The two best performances among the five Best Supporting Actress nominees — obviously, hands down, no question — have come from The Banshees of Inisherin‘s Kerry Condon and The Whale‘s Hong Chau. If either one were to win, I’d know in my mind and my heart that the right thing was done.
But neither are fated to win, apparently. Angela Bassett‘s Wakanda Forever turn as Queen Ramonda has it in the bag, we’re told…not because she delivered a richer, fuller, finer performance, but because the word has gone out that it’s time for Bassett to receive a career tribute, partly because she’s in her mid 60s.
I can only tell you that I found her performance tedious, wearying and even painful at times, as I did the film itself. She barks her lines and glares daggers at everyone so they’ll understand her grief over the death of her son, T’Challa (the late Chadwick Boseman). I know for a fact that many others felt similarly challenged when they sat through (or tried to sit through) Wakanda Forever. And it doesn’t matter.
I’d honestly forgotten that legendary movie composer, conductor and multi-Oscar-winner Alfred Newman composed the 20th Century Fox fanfare theme, and then expanded it by a few bars when CinemaScope came along in ’53. You’d think I’d know this cold, but whatever.
Newman’s scores won nine Oscars, but there are relatively few (Gunga Din, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Wuthering Heights, Foreign Correspondent, The Snake Pit, Twelve O’Clock High, Anastasia, the musical ornamentation of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel) that have really reached inside and moved me.
As for Newman’s overture sequence for How To Marry A Milionaire (a reboot of his 1946 “Street Scene” music), it’s fair to observe that he borrowed heavily from George Gershwin. The overture sequence seems strange by today’s standards, especially for a prelude to a middle-range comedy about gold-diggers. But he was quite the composer-maestro, and served as 20th Century Fox’s music honcho for 20 years.
Alfred Newman was the godfather of the Newman musical family — brother of Lionel and Emil, uncle of pop troubador-poet Randy, father of composers David and Thomas Newman.
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