Best Music | The Best of 2016

2016 was another great year in movies. From the low-budget indie flicks that made major waves like Hell or High Water and Don’t Breathe to the massive super hero epics like Deadpool and Captain America: Civil War, it was another year with a little something for everyone in the Bit Players. There were memorable songs, memorable characters, memorable moments all across the board. There were laughs, tears, frights, and action. It seems like every year gets better and better to be a movie fan as the ability to make a film reaches more and more creative fingertips, and 2016 was no exception. Bit Player favorites like Richard Linklater and the Coen Brothers delivered more of the same greatness we’ve come to expect, but newcomers like Robert Eggers and the continually impressive Jeremy Saulnier firmly placed themselves on the “to watch” list with their 2016 entries. Read below to find out everything we loved about this year, including best films, acting performances, music, scenes, writing, cinematography, and more.

2016 was another great year in movies. From the low-budget indie flicks that made major waves like Hell or High Water and Don't Breathe to the massive super hero epics like Deadpool and Captain America: Civil War, it was another year with a little something for everyone in the Bit Players. There were memorable songs, memorable characters, memorable moments all across the board. There were laughs, tears, frights, and action. It seems like every year gets better and better to be a movie fan as the ability to make a film reaches more and more creative fingertips, and 2016 was no exception. Bit Player favorites like Richard Linklater and the Coen Brothers delivered more of the same greatness we've come to expect, but newcomers like Robert Eggers and the continually impressive Jeremy Saulnier firmly placed themselves on the "to watch" list with their 2016 entries. Read below to find out everything we loved about this year, including best films, acting performances, music, scenes, writing, cinematography, and more.


10. Cliff Martinez
The Neon Demon

"Well, the style of the film is pretty big and splashy and ostentatious. There’s a lot of visual bombast, but there’s a lot of places where there’s not much dialogue and Nicolas wanted the music to be front and center. He wanted the scene to be driven by the music. So the music department got a nice juicy role and in that sense there is a bigness to it."

9. Bear McCreary
10 Cloverfield Lane

"I would say that it did because that film is very intimate. It is physically intimate, it’s a very contained environment. It’s very tense, and even from reading it I always envisioned a score that was very tight and close, claustrophobic. And while elements of that absolutely remain, understanding that it is potentially a part of a broader cinematic universe brought with it ramifications musically that we should communicate a bigger sense, it just made the score bigger."

8. Gary Clark
Sing Street

"For me, the best songs in the film are "Drive It Like You Stole It" and "To Find You," which were completely written by Gary. They’re songs he brought fully formed to the film, from my pitches to him about various scenes. The other songs are generally my half-written ideas that he turned into a fully written idea."

7. Mica Levi
Jackie

"I’ve just always been interested in those glisses. It’s something that happens if you slow [your playing] down, you get this glooping and distortion and morphing of [sound]. It’s something I really like the sound of, but it can be quite expressive as well."

6. Andy Hull & Robert McDowell
Swiss Army Man

"The whole process was awesome. Both those dudes were super kind and really professional. They were really interested in getting feedback and advice on how to sing and what to do, and neither were divas at all. They treated it like they were acting and they wanted us to direct them."

5. Mark Mancina, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Opetaia Foa'i
Moana

"Our story evolved quite a bit and even the way this song fits in the movie moved around a few times. And it changed quite a bit, too, in some cases with a few lyric adjustments, but certainly even how it was staged and where it fit into her general arc. There was a while when we first met her as a 16-year-old where there was a daredevil version."

4. Nicholas Britell
Moonlight

"The film felt like poetry, it was so beautiful and tender."

3. Michael Giacchino
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

"I want to continue this world. This is a completely new story with characters we’ve never met before. They needed their own voice so it was important that the new aspects of the film and story get treated with respect, and the same intensity that they were in the past."

2. James Newton Howard
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

"Everything under the sun has been done at this point. It’s really about how one combines elements that makes a score unique and have a signature — just finding sounds and orchestrations and feelings that would really describe these crazy creatures. I did quite a bit of sampling, which I always do for every score. There’s one very dark creature, and I spent quite a bit of time establishing a sound design for that creature that’s part of the theme."

1. Justin Hurwitz
La La Land

"Like a lot of the music in the movie, Damien and I always felt that if something went too far towards happy or too far towards sad, it would get cheesy. We don’t like things that are too far in one direction, emotionally; we like things that have a foot in both worlds, and like life, are emotionally complex."
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