Film has always been a big part of my life. My grandmother likes the brag that she took me to my first movie ever and from there, she started my adventure into film. She introduced me to Hitchcock, Jimmy Stewart, and most importantly, Cary Grant. We watched them all. Every weekend, a different film. Some Like It Hot, Rear Window, Casablanca, The Shop Around The Corner, The Sound of Music. I fell in love with the classic black & white look, the classy women, and the fast talking, hopeless romantic atmosphere of that world.
From there, my dad began showing me his favorite films. As a fellow cinephile himself, he’d also seen all the classics, but decided to show me the films he watched growing up like Ferris Bueller, Sixteen Candles, Uncle Buck, and so many more.
You can imagine my excitement when the Oscars come around. As my father and I work in the industry, we receive all the films by mail in order to vote on which we believe should be nominated. We binge them as a family or sometimes separately but we’re always eager to see the films we’ve waited for all year.
A few years ago, I started hosting my own Oscars Viewing Party which consisted of a candy and popcorn bar as well as games and photo booth accessories. Some people critique the Oscars for being too self-involved and too elitist but I truly adore the Oscars no matter what anyone says. I love seeing what the celebrities wear, the jokes they make, and cheering on my favorites.
In honor of the 2019 Oscars, I was excited to get to choose a song from one of the nominated films. I was TORN, and I mean TORN, between two songs: A Queen song to honor Rami Malek’s win for Best Actor, and Bohemian Rhapsody's awards in Best Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, & Film Editing (I mean it won four out of the five categories it was nominated for) or a score song from the Black Panther. While Another One Bites The Dust would fit the strut playlist best, Black Panther did win best score. So I decided to post…both. You’re welcome. This week’s tracks are Another One Bites The Dust by Queen in honor of Bohemian Rhapsody and Killmonger by Ludwig Goransson to honor the masterpiece that is the Black Panther score.
Black Panther was a box office sensation, earning $1.34 billion. It set records while also giving Ryan Coogler the title of highest-grossing black director. The film is the perfect mix of classic and modern for a film that discusses the struggle of one world and one history torn into two. An important message says the need to recognize the past and current issues with racism shouldn’t mean turning into the monster that created it; hate. Additionally, you get an amazing cast. Specifically, Letitia Wright who cannot go unnoticed as not only a gorgeous actress but one with so much charm that her character, Shuri, should get her own film.
Ludwig wrote a score that so perfectly captured the film. He mixes traditional African musical sounds with today’s hip-hop beats creating a beautiful medley that represents the theme of the film. Killmonger is a good example and has a good beat to strut to, but definitely check out the song Wakanda on the score for another idea of this amazing mix of cultures. As an admirer of movie scores and someone who hopes to make scores and soundtracks for films one day, this score definitely makes me swoon.
As for Bohemian Rhapsody, it got a lot of negative reviews pretty early. Many critics said it was just a reenactment of his Wikipedia page, that it wasn’t special and just tried to cram too much into too little time. But isn’t that what all movies have to do? Especially bio-pics? For me, as part of a generation that did not grow up with Queen, I didn’t know much about the band or Freddie Mercury to be honest. As soon as I learned he had a room for each of his cats, I immediately fell in love. To not know much about Queen actually enhanced my experience. I was emotionally invested and found Malek’s portrayal to be beautiful and endearing. He definitely earned the win.
As for Queen, I never understood their music until the film. I found We Will Rock You to be annoying and loud, until I found out that it was a song used to involve the audience in concerts. Bohemian Rhapsody was a mess of sounds until I understood who Mercury was. Now, I have a great deal of respect and can understand why others do, too. Another One Bites The Dust is a clear choice to not only honor the best day of the year for cinephiles but also the strut playlist. The song talks about someone walking down the street, wronged by love, ready to tear the world apart in heartbreak and anger.
Only 364 days until the next Oscars and even less until the good movies start coming out again.
You can learn more about Ludwig Goransson here:
You can learn more about Queen here:
About The Curator - Lili Gelfand
A born and raised New Yorker, Lili Gelfand grew up watching old movies with her father, a producer, director, and writer for film and television. Growing up, Lili got to experience set life constantly. Her admiration and love for the art deepened as she studied Film Production in Boston at Emerson College.
After graduating, she followed in her father’s footsteps by beginning a freelance career in the entertainment industry. Lili has worked as a writer’s assistant, wardrobe/stylist assistant, script coordinator, and associate producer for Bravo, Comedy Central, and BET.
Lili’s passion is music in film. She plays the piano and the ukulele and constantly listens to movie scores and soundtracks. Other passions include babysitting, decorating her apartment, and playing the Sims.