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Why Blanchard could (and should) get Oscar nod

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Monday January 14, 2019

From The Los Angeles Times

Why the ‘BlacKkKlansman’ score could (and should) earn Terence Blanchard his first Oscar nod
By: Mikael Wood

[…] As crucial as his contributions to Lee’s movies are ‘” emotionally, they’re up there with the director’s famous dolly shot ‘” Blanchard has never won an Academy Award for original score. In fact, he’s never even been nominated, which feels almost as crazy as the fact that Lee has never received a nod in the director category.

Blanchard, 56, is philosophical about the lack of recognition.

‘You never miss something you never had,’ he said with a laugh over the phone this week from New York, where he had a gig as part of Winter Jazzfest with his group, E-Collective. But I’m less understanding. Blanchard’s having been overlooked for more than two decades is downright inexcusable.

With its inventive use of electric guitar and its knowing echoes of American military music ‘” particularly effective in a scene Lee borrows from ‘Gone With the Wind’ ‘” Blanchard’s score stands up easily next to the year’s other most interesting movie music, including Ludwig Göransson’s from ‘Black Panther’ and Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow’s from ‘Annihilation.’

[…] According to Blanchard, the ‘overall thing’ of Lee’s movies is ‘how we need to come together as people,’ and his music is meant to help us along toward that realization.

Of the guitar, which plays a prominent role throughout the movie, the composer said it came from hearing blues bands in New Orleans and playing in pop bands in the ’70s. But he also was drawn to the instrument to give ‘a sense of strength’ to the main character, Ron Stallworth (played by John David Washington), who becomes the first black man to join the Colorado Springs Police Department.

‘Remember when Jimi Hendrix played the national anthem at Woodstock?’ Blanchard asked. ‘Come on, bro ‘” that’s one of the most beautiful moments in musical history! For me, it’s like an African American dude screaming, ‘Yo, our people fought and died for this country just like everybody else.’‘

I don’t think it’s too dramatic to say that Blanchard’s music for ‘BlacKkKlansman’ strikes a similar note regarding the need to open up ideas of greatness in Hollywood.

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