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A Minute With: Composer Alexandre Desplat on Oscars, inspiration

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - After coming up six times short, this may be Alexandre Desplat's year to take home an Academy Award.
/ Source: Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - After coming up six times short, this may be Alexandre Desplat's year to take home an Academy Award.

The French film composer has earned two of the five best score nominations for his work on World War Two historical drama "The Imitation Game" and Wes Anderson's pastel-dipped caper-comedy "The Grand Budapest Hotel."

Desplat, 53, spoke Reuters about the Feb. 22 Oscars, how he composes and where inspiration tends to strike.

Q: How is it to have two scores nominated?

A: I wish I had more! It's incredible. It's fantastic. To already have one nomination is a blessing.

Q: Do you have more feelings for one score than the other?

A: I can't. I can't. I can't. They're so different.

If they would be almost identical then maybe I could wonder and think, 'Hmm, they look like twins.' But the two movies are totally different, and the scores are completely from other worlds because of the nature of the story lines.

Q: What's the challenge like when you have to move between a thriller-drama and an idiosyncratic comedy?

A: Composing is to think. It is to have your mind trying to find what is the best sound that the movie is going for: the best melody, the best texture, the best structure and dramaturgic arc for the film.

Then you discuss that with the director. He's the leader. He's the one showing you the path to follow to find the soul of the film.

Q: How do you compose?

A: It can be scribbling on paper. It can be playing on piano, it can be doing a layout and orchestration on an eight-track demo. It can be all these things together. Sometimes it's on my Vespa. Sometimes it's when I sleep, and I wake up and I take notes. It's everywhere. When you compose, it's like writing. You're like a writer. You just think all the time.

Q: Was composing for "The Grand Budapest Hotel" much different from your two earlier scores for Anderson?

A: I think the tone is kind of the same. The three films we've done together are a mix of melancholy and an elegant sense of humor.

Q: Finally, are you hoping your two scores finish in a tie for the Oscar?

A: So you mean I could win two Oscars? That would be a first!

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)