The soundtracks of Oscar-winning films of the decade: 1980


Since its first televised event in 1953, the glitz and glamor of the Oscars has long captured the attention of the public. Throughout its long history, the event has been hosted and attended by a long list of Hollywood’s most famous faces, coming together to celebrate the film industry’s greatest talents.

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Over the years, film music has been recognized in the form of the “Oscar for Best Original Score”. The prestigious trophy has been accepted by some of the most instantly recognizable composers still working today, such as titans of music Hans Zimmer and John Williams…as well as a few composers only the most discerning moviegoers will remember.


1980 – A little love (Georges Delerue)

Director by George Roy Hill A bit of romance is a sweet and endearing story of love between teenagers set in 1970s Paris. After Lauren King (Diane Lane) an American teenager when she met Daniel Michon (Thelonious Bernard) a young French film buff on a film set. As they fall in love, pressure mounts against them from their adult guardians.

Written by an artist of French origin Georges Delerue, the music certainly carries a particularly innocent and endearing feeling that places you right in the French setting of the films. Delerue was known for his preference for this approach to film scoring, emphasizing feel and atmosphere as opposed to producing hit theme songs. After A bit of romance Delerue will then write the famous music of Section. His clearly popular score beat out the other nominees Lalo Schifrin and jerry goldsmith now classic soundtracks for The Amityville Horrorand Star Trek – The Movie.

1981 – Fame (Michael Gore)

The timeless and hard-hitting 1980 musical Notoriety follows a group of ambitious young adults as they audition for a coveted spot at New York High School of Performing Arts. Tackling issues such as, but not limited to, homosexuality, abortion, suicide attempts and illiteracy packs a punch while the classic soundtrack continues to hold its own of a kind of grease flash.

Not her only Oscar win for the night, Michel Gore also won Best Original Song for his work on Notoriety. Fame winning this year is understandably controversial given the legacy of the films he won against this year. Mainly John Williams’ epic soundtrack for The Empire Strikes Backwhich includes the famous Imperial March and John Morris’ score for The Elephant Man.

1982 – Chariots of Fire (Vangelis)

A story of defying the odds and seeing your own goals through to the end. chariots of fire tells the triumphant true story of two British runners as they fight for glory at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris. Realized by Hugues Hudson the film also won the Oscar for Best Picture and the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

The name Vangelis ring a bell? Well it should. His compositions forblade runnerremain an electronic masterclass and his work on chariots of fire has a long-standing legacy of its own. Not only did he beat John Williams’ score for The Raiders of the Lost Ark, but chariots of fire remains prominent in popular culture today, appearing in countless other films and parodies. The title track is truly iconic and has earned over 16 million plays on Spotify.

by Steven Spielberg ultimate 80s movie, AND the extra-terrestrial took the world by storm when it was theatrically released on December 9, 1982. Featuring outstanding performances from a very young Henry Thomas and Drew Barrymore, audiences were moved to tears by the touching story of Elliott and his adorable alien friend. Quickly becoming the highest-grossing film of the decade, HEY continues to leave its mark on pop culture today.

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Another victory for John Williams! After being nominated the previous two years in vain, the star wars andIndianaJones composer won his fourth Oscar. By this point in his career, he had already won Oscars for his work on star wars, Jaws, fiddler on the roof and certainly had many more wins to look forward to in the future.

1984 – The Good Things (Bill Conti)

Director Philip Kauffman’s three-hour adaptation of the novel of the same name. The good thing covers the US Army’s post-war research with experimental rocket-powered aircraft and documents the stories of the first Project Mercury astronauts selected for NASA’s space program. With endearing performances from Sam Shepard and Denis Quadthe film was also nominated for Best Picture.

After his pioneering work with Sylvester Stallone on the first three Rocky films made him a platinum-selling artist, Bill Contiwas a highly sought-after talent and was hired for the project. Conti’s work on The good thing earned him his first Oscar after two previous nominations. Win against John Williams score for Return of the Jediand the popular Terms of endearmentby Michael Gore. The following year he would work on The Karate Kidanother famous trilogy that will bear his name.

1985 – A Passage to India (Maurice Jarre)

visionary director David Leanbest known for Lawrence of Arabia ended his directing career on a high note with 1984 A passage to India. Set in the final years of Britain’s hold over the British colonies, the film centers on the changing dynamic between British settlers and native Indians. Focused primarily on the doomed friendship between an Indian doctor, an Englishwoman engaged to a city magistrate, and an English educator.

With an incredible career in the industry spanning from the early 60s to the early 2000s, audiences listened Maurice Jarres arrangements for decades. Having already won the prize in 1962 for Lawrence of Arabia and in 1965 for Doctor Zhivago, Jarre and Lean have proven themselves to be a movie and music production powerhouse. Beating his compatriot named John Williams who had not one, but two nominations this year for Riverand IndianaJonesand the cursed temple.

1986 – Out of Africa (John Barry)

With outstanding performance of Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, Outside of Africa contains one of the cinemas of great epic novels. As the aristocratic wife of a plantation owner in Africa learns of her husband’s infidelity, she begins to fall in love with a big game hunter. Her simple but charming lifestyle and outlook on life pushes her to choose between love and self-development.

Facing the winner of previous years Maurice Jarre for Witness, by John Barry award-winning work on Outside of Africa awarded it its 3rd Oscar for Best Soundtrack. Winning in the past for born freeand The lion in the water.

1987 – ‘Round Midnight (Herbie Hancock)

As a man named Dale Turner, played by a real-life jazz legend Dexter Gordon, Struggling with alcoholism in the New York jazz scene of the 1950s, he was offered the opportunity to play his music in Paris. Turner envisions a new life, a life where he can escape prejudice and his own demons. Made by a French artist Bertrand Tavernier, ‘Around midnight remains a love letter to the world of jazz.

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While jazz fans certainly rejoiced at such a prestigious nod from the academy, the decision was nonetheless hampered by accusations of musical injustice. Most of the criticism coming from those who believed that Ennio Morricone score for The mission deserved the coveted prize.

1988 – The Last Emperor (Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Byrne, Cong Su)Film composers posing after their Oscars

the last emperor tells the story of the last emperor of China Pu-Yi, who once captured by the Red Army in the 1950s as a war criminal, chronicles his life from a prison cell. Visually stunning, director Bernardo Bertolucci offers an epic behind-the-curtain look at a lost world.

With nine pieces composed by Ryuichi Sakamoto, five by David Byrnea die CongSu, and some incidental pieces of source music, the prize was awarded to the three composers. Take the cake against Ennio Morricones The Incorruptibles and John Williams two nominations for The Witches of Eastwick and Empire of the Sun.

1989 – Milagro Beanfield’s War (Dave Grusin)

When the small town of Milagro, Mexico becomes the desired location for an upscale resort, local farmers engage in a water rights war against greedy developers. While director Robert Redford film seems to have conquered the critics in 1988, it unfortunately did not stand the test of time, being mostly forgotten by the general public.

So, to an almost forgotten film, follows an almost forgotten soundtrack. Remaining the most recent Oscar-winning score still without a dedicated soundtrack release, it is perhaps the prize’s most obscure winner. Controversially beating John Williams’ score for The accidental touristand even Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack for rain man.

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