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Hollywood music makers set to score big at Oscars

Foster and Sager
Foster, left, and Bayer Sager
Listen to music from:

"The Thin Red Line": 166K WAV file
(Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox)

"The Prince of Egypt": 279K WAV file
(Courtesy DreamWorks Pictures)

"Quest for Camelot": 99K WAV file
(Courtesy Warner Bros.)

Web posted on:
Thursday, March 11, 1999 4:29:26 PM EST

From Dennis Michael
CNN Showbiz Today Correspondent

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Costumes, sets and cinematography all play vital roles along with the actors in creating the mood of a film. But the final flourish is the music.

"Trust me, if you're working on a $70 million movie and you're the last guy, you feel all that weight on your shoulders," said Hans Zimmer, who is up for Oscar nominations for scoring both "The Prince of Egypt" and "The Thin Red Line."

The pressure is especially intense, Zimmer said, "when (producers) are going, 'This scene really doesn't work and we need some help here,' and you realize what they're saying is you can make or break this movie."

Stamina is key, said Randy Newman, Oscar-nominated for the scores of "Pleasantville" and "A Bug's Life" and a song from "Babe: Pig in the City."

"You'll be working all day and you'll have finished 12 seconds, but you get into it and you try not to look up," said Newman, who comes from a family of film composers.


Visit our Academy Awards special section!

The hard work pays off for the few composers who take the spotlight on Oscar night.

An Academy Award nomination for the song "The Prayer" in "Quest for Camelot" was particularly poignant for its writers, David Foster and Carole Bayer Sager, as they had to fight to keep the producers of the film from cutting it.

"They loved it, they just thought it slowed down the action," Bayer Sager said. "We were just relentless, saying, 'Please, please. It's an emotion.'"

Review: 'Babe: Pig in the City' as tasty as the first
December 1, 1998
DreamWorks belts Bible with three 'Prince of Egypt' soundtracks
November 24, 1998
Review: 'The Thin Red Line' a beautiful bomb
December 30, 1998

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Official 71st Academy Awards Web site
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