'Philomena' Composer Alexandre Desplat on Judi Dench's Theme (Video)

4:31 PM PST 01/07/2014 by Tim Appelo

Already nominated for multiple Golden Globes, the film's music could be an Oscar contender as well.

Composer Alexandre Desplat, who's earned five Academy Award nominations since 2006, starting with his first for Stephen Frears' film The Queen, could be an Oscar front-runner once more, thanks to the film Philomena.

Already nominated for multiple Golden Globes, including best drama, and with actress Judi Dench and an adapted screenplay by costar Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, Desplat's key theme is for Dench's character, a mother seeking, after half a century, the child who was taken from her. The character is first heard from in the opening scenes, when Philomena succumbs to the charms of the young man at a carnival who impregnates her.

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The music on the fairground calliope echoes throughout the film in different forms and moods. "This melody that I wrote is very light and gentle," says Desplat in a new video interview. "It's not heavy, it's not over-romantic or dark because her character is not dark. The situation is dark, what she went through is dark, but she is not a dark person."

Coogan likes Desplat's scores because, he says, "They don't spoon-feed the audience." Desplat adds: "The music does not have to push into the comedy. It actually takes another color when there are laughs, but when there's something dark it takes the color of the darkness. It's a melody that allows both emotions, and that was the challenge."

The composer shares a bit about his scoring process and how he chose his haunting music for Frears' drama in the clip above.

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