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December 2017

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Page 11 of 43 10 POST DECEMBER 2017 OSCAR CONTENDERS OSCAR CONTENDERS omposer Patrick Doyle created the original score as well as the original song for Murder on the Orient Express. The composer has col- laborated with director Kenneth Branagh on more than a dozen films, dating back to 1989's Henry V, as well as on Dead Again, Much Ado About Nothing, Frankenstein and Hamlet. A two-time Oscar nominee, Doyle says Branagh always had Michelle Pfeiffer in mind for the end titles' "Never Forget" track, a light piano piece with string accompaniment. "The song evolved organically," says Doyle. "We never planned to have this particular song at end. A song, if possible, should grow from the story, which this song did." Doyle says he based the melody on a cello piece he had worked on, and that Branagh came up with the song's early verse. Michelle Pfeiffer's Caroline Hubbard character has a pivotal role in the film's plot, so the "Never Forget" track offers time to reflect and do soul searching. "We were not looking for a 'big belter,'" he recalls for the vocals, adding that they needed to sound "true and honest." Doyle created temp tracks and recorded a guide vocal track with a session singer. He then flew to California to record Pfeiffer's vocals. "She's a real pro," says the composer. Pfeiffer was recorded at 25th Street Recordings in Oakland. Doyle then re- turned to London to replace the temp tracks with his piano performance and additional strings. The score was recorded at the Air Lyndhurst Studios and Air-Edel Recording Studios in London. Nick Taylor recorded and mixed the music for the film and mastered the CD. "It's a beautiful piece of work of Patrick's," adds the director, who also stars in the film as detective Hercule Poirot. "I think Patrick did an amazing piece of work with the score and I am very proud of what he's done. People have commented very strongly on the musical element and on the song itself. We'd be very lucky to be considered in that way. I am very pleased that it sprung organically out of the film. It was a challenge and fascinating one to see whether there was a completion to the movie that music and words could offer. This felt like a very natural thing. It came creatively out of it, both the musical theme and the theme inside the lyric itself: the danger, the pain, the necessity and the longing involved in never forgetting those that we lose." BEST ORIGINAL SONG: MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS "NEVER FORGET" C BY MARC LOFTUS ixar Animation Studios' nineteenth animated feature, Coco, takes place during one day and night, a time known in Mexico as Dìa de Muertos, the Day of the Dead. The film cen- ters on 12-year-old Miguel and the fictional town of Santa Cecilia, which was the hometown of the most famous musician in all of Mexico. As Barbara Robertson of Post's sister publication CGW reports, the real world and afterlife are linked via a brilliant- ly-illuminated, magical, marigold petal bridge. "Effects created the bridge, and we built point cloud lights," says Danielle Feinberg, director of photography for lighting. "We could have the light centered around a single petal or have the petal glow; each petal has its own light. We could have an internal glow on the bridge and do bounce light on the characters. When the characters are walking, they can activate the particle lights for the petals anywhere they touch." Feinberg adds that the team went for an "authen- tic Mexico" look with "bleached walls, chipping paint, and streets with fog, but it's a warm place." The film's skeletons break from Pixar's tradition of staying true to materials, with lower jaws that detach, eyes and eyelids, teeth, eyebrows and yarn hair. The film features 80 skeleton characters, each consisting of 127 bones and ranging in texture from 16 different samples. The studio drew upon its Fizt physics tool and senior simulation software engineer David Eberle's continuous collision system to create clothes that wouldn't snag on the skeletons' bones. "People ask me what the technical challenge is for the film," says director Lee Unkrich. "In this film, the challenge was the scale; about how to scale up all the work we had done already. We're at the point where we have figured out how to do anything, it's just a matter of the cost. We need- ed to populate the worlds with a lot of people wearing clothes. In the Land of the Dead, we have millions of light sources, so we had to find proce- dural ways to have those without someone hand placing every light. We grew the towers organical- ly. All those details added up to a lot of work for a lot of people." BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: COCO P The setting represents authentic Mexico. Michelle Pfeiffer performed the vocals. The film features 80 skeletons.

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