Magazine article Variety

Tracking Grammys’ Screen Categories

Magazine article Variety

Tracking Grammys’ Screen Categories

Article excerpt

POWERED BY A selection of carefully curated tunes timed precisely to the action on screen, Edgar Wright's "Baby Driver: Music From the Motion Picture" has raced to the front of Grammys' soundtrack pack, with James Gunn's "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Awesome Mix Vol. 2" trailing by a couple of laps. Both films were written around lead characters that love music, in Wright's case an earbud-obsessed getaway guy, and for Gunn, a Walkman-toting space cadet whose combat style includes dance moves.

"I loved 'Baby Driver,'" says Gunn of his competition. "Edgar and I would text each other making sure we weren't using the same songs."

"Guardians" features a 14-song selection of '70s classics, including Looking Glass' "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)," Cheap Trick's "Surrender" and "The Chain" by Fleetwood Mac.

Wright opted for wall-towall music, telling Variety, "I didn't shoot any scene with song until I knew we cleared it." Ultimately, 30 songs made it into the movie with very specific uses - even down to an establishing shot of records strewn across the floor. "You can see all the albums on the soundtrack - Simon and Garfunkel, Queen, Blur," says the filmmaker.

Well-integrated soundtrack music that helps add depth to the characters is what supervisors are calling "the new musical," and it makes an impression with audiences - and now hopefully Grammy voting members. "It's a powerful tool,"

says Jonathan McHugh of Song Stew Entertainment, whose credits include the "Saw" franchise. "One of the few that seems to actually lead to selling soundtracks," which he calls "an early casualty of the internet," with fans assembling playlists, sometimes before a film is even released. "It's very tough to make the economics of soundtracks work these days. Many companies don't want to be bothered."

There are four Grammy categories for visual media - compilation soundtrack, score soundtrack, song written for visual media and for film - and while commercial performance is not a reliable indicator of who may win, it does illuminate which projects will be nominated. "Guardians Vol. 2" is one of only three soundtracks to pass the RIAA gold plateau (sales of 500,000) this past year. The others are Republic Records' "Fifty Shades Darker" and Walt Disney Records' "Moana." The animated adventure about Hawaiian demigods and has sold more than 1 million units thanks to an irresistible mix of tunes penned by Lin-Manuel Miranda and "Frozen" duo Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. It also features the Oscar-winning song "How Far I'll Go," performed by Alessia Cara - a lock for a Grammy visual song nomination. …

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