Carter Burwell on composing ‘three themes’ in score for Oscar contender ‘Carol’ (Exclusive Podcast)

It’s surprising to learn that veteran composer Carter Burwell has never been nominated for an Oscar, despite creating memorable scores for most of the Coen brothers movies (from “Blood Simple” in 1984 to “Inside Llewyn Davis” last year) as well as those of Spike Jonze (“Being John Malkvoich,” “Adaptation”) and Bill Condon (“Twilight” franchise,” “The Fifth Estate”). However, his work on Todd Haynes’ period drama “Carol” starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara could right that wrong. In our exclusive audio interview (listen below), Burwell spoke candidly about his work with Haynes on this Oscar contender. 

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“The film is a romance, and one way of looking at the film is that it very carefully dissects the steps of two people falling in love,” explains Burwell. “At the beginning of the movie, they meet, and there are various challenges along the way. So that’s one way of looking at the film; there are, of course, other themes too but I felt that was really the most important thing musically.”

From there, Burwell began to work on the various musical themes of the film. “Of course, you don’t want 10 different themes,” he says, “because that obviates the point of having themes. You want a theme to be something that can develop over the course of the film. So in the end, there are three.”

Burwell received a Golden Globe nomination for his work on Jonze’s “Where the Wild Things Are” (2009). He won an Emmy for his score to Haynes’ “Mildred Pierce” (2011), and was nominated for his Main Title Theme to that miniseries as well.

Will an Oscar be next?

Burwell sits in third place on our prediction chart for Best Score with odds of 7/1 to win, behind Oscar champs John Williams for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (12/5) and Michael Giacchino for “Inside Out” (6/1). 

Check out our full interview below for more about his work on “Carol” and then make your Oscar predictions for Best Score using our easy drag-and-drop menu.

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Photo Credit: The Weinstein Company

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