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2011 RANKING: 11
AGE: 69
BIRTHPLACE: Toronto, Canada
REPRESENTATION: Columbia Artists Management
3 OSCARS, 4 NOMINATIONS
4 GRAMMYS, 8 NOMINATIONS
BEST PICTURE NOMINEES: The Silence of the Lambs, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, Gangs of New York, The Return of the King, The Aviator, The Departed, Hugo, Spotlight
ONGOING FILMMAKER RELATIONSHIPS: David Cronenberg, Peter Jackson, Martin Scorsese
BACKGROUND: Pop musician, Saturday Night Live bandleader
FAN FAVORITES: Lord of the Rings trilogy
TYPECAST IN: Thrillers
TOP GROSSING FILMS:
1. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King--377 (U.S. gross in millions)
2. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers--339
3. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring--313
4. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey--303   
5. Eclipse--300
6. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug--258  
7. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies--255   
8. Mrs. Doubtfire--219
9. The Departed--132
10. The Silence of the Lambs--130 
 
With both of the Tolkein trilogies finally finished, it’s not known what Peter Jackson will be making next (another Tintin film is possible), or whether Shore will be on board. Shore’s partnership with David Cronenberg has lasted since 1979 -- only five years less than the Williams-Spielberg team -- and while their most recent films together, Cosmopolis and Maps to the Stars, haven’t received nearly the attention of such Cronenberg efforts as A History of Violence and Eastern Promises, Shore’s offbeat scores demonstrated that he’s still eagerly pursuing new approaches to film music. He continues to be Martin Scorsese’s primary composer and earned his first non-Tolkein nomination for 2011’s lavish Hugo. While Scorsese took the song-based approach for 2013’s underrated The Wolf of Wall Street (which did feature some source cues by Theodore Shapiro), Shore and Scorsese are currently expected to reunite for the director’s long-in-development Silence, starring Liam Neeson and Andrew Garfield.  The rest of Shore’s upcoming output is uncertain -- he was originally announced for two new films, Gary Ross’s Civil War adventure drama Free State of Jones and the remake of Disney’s Pete’s Dragon, but The Big Short’s Nicholas Britell has since been announced to score Jones, and IMDB currently lists Daniel Hart for Dragon (Hart scored Ain’t Them Bodies Saints for Dragon director David Lowery), an assignment recently confirmed by Film Music Reporter. Either way, his ongoing director relationships -- and the recent achievement of having scored his fourth Best Picture winner, 2015’s Spotlight -- should mean that Shore can still write his own ticket. 
 
2011 RANKING: 22 
AGE: Unavailable
BIRTHPLACE: Unavailable
REP: Gorfaine/Schwartz
2 EMMY NOMINATIONS
RELATIONSHIPS: Shane Black, D.J. Caruso, Jonathan Liebesman, Marvel, Neal Moritz
BACKGROUND: Grandson of art director Walter Tyler, UCLA, Harvard, independent films
FAN FAVORITES: Timeline
TYPECAST IN: Action, horror, superhero movies, series where the previous composer has died, sequels with virtually the same name as their predecessor, movies that are fast and at the same time furious
TOP GROSSING FILMS:
1. Avengers: Age of Ultron--459  
2. Iron Man 3--408  
3. Furious 7--353   
4. Fast Five--209 
5. Thor: The Dark World--206   
6. Fast & Furious--155
7. Now You See Me--117   
8. The Expendables--102
9. Eagle Eye--101
10. The Expendables 2--84   
 
Brian Tyler’s extremely prolific output has been dominated by franchise entries since he scored The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift in 2006 -- that oft-maligned entry in the long-running series may have been the only F&F film not to break the hundred-million-dollar mark in the U.S, it did introduce MVPs Tyler and director Justin Lin to the series. He went on to score three of its megahit sequels (his themes and cues were used for Fast & Furious 6, but the official scoring credit went to Lucas Vidal) as well as all one Rambo, two Final Destinations, three Expendables, both (so far) of the Now You See Me’s, the recent Ninja Turtles reboot, and three films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His most recent Marvel effort, last summer’s blockbuster Avengers: Age of Ultron, had the chance of lifting Tyler to a whole new level of success, but while it ended up being one of the year’s top draws (falling only behind the record-breaking Star Wars and Jurassic Park sequels), Danny Elfman ultimately provided enough additional music that the two composers shared equal scoring credit (with Tyler at least receiving top billing). He had his first major Oscar bait project with last fall’s Truth, the directing debut of Zodiac screenwriter James Vanderbilt, but when Oscar time came around, it was a different Cate Blanchett vehicle (Carol) and a different journalism true story (Spotlight) that garnered all the attention. His latest film in theaters is Criminal, scored with Keith Power, who has been part of Tyler’s musical team on many features and is the principal composer for the recent reboot of Hawaii Five-0, for which Tyler arranged the new version of Morton Stevens’ classic theme. Along with the imminent Now You See Me sequel, he has the thriller The Disappointments Room for his Eagle Eye director D.J. Caruso, a documentary on U.S. gun violence called Under the Gun, and the new feature version of Power Rangers.
 
WHAT’S NEXT: The Disappointments Room, Now You See Me 2, Power Rangers, Under the Gun

8. JOHN WILLIAMS
 
2011 RANKING: 8
AGE: 84
BIRTHPLACE: Long Island, New York
REP: Gorfaine/Schwartz
5 OSCARS, 50 NOMINATIONS
2 EMMYS, 4 NOMINATIONS
20 GRAMMYS, 59 NOMINATIONS
BEST PICTURE NOMINEES: Fiddler on the Roof, The Towering Inferno, Jaws, Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Born on the Fourth of July, JFK, Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, Munich, War Horse, Lincoln 
RELATIONSHIPS: George Lucas, Steven Spielberg
BACKGROUND: U.C.L.A., session pianist (for Goldsmith & Bernstein), TV composer, concert music
FAN FAVORITES: Spielberg movies, Star Wars series
TYPECAST IN: Fantasy adventure, Oscar bait
TOP GROSSING FILMS:
1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens--936 (as of 5/8/16)
2. The Phantom Menace--474  
3. Star Wars--460
4. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial--434
5. Jurassic Park--402  
6. Revenge of the Sith--380
7. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull--317
8. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone--316
9. Attack of the Clones--310
10. Return of the Jedi--309
 
It should not be seen as any kind of disloyalty from writer-producer-director J.J. Abrams to his longtime composer Michael Giacchino that Abrams sought Williams to score the long-awaited  “Episode VII” in the Star Wars series, especially as the film’s reviews emphasized the importance of the contribution from the richly-awarded but still critically-underappreciated Williams. That a new John Williams Star Wars score proved to be one of the year’s film music highlights (earning him a 50th Oscar nomination) was no surprise -- the real surprise in 2015 film music came when it was announced that a medical problem would keep Williams from scoring Steven Spielberg’s latest, the Cold War docudrama Bridge of Spies, the first time since The Color Purple 30 years earlier that a Spielberg film would be released without a Williams score (Spielberg even considered using no score at all before hiring Thomas Newman, whose subtle and typically distinctive work earned the composer his 13th Oscar nomination).  His medical issues resolved, Williams is scoring Spielberg’s latest, the fantasy The BFG, and will presumably score the director’s next project, Ready Player One.
 
WHAT’S NEXT: The BFG
 

7. THOMAS NEWMAN
 
2011 RANKING: 9
AGE: 60
BIRTHPLACE: Los Angeles, California
REP: Gorfaine/Schwartz
13 OSCAR NOMINATIONS
1 EMMY, 2 NOMINATIONS
3 GRAMMYS, 8 NOMINATIONS
BEST PICTURE NOMINEES: Scent of a Woman, The Shawshank Redemption, American Beauty, The Green Mile, Erin Brockovich, The Help, Bridge of Spies
RELATIONSHIPS: Alan Ball, Todd Field, Sam Mendes, Andrew Stanton, Tate Taylor
BACKGROUND: Son of Alfred Newman, Yale, pop and theater composer
FAN FAVORITE: The Shawshank Redemption
TYPECAST IN: Oscar bait
TOP GROSSING FILMS:
1. Finding Nemo--380  
2. Skyfall--304   
3. WALL-E--223
4. Spectre--200  
5. The Help--169 
6. The Green Mile--136
7. American Beauty--130
8. Erin Brockovich--125
9. Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events--118
10. Phenomenon--104
 
The 2012 release of Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond movie (and the third in the Daniel Craig/reboot phase), proved to be Thomas Newman’s highest grossing live-action movie, earning him yet another Oscar nomination -- the only Bond score besides Hamlisch’s Spy Who Loved Me to receive such an honor.  One of his biggest box-office hits proved to be the 2011 adaptation of the bestseller The Help, and he reunited with its director, Tate Taylor, for the 2014 James Brown biopic Get on Up, but given the song-driven nature of the film’s storyline, his low-key score was only a minor part of the film’s soundscape.  Later that same year he scored the star-laden drama The Judge, but it proved to be one of his more forgettable efforts, and the final film even included tracked-in cues from other composers’ scores like The Ice Storm and Iris. His most impressive score in several years, and the most surprising scoring assignment of 2015, was for Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies, earning him a seemingly inevitable and much deserved 13th Oscar nomination, while he took a rare venture into documentaries for Davis Guggenheim’s He Named Me Malala. Unusually for Newman, his other recent assignments have been sequels to his earlier scores. He returned to an India-infused sound for The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and wrote a disappointing score for his second James Bond film Spectre, reworking material from Skyfall without adding much new and memorable. His next feature returns him to a score from 13 years ago, as Pixar’s big summer 2016 release is Finding Dory.
 
WHAT’S NEXT: Finding Dory

6. HENRY JACKMAN
 
2011 RANKING: 27
AGE: 42
BIRTHPLACE: Hillingdon, England
REP: Kraft-Engel
BACKGROUND: St. Paul's Cathedral Choir School, Eton College and Oxford University, musician/arranger/additional composer for Remote Control scores
BEST PICTURE NOMINEE: Captain Phillips
RELATIONSHIPS: Rob Letterman, Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg, Anthony & Joe Russo, Matthew Vaughn
FAN FAVORITES: Monsters vs. Aliens
TYPECAST IN: Animation, Superheroes
TOP GROSSING FILMS:
1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier--259  
2. Big Hero 6--222    
3. Monsters vs. Aliens--198
4. Wreck-It-Ralph--189  
5. Captain America: Civil War--179 (5/8/16)
6. Puss in Boots--149   
7. X-Men: First Class--146   
8. Kingsman: The Secret Service--128  
9. G.I. Joe Retaliation--122  
10. Captain Phillips--106   
 
Along with Tom Holkenborg/Junkie XL, Henry Jackman is the fastest rising film composer in recent memory. His first solo scoring credit, Monsters vs. Aliens, was an nine-figure box-office hit, and his career trajectory over these last seven years has been equally remarkable. His strongest work has been in animation, following another DreamWorks production, Puss in Boots, with two big Disney hits, Wreck-It-Ralph and Big Hero 6, and he’s the latest favored composer for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, following 2014’s wildly popular Captain America: The Winter Soldier with the just-released sequel Civil War. He had his most prestigious assignment to date with director Paul Greengrass’s 2013 Best Picture nominee Captain Phillips, at the same time working in a less award-friendly context for writer-directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg on the hit This Is the End and the controversial The Interview. He had a surprise hit with last year’s Kingsman: The Secret Service, and two high concept flops with the recent Pixels and The 5th Wave, the latter proving that not every female-centered, apocalyptic young adult adaptation will spawn a movie franchise. Besides the new Captain America, he has the Ed Zwick-directed sequel to Jack Reacher as well as another prestige project, the Sundance smash The Birth of a Nation, from actor-turned-writer-director Nate Parker.
 
WHAT’S NEXT: The Birth of a Nation, Captain America: Civil War, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

5.  JAMES NEWTON HOWARD
 
2011 RANKING: 6
AGE: 64
BIRTHPLACE: Los Angeles, California
REP: Gorfaine/Schwartz
8 OSCAR NOMINATIONS
1 EMMY, 3 NOMINATIONS
1 GRAMMY, 3 NOMINATIONS
BEST PICTURE NOMINEES: The Prince of Tides, The Fugitive, The Sixth Sense, Michael Clayton
RELATIONSHIPS: Martin Campbell, Tony Gilroy, Lawrence Kasdan, Francis Lawrence, Joe Roth, M. Night Shyamalan, Edward Zwick
BACKGROUND: U.S.C., Music Academy of the West, pop keyboardist, song arranger
FAN FAVORITE: Signs
TYPECAST IN: Adventure, female-oriented sci-fi and fantasy, thrillers
TOP GROSSING FILMS:
1. The Dark Knight--533
2. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire--424  
3. The Hunger Games--407   
4. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1--337 
5. The Sixth Sense--293
6. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2--281   
7. I Am Legend--256
8. Maleficent--241 
9. Signs--227
10. King Kong--218
 
While comic book superhero movies are the dominant commercial cinema of the age -- providing today’s composers potentially great opportunities for both artistic challenges and career advancement -- James Newton Howard seems to have found a similar but fresher niche. Having done his fair amount of superhero scoring with his shared composing credits (with Hans Zimmer) on the first two Dark Knight films and solo work on the much-maligned Green Lantern (a “flop” that still managed to gross $116 mil in the U.S.), he’s having remarkable success with female-driven science-fiction and fantasy. Danny Elfman had originally been announced to score the inevitable film version of the first of the Hunger Games novels, but a scheduling conflict kept him from the project, and Howard won the plum assignment. When director Francis Lawrence, whom Howard had already worked with on I Am Legend and Water for Elephants, signed on for the first of the Hunger Games sequels (and ultimately the remainder of the series), Howard signed on with him, giving the films a musical continuity lacking in most of today’s high-profile movie franchises. As if those four high-grossing genre films with empowered female leads weren’t enough (fitting assignments for the man who was once considered “Julia Roberts’ composer”), Howard also had recent big hits with 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman and 2014’s Maleficent (though the just-released Snow White prequel/sequel The Huntsman: Winter’s War is looking like one of the year’s biggest box-office disappointments). A few years ago he scored the Kennedy assassination drama Parkland, the directorial debut of journalist Peter Landsman, and last year they reunited for another docudrama, Concussion. Regular Howard collaborator M. Night Shyamalan had a new film released last fall, The Visit, and besides the big plot twist, this film had two major surprises -- it was actually good (for anyone who had seen Lady in the Water or The Last Airbender, this was a twist worthy of The Sixth Sense), and there was no James Newton Howard music, the first Shyamalan film to go Howard-less since 1998’s little-seen Wide Awake. The film’s surprisingly effective found-footage approach (yes, someone actually managed to make another good found footage horror film) meant that a traditional score would not be appropriate, while composer Paul Cantelon provided one cue for a montage late in the film. Having scored films for writer-director Tony Gilroy (including Michael Clayton and The Bourne Legacy, the only Bourne film not scored by John Powell), he scored Nightcrawler, the critically acclaimed directorial debut of Tony’s brother Dan. He returns to the world of big-budget fantasy later this year with the Harry Potter spinoff  Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

WHAT'S NEXT: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

4. DANNY ELFMAN
 
2011 RANKING: 2
AGE: 57
BIRTHPLACE: Amarillo, Texas
REP: Kraft-Engel
4 OSCAR NOMINATIONS
1 EMMY, 2 NOMINATIONS
9 GRAMMY NOMINATIONS
BEST PICTURE NOMINEES: Good Will Hunting, Chicago, Milk, Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle
RELATIONSHIPS: Tim Burton, James Ponsoldt, Sam Raimi, Gus Van Sant
BACKGROUND: Rock singer-songwriter (Oingo Boingo)
FAN FAVORITES: Batman, Edward Scissorhands
TYPECAST IN: Comic book movies, Oscar bait
TOP GROSSING FILMS:
1. Avengers: Age of Ultron--459  
2. Spider-Man--403
3. Spider-Man 2--373
4. Alice in Wonderland--334
5. Batman--251
6. Men in Black--250
7. Oz: The Great and Powerful--234   
8. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory--206
9. Men in Black II--190
10. Mission: Impossible--180
 
Danny Elfman has been an A-list composer since scoring Tim Burton’s blockbuster Batman -- the first of the modern era of superhero spectacles -- 27 years ago, and after a second Batman, two Spider-Mans, a Hulk, a Darkman and a Dick Tracy,  it was a little surprising that he’d sign on to write additional cues (supplementing the work of original composer Brian Tyler) on last summer’s inevitable smash hit Avengers: Age of Ultron, his first project in the official “Marvel Cinematic Universe,” but the end result ended up being Elfman’s highest grossing feature, no mean feat given the composer’s blockbuster track record. Elfman had an expected hit with the high-profile film version of Fifty Shades of Gray and has signed on for its in-production sequel, Fifty Shades Darker. His most recent collaboration with Tim Burton, Big Eyes, was the rare Burton-Elfman project that did not result in a soundtrack album, and while Elfman has scored the imminent, Burton-produced Alice through the Looking Glass, he is surprisingly not scoring Burton’s latest directorial effort, the young adult fantasy adaptation Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (starring Eva Green and the inevitable Asa Butterfield). He scored two multi-nominated hits for David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle, but though he was expected to score Russell's latest, Joy, the film ended up with a score by West Dylan Thordson and David Campbell (father of musician Beck). Last year he worked on familiar turf with the film version of Goosebumps and in more serious literary territory with The End of the Tour, and this year he reunites with Tour director James Ponsoldt for the film version of Dave Eggers’ The Circle.  One can only hope that Elfman resumes his partnership with Burton for whatever comes after Miss Peregrine, and the live concerts of music from their collaborations have helped spread film music to a new audience (a close friend of mine, a lifelong film buff, told me that he had never even been especially conscious of film scores until he saw the Elfman-Burton concert, which I found both heartening and discouraging).
 
WHAT’S NEXT: Alice through the Looking Glass, The Circle, Fifty Shades Darker
 
 
2011 RANKING: 3
AGE: 48
BIRTHPLACE: Riverside, New Jersey
REP: Gorfaine/Schwartz
1 OSCAR, 2 NOMINATIONS
1 EMMY, 5 NOMINATIONS
3 GRAMMYS, 7 GRAMMY NOMINATIONS
BEST PICTURE NOMINEE: Up
RELATIONSHIPS: J.J. Abrams, Brad Bird, Matt Reeves, Colin Trevorrow, the Wachowski sisters
BACKGROUND: Julliard, UCLA, game composer, TV composer (Alias, Lost)
TYPECAST IN: animation, feature versions of TV series
FAN FAVORITES: The Incredibles, Lost
TOP GROSSING FILMS:
1. Jurassic World--652  
2. Inside Out-- 356  
3. Zootopia --328  (5/8/16) 
4. Up--292
5. The Incredibles--261
6. Star Trek--257
7. Star Trek Into Darkness--228  
8. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol--209   
9. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes-- 208  
10. Ratatouille--206
 
Giacchino was already having a pretty good feature scoring career when 2015 began, and anyone who might have thought the relative failure of Jupiter Ascending followed by the box-office disappointment of Tomorrowland suggested a downward trend for the Academy Award-winner had to wait only a few weeks to change their tune. Jurassic World and Inside Out opened only a week apart and each was the kind of box-office success that could make a composer’s career – together, they made it clear that the film music summer belonged to Giacchino. Jurassic World’s $652 million U.S. gross made it the undisputed box-office champion of the year -- at least, until a sequel to another John Williams-scored recordbreaker made everyone forget there’d been a new dinosaur movie out that summer. Inside Out managed not only to be one of Pixar’s all-time highest grossing films but received some of the studio’s best-ever reviews, which given the usual critical plaudits for Pixar films is no mean feat, and Giacchino’s main title theme was one of 2015’s most memorable compositions. He’s only had one feature released in the eleven months since Jurassic’s opening, but that one feature, Disney’s Zootopia, is one of the biggest commercial and critical hits of the new year. This summer, Giacchino becomes only the second composer to score more than two Star Trek features with the action-oriented Star Trek Beyond, and next year he’ll return to even more Goldsmith turf by scoring his second Planet of the Apes movie. He has just been announced to score the Doctor Strange movie (making him the latest composer to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe), he will reunite with Jurassic director Colin Trevorrow for the small-scale drama The Book of Henry, and will return to the subject of his first blockbuster hit for a planned Incredibles sequel.
 
WHAT’S NEXT: The Book of Henry, Doctor Strange, The Incredibles 2, Star Trek Beyond, War of the Planet of the Apes
 
2011 RANKING: 1
AGE: 58
BIRTHPLACE: Frankfurt, Germany
REP: Unavailable
1 OSCAR, 10 NOMINATIONS
1 EMMY NOMINATION
4 GRAMMYS, 13 NOMINATIONS
BEST PICTURE NOMINEES: Rain Man, Driving Miss Daisy, As Good As It Gets, The Thin Red Line, Gladiator, Frost/Nixon, Inception, 12 Years a Slave
RELATIONSHIPS: James L. Brooks, Jerry Bruckheimer, DreamWorks, Ron Howard, Christopher Nolan, Sean Penn, Gore Verbinski
BACKGROUND: Keyboardist, pop musician, protege to Stanley Myers, founder of Media Ventures and Remote Control
FAN FAVORITES: Gladiator, The Thin Red Line, Inception
TYPECAST IN: Action, animation, epics, Oscar bait, superheroes
TOP GROSSING FILMS:
1. The Dark Knight--533
2. The Dark Knight Rises--448   
3. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest--423
4. The Lion King --422    
5. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice--327 (5/8/16)
6. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End--309
7. Inception--292
8. Man of Steel--291  
9. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides--241  
10. The Da Vinci Code--217
 
Hans Zimmer’s extraordinary track record of box-office hits -- as well as his impressive status as one of only two composers ever to have scored four Best Picture winners (Howard Shore only just became the second composer to join that club) -- means that he doesn’t have to waste his time chasing after high-profile projects, and can vary his portfolio with more modestly scaled films.  In 2015 he seemed to concentrate more on these smaller projects, scoring Chappie, the sci-fi action thriller from District 9 director Neill Blomkamp, as well as two fact-based dramas, Woman in Gold (a shared credit with British composer Martin Phipps) and Freeheld (with Inception guitarist Johnny Marr). He had one of his all-time greatest critical successes in 2013 with Best Picture winner 12 Years a Slave. His palate cleansed with such character-oriented projects, he returned to the big leagues this spring with the epic Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, teaming up with Tom Holkenborg (temporarily returning to his Junkie XL moniker), which is already one of his highest grossers despite a more-than-mixed reaction. His other most recent project, the stylish animated remake of The Little Prince (with Richard Harvey), had its U.S. theatrical release pulled at the last minute, but inspired one of his most satisfying scores. His upcoming projects are typically dominated by reunions with familiar collaborators -- a new Gore Verbinski film, another Ron Howard-directed DaVinci Code sequel, and most excitingly, a 70mm World War II epic from Christopher Nolan -- their last collaboration, 2014’s Interstellar, inspired what is arguably Zimmer’s finest score, and earned him his tenth Oscar nomination.
 
WHAT’S NEXT: A Cure for Wellness, Dunkirk, Inferno, The Last Face, The Legend of Tarzan
 
2011 RANKING: 4
AGE: 54
BIRTHPLACE: Paris, France
REP: Kraft-Engel
1 OSCAR, 8 NOMINATIONS
2 GRAMMYS, 7 NOMINATIONS
BEST PICTURE NOMINEES: The Queen, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The King's Speech, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, The Tree of Life, Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game
RELATIONSHIPS: Wes Anderson, Daniel Auteuil, George Clooney, Gareth Edwards, Matteo Garrone, Stephen Frears, Tom Hooper, Roman Polanski, Chris Weitz  
BACKGROUND: European cinema
FAN FAVORITES: Birth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
TYPECAST IN: Oscar bait
TOP GROSSING FILMS:
1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2--380   
2. New Moon--296
3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1--294 
4. Godzilla--200   
5 The King's Speech--138  
6. Argo--136 
7. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button--127
8. Unbroken--115  
9. Rise of the Guardians--103  
10. Zero Dark Thirty--95 
 
Earning two of the five nominations for Original Score in 2014, it should not have been such a surprise that Alexandre Desplat would finally win a much deserved Oscar -- but after all, those odds didn’t help Alex North in 1951, Thomas Newman in 1994 or James Horner in 1995. But his third score for Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel -- competing with his own Imitation Game as well as scores by Gary Yershon, Hans Zimmer, and Johann Johannsson’s Desplat-esque Theory of Everything -- finally did the trick. The disconcertingly prolific Desplat had a comparatively low-key feature slate in 2015 -- only two major releases at the end of the year, Suffragette and The Danish Girl, plus an extremely limited release of Wim Wenders’ 3D drama Every Thing Will Be Fine -- but he’d earned that relative rest, given his output for 2014. Along with the aforementioned Grand Budapest and Imitation Game -- both Best Picture nominees, the third time he's had two films competing in that category the same year – he had George Clooney’s The Monuments Men (whose music was frequently referred to by reviewers as “jaunty” – one critic even called it “a jaunty ascot of a score”), the high-grossing Godzilla reboot, and director Angelina Jolie’s surprise smash Unbroken. Surprisingly, he did not score the latest from long-time collaborator Jacques Audiard, the controversial Cannes-winner Dheepan, but he reunites with director Stephen Frears for the light-hearted biopic Florence Foster Jenkins, with Meryl Streep as the infamously untalented classical singer, due this August. Other new projects include the European drama Alone in Berlin, the animated Secret Life of Pets, Ewan McGregor’s directorial debut American Pastoral and Derek Cianfrance’s The Light Between Oceans, but of course his most highly anticipated new film (and score) is the Star Wars spinoff Rogue One.
 
WHAT’S NEXT: Alone in Berlin, American Pastoral, The Light Between Oceans, The Odyssey, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, The Secret Life of Pets

The rest of the 40:
 
11. Carter Burwell
12. Christophe Beck
13. Tom Holkenborg
14. Theodore Shapiro
15. Mark Mothersbaugh
16. Marco Beltrami
17. John Powell
18. Harry Gregson-Williams
19. Christopher Lennertz
20. Alan Silvestri
21. Mychael Danna
22. Randy Newman
23. Dario Marianelli
24. Patrick Doyle
25. Johann Johannsson
26. Steve Jablonsky
27. John Ottman
28. Lorne Balfe
29. Heitor Pereira
30. Joseph Trapanese
31. Rob Simonsen
32. Michael Andrews
33. Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross
34. Nick Urata
35. John Debney
36. Daniel Pemberton
37. Ramin Djawadi
38. Mark Isham
39. Tyler Bates
40. Steven Price

WARNING: this series has not only six more parts but a three-part prequel.
 
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Comments (2):Log in or register to post your own comments
Besides Hans Zimmer and Howard Shore, Max Steiner also scored four Best Picture winners: Cimarron, The Life of Emile Zola, Gone with the Wind and Casablanca.

Whether or not this is the "last" top forty, Scott, it would be fun to create an infographic showing the rise and fall of the composers from the first list to the "last." How many composers from the first top forty made it to this one, anyway?

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Andre Previn begins recording his score for The Fastest Gun Alive (1956)
Bernard Herrmann begins recording his North by Northwest score (1959)
Christopher Komeda died (1969)
Harold Arlen died (1986)
Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson born (1958)
James Horner begins recording his score for House of Cards (1992)
Jay Gruska born (1952)
Jonsi born (1975)
Kenji Kawai born (1957)
Louis Barron born (1920)
Patrick Williams born (1939)
Robert Farnon died (2005)
Satyajit Ray died (1992)
Sergei Prokofiev born (1891)
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