The Oscar-winning film scores of the decade: 1980


Ever since it was first televised in 1953, the glitz and glamor of the Oscars has long captured the public’s attention. Throughout its long history, the event has been hosted and attended by a long list of Hollywood’s most famous faces, who have gathered to celebrate the greatest talent the film industry has to offer.

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Music in film has been recognized over the years in the form of the Academy Award for Best Original Score. The prestigious trophy was awarded by some of the most well-known composers still working today, such as B. music titans Hans Zimmer and John Williams… Aside from a few composers, only the most accomplished film geeks will remember it.


1980 – A Little Romance (Georges Delerue)

director George Roy Hills A little romance is a sweet and endearing story of teenage love set in 1970s Paris. After Lauren King (Diana Lane) an American teenager when she was Daniel Michon (Thelonius Bernard) a young French film fan on a film set. As they fall in love, pressure from their adult guardians builds against them.

Played by a French-born artist George Delerue, the music certainly conveys a particularly innocent and endearing feel that transports you right into the French setting of the film. Delerue was known for his penchant for this approach to film scoring, emphasizing the feel and atmosphere as opposed to churning out hit theme songs. To A little romance Delerue would later write the famous music for train. His score, clearly popular, beat out other nominees Lalo Schifrin and Jerry Goldsmiths now classic soundtracks for The Amityville Horrorand Star Trek – The Movie.

1981 – Fame (Michael Gore)

The timeless and hard-hitting musical from 1980 Fame follows a group of ambitious young adults as they audition for a coveted spot at the New York High School of Performing Arts. Tackling themes of homosexuality, abortion, attempted suicide, and illiteracy makes it a gut-punch, while the classic soundtrack continues to hold on to a kind of grease-flash.

Not his only Oscar win for the night, Michael Gore also took home the award for Best Original Song for his work on Fame. fame is Winning this year is understandably controversial given the legacy of the films it won against this year. Especially the epic soundtrack written by John Williams for The Empire Strikes Backincluding the famous ones Imperial March and John Morris’ score for The elephant man.

1982 – Chariot of Fire (Vangelis)

A story about defying the odds and pursuing your goals to the end. Chariot of Fire tells the triumphant true story of two British runners striving for glory at the 1924 Paris Olympics. Directed by Hugh Hudson The film also won the Academy Award for Best Picture and the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Film.

The name vangelis ring a bell? Well it should. His compositions forBladerunnerremain an electronic master class and his work on Chariot of Fire has its own long-standing legacy. It didn’t just beat John Williams’ score Hunter of the lost treasure, but Chariot of Fire remains prominent in popular culture to this day, appearing in countless other films and parodies. The title track is truly iconic and has earned over 16 million plays on Spotify.

Steven Spielberg’s ultimate movie of the 80s, ET the extraterrestrial took the world by storm when it hit theaters on December 9, 1982. With groundbreaking performances from a very young age Henry Thomas and Drew Barrymore, audiences were brought to tears by the touching story of Elliott and his lovable alien friend. It quickly became the highest-grossing film of the decade, ET continues to shape pop culture to this day.

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Another win for John Williams! After being nominated for the previous two years without success war of stars andIndiana Jones Composer took home his fourth Oscar. By this point in his career, he had already taken home Oscars for his work War of stars, Jaw, violinist on the roof and certainly had many more victories to look forward to in the future.

1984 – The Right Stuff (Bill Conti)

director Philip merchants three-hour adaptation of the novel of the same name. The right stuff covers the US military’s post-war research into experimental rocket-powered aircraft and documents the stories of the first Project Mercury astronauts selected for NASA’s space program. Featuring endearing performances by artists such as Sam Shepard and Dennis Quadthe film was also nominated for Best Picture.

After his groundbreaking work with Sylvester Stallone on the first three Rocky Movies made him a platinum-selling artist, Bill Contiwas a sought-after talent and was signed for the project. Conti continues to work The right stuff earned him his first Oscar after two previous nominations. Win against John Williams’ score for Return of the Jediand the popular tenderness conditionsby Michael Gore. He would continue to work for the next year The Karate Kidanother famous trilogy that would bear his name.

1985 – A Passage to India (Maurice Jarre)

Visionary director David Leanbest known for Lawrence of Arabia ended his directing career on a high in 1984 A passage to India. Set in the final years of British rule over the British colonies, the film focuses on the changing dynamic between the British colonizers and the native Indians. Mainly focuses on the doomed friendship between an Indian doctor, an English woman engaged to a magistrate and an English educator.

With an incredible career in the industry spanning from the early ’60s through the early 2000s, audiences have been listening Maurice Jarre arrangements for decades. After winning the award in 1962 for Lawrence of Arabia and 1965 for Doctor Zhivago, Jarre and Lean proved to be a film and music powerhouse. Beat fellow nominee John Williams, who had not one but two nominations this year The riverand Indiana Jonesand the Temple of Death.

1986 – Out of Africa (John Barry)

With outstanding achievements Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, Far away from Africa contains one of cinema’s great epic romances. When the aristocratic wife of a plantation owner in Africa learns of her husband’s infidelity, she begins to fall in love with a big game hunter. Whose simple but charming lifestyle and outlook on life makes them choose between love and personal growth.

Compete against last year’s winner Maurice Jarre witness, John Barrys award-winning work Far away from Africa awarded it its 3rd Academy Award for Best Original Soundtrack. wins in the past for Born freeand The lion in the water.

1987 – “Around Midnight (Herbie Hancock)

As a man named Dale Turner, portrayed by a true jazz legend Dexter Gordon, Struggling with alcoholism in the New York jazz scene of the 1950s, he is offered the opportunity to perform his music in Paris. Turner seeks a new life where he can escape prejudice and his own demons. The French artist directed it Bertrand Tavernier, ‘Around midnight remains a declaration of love to the jazz world.

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While jazz fans rejoiced at such a prestigious nod from the academy, the decision was nonetheless complicated with allegations of musical injustice. Most of the criticism comes from those who believed this Ennio Morricones score for The mission deserves the coveted award.

1988 – The Last Emperor (Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Byrne, Cong Su)The film composers pose after winning the Oscar

The Last Emperor tells the story of China’s last emperor Pu Yi, who was once captured as a war criminal by the Red Army in the 1950s, tells the story of his life from a prison cell. Visually stunning, director Bernard Bertolucci delivers an epic behind-the-scenes look at a lost world.

With nine pieces composed by Ryuichi Sakamoto, five of David Byrnone of Kong Su, and some incidental pieces of source music, the prize was awarded to the three composers. Hitting the cake against Ennio Morricones The Untouchables and John Williams two nominations for The Witches of Eastwick and Empire of the Sun.

1989 – The Milagro Beanfield War (Dave Grusin)

When the small town of Milagro, Mexico becomes the desired location for a premium resort, local farmers engage in a water rights war against greedy developers. while director Robert Redfords The film appears to have won over critics in 1988, but unfortunately it hasn’t stood the test of time and has largely been forgotten by the general public.

So a mostly forgotten film is followed by a mostly forgotten soundtrack. It remains the youngest Oscar-winning score yet to have its own soundtrack release, and is perhaps the award’s most obscure winner. Controversial beating of John Williams score for The random touristand even Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack for rainman.

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