said...

Certainly, the film is realistic. One can visualize this exact thing happening. That is very different from the movie having any verisimilitude. If Clint talked through his teeth any more than he did, with corresponding angry scowl, the film would have become parody. He was approaching SLING BLADE territory.

The young neighbor boy's acting is weak. The sister's acting is very strong. The priest is nice and well acted. The "gangster's" acting is what one would expect. The barber's acting is very good. But in all, a lot seems forced -- in order to make the broader points.

c said...

not one performance seemed forced.

the film is not full of stylized dramatic performances. everyone except clint , the gangsters and the priest look like they are not professional actors. that adds to the charm of the film.

c said...

and it oozes verisimilitude out of every pore.

GoJoe said...

I think it’s a wonderful film but I’m not crying for Mr. Eastwood. He has plenty of Oscars. Besides, TORINO is a work of modest pleasures and modesty is not a quality one typically associates with Oscar Bait. What I personally found impressive was Eastwood’s control over the tone, the balance between humor and tragedy. At those times when the narrative threatens to pander or slip into parody, Eastwood’s direction always seems to strike the right note. I honestly never expected it to be so funny, or, ultimately, touching. The trailer seemed to be selling a different movie and, for once, I liked the one I bought a ticket for even better. No, it’s not THE SHOOTIST but I’m not convinced that’s what it was going for. Okay, the dialogue doesn’t crackle as in TRUE GRIT but it is refreshingly direct. Yeah, Bee Vang is unpolished, though, like Ram, I found this quality endearing and appropriate for the role. “Excuse me, sir. I need a haircut. If you’re not too busy ya old Italian sonofabitch prick barber!” The kid killed that scene. Clint is on top of his game, charismatic as ever. I thought it was a great afternoon out at the movies. I mean, “a classic that doesn’t quite reach it’s potential” sounds solid to me. Don’t be a glass half-empty kinda guy, Christian… ;)

Christian Lindke said...

I think you and I are on the same page Joe. I really enjoyed the film. And the statement you quoted makes it pretty clear that my criticisms are those leveled at a classic which will be viewed again and again with pleasure.

I was more reacting to the "it was robbed" attitude. I don't think it was robbed. After re-watching BILLY ELLIOT today, in the light of the comments I had written about TORINO earlier, I am even more certain in that judgment.

c said...

it was robbed.

Tulkinghorn said...

The only 'robbery', if one can use the word with reference to a prize not worth the winning (Many are the hours I have spent delving into the limitless mysteries of "Million Dollar Baby" or "Shakespeare in Love" to name but two), occurred regarding "WALL*E".

WALL*E is one of those things -- like a Beethoven string quartet or Ensor's Christ Entering into Brussels or even 2666 -- so rich that you can't believe that someone actually made it.

Compare that to Frost/Nixon, the first twenty minutes of which I had already forgotten by the time I got to the half-hour mark....

c said...

If youre saying million dollar baby or shakesphere in love is not worth the brouhaha, I agree completely.

Wall -e is a good "concept film", although it has a goofy message, and ultimately you end up saying all the song and dance is for THIS message?!

I think the difference in our respective perceptions is from what we see cinema as.

you see the medium as an operatic showcase for classical art, I see film as a popular form where new meaning comes from it's emotional connections in a changing dynamic world.

This would also explain why you went into reverse carwheels over rattatouie while I though it was much fuss over a mouse that could cook.

Generic said...

Pauline Kael famously compared the premiere of Last Tango in Paris to the debut of The Rite of Spring.

Years later she was still being ribbed for it.

c said...

pauline kael (ha!) compared the sound of music to the end of civilization as we know it.

years later im still scratching my head.(mary poppins, perhaps...but sound of music?! it's just twilight without the vampires!)

Tulkinghorn said...

The dogs bark but the caravan moves on...

I understand that my thoughts about WALL*E will seem silly in a couple of years.

This week, today:

On First Looking into Chapman's Homer.

Check it out. (And who cares that noone reads -- or can read -- Chapman's translation of the Iliad. There's a mythical headline from the Boston Globe sports section: Sox win on Chapman's Homer.)

c said...

OMG!!!! Tulk!!!!

Sigh.... the man's hopeless.

(nods his heads and walks away slowly, carefully....)

c said...

chute should fire this paleface...

Generic said...

An over-stated comparison is just a fancy way of saying "Wow!" Find something closer to the one above of "Tell No One" with Run Lola Run." Or try some evocative description plus a cogent argument. You know, like a review.

c said...

stop minimizing the tulk. he's full of plums..