The 88th Academy Awards are this weekend, so get ready for #OscarsSoWhite controversy and Leonardo DiCaprio to finally take home a Best Actor award just because he ate some bison liver. Want more drama? How about John Williams in the mix with his 50th Oscar nomination, for the score for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And yes, you read that right: 5-0.
Ahead of the ceremony, Lucasfilm and the official Star Wars YouTube page have dropped a new featurette that shows how the master works behind the scenes developing and conducting the score with the London Symphony Orchestra.
Williams explains he wanted to include thematic references to the characters and scores from earlier movies, making clear he and director J.J. Abrams didn’t want to forget about Luke, Han, and Leia. But he also dives into the challenges of creating original themes for important new characters like Rey and Kylo Ren.
“Rey — her theme has a musical grammar that is not heroic in a sense of a hero’s theme,” Williams says of actress Daisy Ridley’s character. “It’s kind of an adventure theme that maybe promises more than resolving itself in the most major triumphant resolutions.”
Yep, sounds about right for the brand new lead of the entire new trilogy.
As for the evil, Vader-like Kylo Ren, Williams says, “I approached the task of Kylo Ren really just as an extension of Darth Vader, in a way,” and continues by explaining, “I didn’t want to get too close to it, but if it could convey in a few short notes as ‘The Imperial March’ does this evil power, strength, threat, it needs to be something that will hit you and be accessible right away.”
Williams is nominated for Best Original Score against Thomas Newman for Bridge of Spies, Carter Burwell for Carol, Ennio Morricone for The Hateful Eight, and Jóhann Jóhannsson for Sicario. He’s already taken home the statue five times previously — a hell of a haul, but only a 10th of his nominations. Tune in Sunday, February 28, 2016 to see if Williams can go 6-for-50.