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To no one's great surprise, Mychael Danna won the Oscar (his first, in his first year of nomination) for his Original Score for LIFE OF PI, while Adele and Paul Epworth won Original Song for the title song to SKYFALL, the first-ever Oscar for a James Bond song (for more discussion of music and the Oscars, scroll to the end of this column).***

Varese Sarabande has announced two new CDs in their limited edition series of contemporary scores -- Diego Navarro's score for the quasi-remake MIMESIS: NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, and the music for the thriller RIDDLE, composed by Scott Glasgow (Bone Dry, Toxic).

Certain films inspire the cliche "they don't make 'em like that anymore," and MY GEISHA definitely fits that familiar phrase. Master cinematographer Jack Cardiff directed the 1962 romantic comedy, with Yves Montand as a film director who decides to make a movie version of Madame Butterfly. His movie star wife, Shirley Maclaine, is eager to play the part, but Montand wants to find an actress who's actually Japanese, so Maclaine disguises herself as a Japanese geisha in her attempt to win the part. The lush and romantic score, which uses original themes as well as interpolated music from Puccini's classic opera, was composed by the great Franz Waxman, and the Kritzerland CD, limited to 1000 units, features Waxman's complete score, including cues left off of the original soundtrack LP.


Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time - Robert Folk - Buysoundtrax
Frozen Planet
 - George Fenton - Silva
The Fury - John Williams - La-La Land
I Magliari - Piero Piccioni - Beat
Identity Thief - Christopher Lennertz - La-La Land
Jack the Giant Killer - John Ottman - Watertower [CD-R]
La Bestia Nella Spazia - Marcello Giombini - Beat
The Naked Maja - Angelo Francesco Lavagnino - Digitmovies
1000 Dollari Su Nero
- Michele Lacereneza - Beat
Passion - Pino Donaggio - Quartet
Phantom - Jeff Rona - Milan
Piero Umiliani: Discomusic
- Piero Umiliani - Beat
A Place at the Table - T. Bone Burnett, The Civil Wars - Sensibility Music
Providence - Miklos Rozsa - Digitmovies
Sai Cosa Faceva Stalin Alle Donne
- Ennio Morricone - Beat
- Clint Mansell - Milan
Super Fantozzi
- Fred Bongusto - Digitmovies
The Touch
- Basil Poledouris - Buysoundtrax
Vivo o Preferibilmente Morti 
- Gianni Ferrio - Digitmovies


Jack the Giant Slayer - John Ottman - Score CD-R on Watertower
Koch - Mark De Gli Antoni
The Last Exorcism Part II - Michael Wandmacher
 - Jeff Rona - Score CD on Milan
A Place at the Table - T. Bone Burnett, The Civil Wars - Soundtrack CD on Sensibility Music
  - Clint Mansell - Score CD on Milan
The Sweeney - Lorne Balfe - Score CD on Rhino (import)
21 and Over - Lyle Workman


March 5
The Bible
- Hans Zimmer, Lorne Balfe, Lisa Gerrard - Provident
Side Effects - Thomas Newman - Varese Sarabande
Snitch - Antonio Pinto - Lakeshore
March 12
Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome - Bear McCreary - La-La Land
God of War: Ascension - Tyler Bates - La-La Land
Mimesis: Night of the Living Dead - Diego Navarro - Varese Sarabande
Napoleon et l'Europe - Wojciech Kilar - Music Box
The Outsiders - Carmine Coppola - Music Box
Riddle - Scott Glasgow - Varese Sarabande
March 19
Gears of War: Judgment - Steve Jablonsky, Jacob Shea - Sumthing Else
A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III - Liam Hayes - Alternative Distribution Alliance
Les Miserables (2-disc Deluxe Edition) - Claude-Michel Schonberg - Universal Republic
Silent Hill: Revelation 
- Jeff Danna - Lakeshore
March 26
The Challenge - Jerry Goldsmith - La-La Land
The Croods - Alan Silvestri - Sony
Doctor Who: The Caves of Androzani
- Roger Limb - Silva
The Hole - Javier Navarrete - La-La Land
S.O.S. Titanic
 - Howard Blake - Silva
April 2
Dead Man Down - Jacob Groth - Varese Sarabande
The Diary of Anne Frank
- Alfred Newman - Real Gone
G.I. Joe: Retaliation - Henry Jackman - Varese Sarabande
House of Cards - Jeff Beal - Varese Sarabande
Spartacus: War of the Damned - Joseph LoDuca - Varese Sarabande
April 16
The Call - John Debney - Lakeshore
Promised Land - Danny Elfman - Sony (import)
April 30
Iron Man 3 - Brian Tyler - Hollywood
Date Unknown
Caprica (the series) - Bear McCreary - La-La Land
My Geisha
- Franz Waxman - Kritzerland


March 2 - Marc Blitzstein born (1905)
March 2 - Richard Hazard born (1921)
March 2 - Andrzej Korzynski born (1940)
March 2 - Alfred Newman wins Oscar for The Song of Bernadette score (1944)
March 2 - Basil Poledouris begins recording his score to Big Wednesday (1978)
March 2 - Jerry Goldsmith records his score to the Twilight Zone: The Movie segment "A Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" (1983)
March 2 - Serge Gainsbourg died (1991)
March 2 - Malcolm Williamson died (2003)
March 3 - Lee Holdridge born (1944)
March 3 - Jeff Rona born (1957)
March 3 - Jerry Goldsmith records his score to the Twilight Zone: The Movie segment "Time Out" (1983)
March 3 - Arthur Kempel died (2004)
March 4 - Erich Wolfgang Korngold's score for Anthony Adverse wins the Oscar; however, as per Academy policy, the score is awarded to the head of the studio's music department, Leo Forbstein (1937)
March 4 - Max Steiner wins score Oscar for Now Voyager (1943)
March 4 - Leonard Rosenman died (2008)
March 5 - Heitor Villa-Lobos born (1887)
March 5 - Max Steiner's score for The Informer wins the Oscar; Academy policy at the time awards to the score to the head of the studio's music branch -- who, in this case, is Max Steiner (1936)
March 5 - Bruce Smeaton born (1938)
March 5 - Michael Gore born (1951)
March 5 - Sergei Prokofiev died (1953)
March 5 - John Williams begins recording his score to Star Wars (1977)
March 5 - Theodore Shapiro begins recording his score for Idiocracy (2005)
March 5 - Gustavo Santaolalla wins his first Oscar, for the Brokeback Mountain score (2006)
March 6 - Richard Hageman died (1966)
March 7 - King Kong premieres in New York (1933)
March 7 - Miklos Rozsa wins first Oscar for Spellbound score (1946)
March 7 - Ron Jones records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Allegiance" (1990)
March 7 - Gordon Parks died (2006)
March 7 - Michael Giacchino wins his first Oscar for Up (2010)


DARK SKIES - Joseph Bishara

"Contrary to a kickoff montage of idyllic suburban life, this particular suburbia is not a picture-perfect Spielbergian haven from harsh realities, as the many foreclosure signs and Joseph Bishara's effectively ominous score suggest."

Dennis Harvey, Variety


Screenings of older films, at the following L.A. movie theaters: AMPASAmerican Cinematheque: AeroAmerican Cinematheque: EgyptianLACMANew BeverlyNuartSilent Movie Theater and UCLA.

March 1
BACK TO THE FUTURE (Alan Silvestri) [Silent Movie Theater]
BLAZING SADDLES (John Morris) [Nuart]
DR. STRANGELOVE (Laurie Johnson) [Silent Movie Theater]
GUN CRAZY (Victor Young) [UCLA]
MANDINGO (Maurice Jarre) [New Beverly]
MARATHON MAN (Michael Small), AU GALOP (Emmanuel Deruty) [Cinematheque: Aero]
SPANKING THE MONKEY (David Carbonara), I HEART HUCKABEES (Jon Brion) [New Beverly]

March 2
THE DIRTY DOZEN (Frank DeVol) [Silent Movie Theater]
MANDINGO (Maurice Jarre) [New Beverly]
PASSION PLANTATION (Roberto Pregadio) [New Beverly]
RAISING ARIZONA (Carter Burwell) [Silent Movie Theater]
SPANKING THE MONKEY (David Carbonara), I HEART HUCKABEES (Jon Brion) [New Beverly]

March 3
BURN! (Ennio Morricone) [New Beverly]
TWO-LANE BLACKTOP [Cinematheque: Aero]

March 4
BURN! (Ennio Morricone) [New Beverly]
THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE (George Bassman) [Cinematheque: Aero]
TRY AND GET ME (Hugo Friedhofer), REPEAT PERFORMANCE (George Antheil) [UCLA]

March 5
BURN! (Ennio Morricone) [New Beverly]
THE NUTTY PROFESSOR (Walter Scharf) [Silent Movie Theater]
THERE'S ALWAYS TOMORROW (Heinz Roemheld, Herman Stein) [LACMA]

March 6
STAGE STRUCK [Silent Movie Theater]

March 7
CONVOY (Chip Davis), MIDNIGHT RUN (Danny Elfman) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
LENNY (Ralph Burns), SLAUGHTERHOUSE 5 [Cinematheque: Aero]

March 8
THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP (Allan Gray) [Silent Movie Theater]
MAX ET LES FERREILEURS (Philippe Sarde), LE CIRCLE ROUGE (Eric Demarsan) [New Beverly]
THE THING (Ennio Morricone) [Nuart]

March 9
EASY RIDER, FIVE EASY PIECES, THE LAST DETAIL (Johnny Mandel) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
MAX ET LES FERREILEURS (Philippe Sarde), LE CIRCLE ROUGE (Eric Demarsan) [New Beverly]
MIAMI CONNECTION (Jon McCallum) [Silent Movie Theater]
THE STING (Marvin Hamlisch) [Cinematheque: Aero]

March 10
ARTISTS AND MODELS [Silent Movie Theater]
LOOPER (Nathan Johnson), BRICK (Nathan Johnson) [New Beverly]
THE PASSENGER (Ivan Vandor), WALKABOUT (John Barry) [Cinematheque: Aero]

***Mychael Danna was Oscar-nominated for only the first time this year (for both Score and Song), despite having previously scored Best Picture nominees Capote, Little Miss Sunshine and Moneyball. One of my all-time favorite composers, Basil Poledouris, never received a nomination despite all the major films he scored, including The Blue Lagoon, Conan the Barbarian, RoboCop and The Hunt for Red October (at least he won a well-deserved Emmy for his epic Lonesome Dove. Similarly, Jerry Goldsmith only won one Oscar despite his remarkable film career, but won five Emmys for his TV work). Here’s my extremely rough list of the top ten (not necessarily best) composers who never (or in the case of those living, have yet to) received an Oscar nomination:

Carter Burwell
Vladimir Cosma
Ron Goodwin
Michael Nyman
Basil Poledouris
Zbigniew Preisner
John Scott
Michael Small
Toru Takemitsu
Christopher Young

I have omitted composers whose Oscar-eligible films mostly tended to fall into the category of “B-movies” and thus made them unlikely nominees, including Richard Band, Les Baxter, Akira Ifukube, Paul Sawtell, Herman Stein and Ronald Stein.

One of my favorite A-quality B-movie composers, Hammer’s horror maestro James Bernard is, lest we forget, an actual Academy Award winner. He and his life partner, the great screenwriter Paul Dehn (Goldfinger, Murder on the Orient Express, the Planet of the Apes sequels), shared the 1951 Oscar for Writing – Motion Picture Story for the British thriller Seven Days to Noon (scored by John Addison).

I also omitted some top current composers whose success is recent enough that it’s too early for them to be considered as snubbed, including Christophe Beck, Harry Gregson-Williams, Henry Jackman and Theodore Shapiro.

What is more surprising are the many composers who won Oscars who seemed exactly the type who could have easily slipped through the cracks, especially considering that both Ennio Morricone and Alex North went so long without a win that they were each given an honorary Oscar. Some of these more surprising winners include John Addison, Malcolm Arnold, Luis Bacalov, Ludovic Bource, John Corigliano, Anne Dudley, Hugo Friedhofer, Ernest Gold, Elliot Goldenthal, Jan A.P. Kaczmarek, Bronislau Kaper, Fred Karlin, Jack Nitzsche, Nicola Piovani, Leonard Rosenman, Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Shire, Howard Shore, Harry Sukman, Ken Thorne and Stephen Warbeck.

Along those lines, there are plenty of memorable composers who, though without a win, will still have “Oscar-nominated” in their obituaries (if they haven’t already), including Daniele Amfitheatrof, Buddy Baker, Marco Beltrami, Richard Rodney Bennett, Bruce Broughton, John Cameron, Frank Cordell, John Debney, Frank DeVol, George Duning, Danny Elfman, George Fenton, Jerry Fielding, Charles Fox, Gerald Fried, Herschel Burke Gilbert, Vince Guaraldi, David Hirschfelder, James Newton Howard, Alberto Iglesias, Mark Isham, Quincy Jones, Michael Kamen, Michel Magne, Peter Maxwell Davies, Toshiro Mayuzumi, Angela Morley, John Morris, Jerome Moross, Javier Navarrete, David Newman, Riz Ortolani, John Powell, David Raksin, Richard Robbins, Laurence Rosenthal, Hans J. Salter, Philippe Sarde, Walter Scharf, Lalo Schifrin, Frank Skinner, Fred Steiner, Leith Stevens, Roy Webb and Patrick Williams.

Two factors make it harder for a composer to receive a nomination these days -- the loss of the third music category, whether it be “Song Score and Music Adaptation,” “Musical or Comedy Score,” or any of its many other iterations, and the fact that relatively few movie songs these days are written by score composers.

However, since the start of the century, the following score composers have all received nominations for their songs: Benoit Charest, Bruno Coulais, Mychael Danna, Tan Dun, Elliot Goldenthal, Alan Menken, Walter Murphy, Randy Newman, Thomas Newman, A.R. Rahman, Howard Shore, Alan Silvestri and Reinhardt Wagner. (And of course, composers who received Song nominations in the past include Elmer Bernstein, Carmine Coppola, George Fenton, Ernest Gold, Jerry Goldsmith, Maurice Jarre, John Morris, Miklos Rozsa and John Williams.)

The song score/adaptation category seems unlikely to come back anytime soon, since few films have original song scores by one team of songwriters, and virtually every “adaptation” score these days is a sequel score.  These are the 2012 scores most likely to have been eligible to qualify for an Adaptation Score nomination, which may be why they haven’t revived the category: Bernie, The Dark Knight Rises, Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, The Expendables 2, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Ice Age: Continental Drift, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, Madagascar 3:  Europe’s Most Wanted, The Master, Men In Black 3, Taken 2, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 and Underworld Awakening.

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Comments (6):Log in or register to post your own comments
Wouldn't "Les Miserables" have been an obvious nominee if there were still an "Adapted Score" category?

Wouldn't "Les Miserables" have been an obvious nominee if there were still an "Adapted Score" category?

Possibly, but given the through-sung nature of the film, there was very little incidental music that wasn't already directly from the stage show, and I think the credits that Anne Dudley and Stephen Metcalfe received on the film (I believe it was "Orchestrations" and, in Dudley's case, "Additional Music") might have precluded that.

Bravo, Scott, for your thorough and insightful precis of certain important components of Oscar music history. Clearly, it was a labor of love,(and, clearly, lovable), and a mighty labor at that, which only your initiative and good will compelled you to perform.

Keep up the great work.

Considering how important the sequel and/or The Trilogy Plus are to the film industry right now, I'm surprised the Song Score/Adaptation Category hasn't been brought back. You want you people to watch the oscars, Iron Man III has to get more than a Sound FX nomination.

Did They Mention the Music:

Future Weather- Erik Friedlander

'Apart from a noodly guitar score that sounds like it should be playing in every Park City coffee shop, and some too-emphatic dialogue about the evils of plastic water bottles, there’s almost nothing to criticize.'


Heh, 'noodly'...

I don't know, "Best Sequel Score" doesn't seem a category likely to find much favor.

And Tyler's IRON MAN 3 probably wouldn't even qualify for Adaptation Score, since I suspect it will be an original effort not incorporating themes from Djawadi, Debney or Silvestri.

Burwell, Nyman and Preisner are the ones that hurt the most on that list. Especially considering the fact that all three worked on at least one Oscar-bait project that should have surely landed them in Original Score. Christopher Young I'll call an also-ran, if only for the fact that he traditionally works in films that aren't ever considered significant award contenders, although he's contributed so much to his mainstay genres.


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