Movie Music Update: Up In The Air Song Might Not Qualify For Oscar, Smith Wants Beverly Hills Cop Composer For Couple Of Dicks, And James Horner's Avatar Score Is EPIC

Over the past few days, the internet has been flooded with interesting tidbits about the movie soundtracks and scores for some major upcoming releases. After the jump, hear about what's going on with the title song for Up in the Air, who might score Kevin Smith's Couple of Dicks, and exactly how epic James Horner's Avatar score is supposed to be.

First up, a fascinating peak into the bowels of the Academy's archaic and complex nomination rules: According to Steve Pond over at The Wrap, Jason Reitman's Up in the Air features a song that plays over the end credits entitled "Up in the Air." That song was written years ago by a man named Kevin Renick, a St. Louis musician who, after a Q&A, handed Reitman a cassette with the song on it. Reitman liked the song so much that he put it into his film, and while this sort of fortuitousness might  be the type of thing you think Oscar dreams are made of, Oscar nomination rules require that a song be written specifically for a film in order to qualify. It also has to be the first cue played during the end credits (WTF?), another rule that removes Renick's song from the running.

Those of you who follow this topic might remember a similar scenario took place in early 2008, when the songs from Once were going to be removed from Academy consideration. The issue in that case was that the song "Falling Slowly" appeared on two separate albums before the actual release of the film, making it difficult to convince the Academy that the song was written specifically for the film. However, using "written assurances and detailed chronologies" provided by interested parties, they concluded that "Mr. Hansard and his collaborator Marketa Irglova played the song in some venues that were deemed inconsequential enough to not change the song's eligibility," and eventually reversed their decision on that film. Of course, Once ended up winning the Oscar for best song.

If I had to guess, I'd say this situation is probably a harder sell than Once; I would have a very hard time believing that Renick knew about the movie before he even met Reitman, and even at that point, Up in the Air may not have been any more than a gleam in Reitman's eye. Nonetheless, those who are interested in Renick's song will be able to get a copy when the movie's soundtrack is released. Pond also thinks that Brad Smith's "Help Yourself" from the same film has the potential to be an Oscar contender, so it'll be interesting to see how that plays out.

In other news, we heard from MovieScore Magazine (via InContention) that James Horner's score for Avatar will be "the film music event of the year" [emphasis in original]. How epic will it be?! Fox VP Mike Knobloch explains

It's a brilliantly unique blend of traditional and contemporary, electronic elements and spans the entire spectrum of attitude and energy – from bombastic action to the delicate, romantic discovery of a new world.

Knobloch also says that there "is a great deal of acoustic and electronic rhythmic elements driving the score and vocalists singing and chanting in the fictional Na'vi dialect. Horner is doing a brilliant job of creating music that transports us to another world, but supports the film using the traditional orchestral conventions to make a sound that's hugely cinematic." Of course, the score isn't even completed yet, so take all this with a huge grain of salt. Or maybe five huge grains. One other tidbit: "The film will run the better part of three hours and there will likely be nearly as much score." As a huge fan of Horner, I think the man who did the score for Braveheart and Apollo 13 will be up to the challenge.

Finally, Empire Online recently spoke with Kevin Smith about the scoring for his new film A Couple of Dicks, and Smith wants none other than the great Harold Faltermeyer. Faltermeyer has crafted the memorable (and oddly timeless?) synth-y themes for films such as Top Gun and Beverly Hills Cop. Smith remarks:

As I'm putting the flick together, I see it as a real throwback to the 80s buddy cop genre...So I'm putting some music on this scene, see if it works. I take this piece from Fletch, which I've always loved, and it works. Now I take this piece of music from Beverly Hills Cop, and it plays the comedy well. It plays the action well. And, after doing those temp cues, I said to a few people, "is it crazy to see if Harold Faltermeyer will want to score this movie?"...What I'm looking for is that old Harold Faltermeyer sound that I grew up on. If he's moved on from that sound, I'll respect that. I'll go get a Casio and fuck it up myself!

Faltermeyer hasn't written a score since 1994, but apparently he'll be watching A Couple of Dicks next week. Fingers crossed that we'll get one more memorable score from the legend. And to take you back, here's the "Axel F" suite. Good luck getting it out of your head for the rest of the day.