Antonio Sanchez – The Anxious Battle for Sanity

Written by Louise Levy

For most people this year, 2020, life has been changed.

In the past, many people went out on a Saturday night, others had a special occasions and others stayed home with their families, friends, partner or all of the above.

These days, on a Saturday night, I watch movies. Movies that I haven’t seen and movies that I have. Movies that are interesting, alternative, spellbinding, and funny movies, something that makes me feel and think.

Plus, I pay more attention to jazz soundtracks (because of my work at Fine Music).

One Saturday night, I watched Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). A movie I first saw at the theatre and have now watched at home. The film won the Academy Award for Best Picture, along with Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Cinematography, from a total of nine nominations. A reason why I wanted to see the movie again.

This time after I watched the movie, I wondered why there was no Academy Award for Best Original Score. The jazz soundtrack was pivotal to the story. The next day, I went looking online and found that “a note from the award committee explaining the decision”, the “rule fifteen of the 87th Academy Award Rules”, noting “the fact that the film also contains over a half an hour of non-original (mostly classical) music…”. To me, that appeared to be a harsh judgment.

I went searching for the composer and found jazz drummer Antonio Sánchez. About the movie he said: “It was a scary proposition because I had no point of reference of how to achieve this. There’s no other movie I know that has a score like this.” Sánchez had also not worked on a film before, nevertheless, after receiving the script, he composed “rhythmic themes” for each of the characters.”

While he didn’t receive an Academy Award for the Best Original Score, Antonio Sanchez did receive nominations for the Golden Globe Award for the Best Original Score, the BAFTA Award for Best Film Music, and other nominations. And he won the Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Score and the Satellite Award for Best Original Score.

If you are interested in understanding why the “Birdman” movie needed a jazz soundtrack, then go to YouTube. There you will find a conversation from Rick Beato (journalist) who interviews Antonio Sanchez – From Drummer to Film Composer (Birdman). At the end of the interview, you will know how creative Antonio Sanchez is and how good a drummer he is also.

Birdman Movie Review
Antonio Sánchez (drummer)


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