Tuesday, May 31, 2011

And the Oscar goes to...

Do the Oscars for score matter?  It all depends on who you ask.   I think if you didn’t know a composer, it might be a good start to knowing their work.  But history and pop culture don’t always mix with the winners (or nominees).  Awards in any category never have hindsight, so “classics” as we call them now might not have even been nominated.  Even multi-nominated composers might not have been nominated for the scores we think they should have been.  Also, looking at winners, it’s important to look at the fellow nominees.  What could have been a great score could win or lose depending on the strength of the others.  Rules nowadays have made it very hard for a double nominated composer to win either, usually voters splitting votes between.  Due to the rules (see below), some scores are rejected from getting a nomination (or aren't put up for consideration), so keep that in mind.

Rules and categories have changed over the years.  At the beginning of the award 1934-1937, the composers wouldn’t get the nomination or award, but rather the music department head.  Depending on the year, the category was split into Dramatic Picture and Comedy Picture.  They also divided the award into an award for Score and an award for Scoring.  This gave the non-original material an award for adapting Broadway musicals and revues.  I guess that makes sense.  In fact the latter category changed names to Scoring of Music-Adaptation or Treatment.  From 1970-1984 the category was known as Best Original Song Score and Adaptation Score or Best Original Song Score.  The songs featured in the Original Song Score could still be nominated in Best Original Song…so maybe that makes sense.  In 1995, the Academy split the Original Score category back into Dramatic Score and Musical or Comedy Score.  This happened because they decided it was hard to compare music to a film like Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Hamlet.  This ended in 1999, and all scores are in one category.  Anyone willing to read the official Academy rules can read here

That being said, I wanted to put together a list of stats according to the Oscars for well known composers.  I did my best at including Original Score/Adaptations/Songs.  As you can tell from the above section, it gets a teeny bit complex.  There are obviously composers not listed, but you can certainly get a clear enough picture.  The composers listed are ranked by total nominations, wins being the first number.   
ALFRED NEWMAN 9/41
JOHN WILLIAMS 5/41

DIMITRI TIOMKIN 4/22
VICTOR YOUNG 1/22
MAX STEINER 3/20
RANDY NEWMAN 2/20
ALAN MENKEN 8/19
HENRY MANCINI 4/18
RAY HEINDORF 3/18
JERRY GOLDSMITH 1/18
MIKLOS ROZSA 3/17
ALEX NORTH 0/15 + Honorary Award
JOHNNY GREEN 5/14
ELMER BERNSTEIN 1/14
MARVIN HAMLISCH 3/12

FRANZ WAXMAN 2/12

JAMES HORNER 2/10

THOMAS NEWMAN 0/11

MAURICE JARRE 3/9
HANS ZIMMER 1/9
DAVE GRUSIN 1/8
JAMES NEWTON HOWARD 0/8
JOHN BARRY 5/7
LALO SCHIFRIN 0/6
AARON COPLAND 1/6
BERNARD HERRMANN 1/5
ERNEST GOLD 1/5
ADOLPH DEUTCH 3/5

A.R. RAHMAN 2/5

GEORGES DELERUE 1/5
MARC SHAIMAN 0/5
ENNIO MORRICONE 0/5 +Honorary Award
 
MICHAEL GORE 2/4
ELLIOT GOLDENTHAL 1/4
DANNY ELFMAN 0/4
ALEXANDRE DESPLAT 0/5

HOWARD SHORE 3/3
ERICH WOLFGANG KORNGOLD 1/3
RACHEL PORTMAN 1/3
GABRIEL YARED 1/3
PHILIP GLASS 0/3
GUSTAVO SANTAOLALLA 2/2

MICHAEL GIACCHINO 1/2
JOHN CORIGLIANO 1/2
DARIO MARIANELLI 1/2

ALAN SILVESTRI 0/2
DAVID HIRSCHFELDER 0/2
MARCO BELTRAMI 0/2
DAVID RAKSIN 0/2
VANGELIS 1/1

LUDOVIC BOURCE 1/1
MYCHAEL DANNA 1/1
JAN A.P. KACZMAREK 1/1
NINO ROTA 1/1 (1 nomination withdrawn)


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