PGCMAs: Best Musical Performance and Best Score (2014)

Posted: February 6, 2015 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs

Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson PGCMA 2014*The above image represents 2013’s PGCMA Best Director and Best Picture winner; Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave.

Best Musical Performance

This a new award where I honour performances of songs by the characters on film. These can be covers, or original works. It’s worth noting that I’m more focused on the role of each performance in the film more than the musical integrity itself.

“Caravan”, Whiplash: This is a climactic moment of Whiplash, where Andrew really unleashes his talents as a drummer. We see glimmers of this throughout the film, but this is the first time we really see him cut loose. The scene is blisteringly well-edited and a poignant moment between Andrew and his instructor Fletcher.

“Firework”, The Interview: Katy Perry’s “Firework” is a stupid song, but it is used to good comedic effect three times in The Interview. My favourite moment was during the titular interview when Dave Skylark sings this to show Kim Jong-un’s true colours.

“I Love You All”, Frank: I have issues with the third act of Frank, but this moment is pretty powerful in isolation, as we see Frank sing a simple song about how much you loves his bandmates. Michael Fassbender doesn’t strike me as an exceptional singer, but he performs the song with a lot of emotion and it makes for a surprisingly effective scene.

“Like a Fool”, Begin Again: There is a lot of beautiful music in Begin Again, and in all honesty damn near every song was considered a nomination. However this point hit me the hardest. The scene occurs a few days after Gretta had been dumped by her singer boyfriend and decides to record this song on his answering machine. The lyrics, which are about how Gretta has lived her boyfriend in spite of his behaviour could have been hackneyed, but the lyrics are modest and Keira Knightely nails the scene.

“Ooh Child”, Guardians of the Galaxy: One of the most surprising moments in Guardians is when the evil villain’s meglomaniacal rant was interrupted by Starlord challenging him to a dance off while singing this. It’s a fun moment and Chris Pratt’s delivery is great.

And the winner is…





If I hadn’t introduced this award, I probably would have nominated this scene for Best Set-Piece. It’s an exhilarating few minutes of cinema which is extremely well-crafted and features some great work from both Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons.

Best Score

Mica Levi, Under the Skin: Under the Skin’s score, like the film itself, is sinister, unnerving, and mysterious. It perfectly matches the tone of the film and goes a long way in giving the film its horrific tone. It’s no surprise Jonathan Glazer used to direct music videos because he really knows how to fuse music and imagery.

Clint Mansell, Noah: Clint Mansell and Darren Aronofsky have done some great work together, and while this doesn’t live up to something like Requiem for a Dream or The Fountain, but this is a suitably epic and rousing score which does capture Mansell’s identity to a certain extent.

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, Gone Girl: David Fincher has said his inspiration for the score came from a spa he visited and how the supposedly calming music unnerved him very much. This certainly comes through strong. Reznor and Ross’ work has a veneer of calm, but you can feel an undercurrent of dread and despair and a lot of the film’s best moments are made that much better by the music.

Antonio Sánchez, Birdman: Of all the scores nominated, this is the only one I could see people hating. The decision to use an all percussive score is certainly a bold one, but it really works wonders here. I really like the uniqueness of the sound and for some reason it just seems like a perfect decision.

Hans Zimmer, Interstellar: Epic space films tend to sound a certain way. Epic, lofty, adventurous; these are the types of sounds an audience expects. Zimmer’s work has this, but also a dreadful intensity that can be totally dominating. This certainly fits the tone of a film about the potential end of humanity, and the score also really amplified the film. The epic docking scene for example wouldn’t be half as good with lesser music.

And the winner is…




Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, Gone Girlgone girl

The shock value of Reznor and Ross’ music that was present in The Social Network may be absent at this point, but I still love the pair’s style. Their score in Gone Girl both perfectly blends with the rest of the film’s style while simultaneously making the film noticeably better. On top of that, I’ve listened to the score all the way through several times since seeing the film and I never tire of it. It’s awesome.

  1. ianthecool says:

    I found Gone Girl’s score too derivative of Social Network.

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