THE RACE FOR THE OSCAR NOD
In the past two weeks we’ve seen nominations announced for the Golden Globes & the Grammys. Now it’s the Oscars turn, with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announcing 114 original scores in contention for Oscar nominations. Members of the music branch individually vote for up to five nominees from the complete list, with the five scores receiving the highest number of votes earning the nomination for the final vote.
An original score must be a “substantial body of music that serves as original dramatic underscoring” as well as “written specifically for the motion picture” to obtain eligibility for the award.
And the (potential) nominees are…
Admission, Stephen Trask, composer Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Daniel Hart, composer All Is Lost, Alex Ebert, composer Alone Yet Not Alone, William Ross, composer The Armstrong Lie, David Kahne, composer Arthur Newman, Nick Urata, composer At Any Price, Dickon Hinchliffe, composer Austenland, Ilan Eshkeri, composer Before Midnight, Graham Reynolds, composer The Best Man Holiday, Stanley Clarke, composer The Book Thief, John Williams, composer The Butterfly’s Dream, Rahman Altin, composer The Call, John Debney, composer Captain Phillips, Henry Jackman, composer Closed Circuit, Joby Talbot, composer The Company You Keep, Cliff Martinez, composer The Conjuring, Joseph Bishara, composer Copperhead, Laurent Eyquem, composer The Counselor, Daniel Pemberton, composer The Croods, Alan Silvestri, composer Despicable Me 2, Heitor Pereira, composer Elysium, Ryan Amon, composer Ender’s Game, Steve Jablonsky, composer Enough Said, Marcelo Zarvos, composer Epic, Danny Elfman, composer Ernest & Celestine, Vincent Courtois, composer Escape from Planet Earth, Aaron Zigman, composer Escape from Tomorrow, Abel Korzeniowski, composer Evil Dead, Roque Baños, composer 47 Ronin, Ilan Eshkeri, composer 42, Mark Isham, composer Free Birds, Dominic Lewis, composer Free China: The Courage to Believe, Tony Chen, composer Fruitvale Station, Ludwig Goransson, composer G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Henry Jackman, composer Gangster Squad, Steve Jablonsky, composer Gravity, Steven Price, composer The Great Gatsby, Craig Armstrong, composer The Hangover Part III, Christophe Beck, composer Hansel & Gretel Witch Hunters, Atli Örvarsson, composer Haute Cuisine, Gabriel Yared, composer Her, William Butler and Owen Pallett, composers The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Howard Shore, composer Hollywood Seagull, Evgeny Shchukin, composer Hours, Benjamin Wallfisch, composer How Sweet It Is, Matt Dahan, composer The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, James Newton Howard, composer Identity Thief, Christopher Lennertz, composer The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, Lyle Workman, composer Insidious: Chapter 2, Joseph Bishara, composer Instructions Not Included, Carlo Siliotto, composer The Internship, Christophe Beck, composer The Invisible Woman, Ilan Eshkeri, composer Iron Man 3, Brian Tyler, composer Jack the Giant Slayer, John Ottman, composer Jobs, John Debney, composer Kamasutra 3D, Sreejith Edavana and Saachin Raj Chelory, composers Labor Day, Rolfe Kent, composer Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Rodrigo Leão, composer Live at the Foxes Den, Jack Holmes, composer Love Is All You Need, Johan Söderqvist, composer Mama, Fernando Velázquez, composer Man of Steel, Hans Zimmer, composer Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Alex Heffes, composer The Missing Picture, Marc Marder, composer Monsters University, Randy Newman, composer The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Atli Örvarsson, composer Mud, David Wingo, composer Murph: The Protector, Chris Irwin and Jeff Widenhofer, composers Now You See Me, Brian Tyler, composer Oblivion, Anthony Gonzalez and Joseph Trapanese, composers Oldboy, Roque Baños, composer Olympus Has Fallen, Trevor Morris, composer Oz The Great and Powerful, Danny Elfman, composer Pacific Rim, Ramin Djawadi, composer Pain & Gain, Steve Jablonsky, composer Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, Andrew Lockington, composer Philomena, Alexandre Desplat, composer The Place beyond the Pines, Mike Patton, composer Planes, Mark Mancina, composer Prisoners, Jóhann Jóhannsson, composer R.I.P.D., Christophe Beck, composer Reaching for the Moon, Marcelo Zarvos, composer Romeo & Juliet, Abel Korzeniowski, composer Runner Runner, Christophe Beck, composer Rush, Hans Zimmer, composer Safe Haven, Deborah Lurie, composer Salinger, Lorne Balfe, composer Saving Mr. Banks, Thomas Newman, composer The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Theodore Shapiro, composer Short Term 12, Joel P. West, composer Side Effects, Thomas Newman, composer The Smurfs 2, Heitor Pereira, composer The Spectacular Now, Rob Simonsen, composer Star Trek Into Darkness, Michael Giacchino, composer Stoker, Clint Mansell, composer Thor: The Dark World, Brian Tyler, composer Tim’s Vermeer, Conrad Pope, composer Trance, Rick Smith, composer Turbo, Henry Jackman, composer 12 Years a Slave, Hans Zimmer, composer 2 Guns, Clinton Shorter, composer The Ultimate Life, Mark McKenzie, composer Unfinished Song, Laura Rossi, composer Wadjda, Max Richter, composer Walking with Dinosaurs, Paul Leonard-Morgan, composer Warm Bodies, Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders, composers We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks, Will Bates, composer We’re the Millers, Theodore Shapiro and Ludwig Goransson, composers What Maisie Knew, Nick Urata, composer Why We Ride, Steven Gutheinz, composer The Wind Rises, Joe Hisaishi, composer Winnie Mandela, Laurent Eyquem, composer The Wolverine, Marco Beltrami, composer
The heavyweights of the year are present, with well more than 5 deserving of the nomination. It’s noteworthy how many of these films sought the talents of a music supervisor to help tell their story. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Great Gatsby & The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug to name just a few. Song over score has become an increasingly valid choice for music in film.
A few additional thoughts: 1. What were your glaring omissions from this list of 114? 2. How many of these composers worked with a music supervisor to set the tone and style of the scores? 3. Should there be an Academy Award for music design that includes music supervisors?