LA-based writer Adam Baer argues in a piece for The Atlantic that the film academy should follow the lead of the Grammys and begin to honor the art of the movie soundtrack.
Every year, music supervisors and the directors, editors, and producers they collaborate with, go unheralded as they assemble increasingly artful collections of songs and other kinds of music tracks to complement films. These tracks and lists often function to tell a movie's story, act as characters or arcs in their own rights, and mix well with a film composer's original music, whether or not it's a symphonic score or deconstructed sound-collage made of incidental chord progressions, loops, and electronic beats. Of course, we also have historic original soundtracks made of songs from the same artist—for instance, The Graduate, which could not have happened without Simon & Garfunkle, as well as recent movies with complete soundtracks of music by Daft Punk and Phoenix, among others.
This year's notable "soundtracks"—that is, the musical sounds we hear in a film, not just the songs cleared to be included as part of an album for sale—vary widely. For one, there's The Descendants (music supervisor, Dondi Bastone), the soundtrack of which blends various "slack-key" artists from Hawaii. Also notable is Midnight in Paris, which seems, unsurprisingly, to have been musically supervised by Woody Allen himself, who matched Josephine Baker and Sidney Bechet with the recurring original guitar track "Bistro Fada" that liltingly sends us along back in time with his protagonist back to the 1920s Ile St Louis.
The art is in the curated mix, something which has to date been ignored by Oscar, as well as in how the collection functions as independent parts in specific scenes.
How about a little midnight "Descendants" with the legendary Gabby Pahinui.