Monday, February 24, 2014

Cue Bill Conti...

Oscar orchestra - 80th Academy Awards (2008)
As the Academy Awards ceremony became more than a quick banquet and more of a show, there has been a musical director.  Often an accomplished composer, the conductor of the show has often been the arranger of the musical numbers, interludes, montages and score segments heard throughout the show.

Since the first televised ceremony (25th Academy Awards in 1953), it has been the role of the music director/conductor to match the winner with the corresponding music.  In a category of 5 nominees, the musicians and conductor have all nominees out, quickly playing the winner's theme right at the announcement.

The other notable thing the conductor does is to cut the winner's speech off with that lovely sweeping music nowadays.  Just to be clear, it isn't the conductor that decides when to end a speech, but rather they are listening on headphones to the director and producer who make that call.  Naturally, the conductor gets the blame, the prime example being Julia Roberts at the 73rd Academy Awards (2001) calling out conductor Bill Conti "you're doing a great job, but you're so quick with that stick. So why don't you sit, 'cause I may never be here again" and later calling him "stick-man".

Recently, the orchestra hasn't even been in the auditorium.  Once in the orchestra pit, sometimes onstage or backstage, the Oscar orchestra for the 85th Academy Awards (2013) was actually a mile away in the Capitol Records studio.  Freeing up space in the theater, the orchestra performed live with their music syncing with audio and video feeds.  This will be same for the 86th Academy Awards (2014).  

To shine a light of the history of the musical director at the Academy Awards, here is the complete list.  And before you count: Johnny Green (10 times), and Bill Conti (19 times).  

17th Academy Awards (1945) - Franz Waxman
18th Academy Awards (1946) - Johnny Green
19th Academy Awards (1947) - Leo Forbstein
20th Academy Awards (1948) - Ray Heindorf
21st Academy Awards (1949) - Johnny Green
22nd Academy Awards (1950) - Robert Emmett Dolan
23rd Academy Awards (1951) - Alfred Newman
24th Academy Awards (1952) - Johnny Green
25th Academy Awards (1953) - Adolph Deutsch
26th Academy Awards (1954) - André Previn
27th Academy Awards (1955) - David Rose
28th Academy Awards (1956) - André Previn
29th Academy Awards (1957) - Johnny Green
30th Academy Awards (1958) - Alfred Newman
31st Academy Awards (1959) - Alfred Newman
32nd Academy Awards (1960) - André Previn
33rd Academy Awards (1961) - André Previn
34th Academy Awards (1962) - Johnny Green
35th Academy Awards (1963) - Alfred Newman
36th Academy Awards (1964) - Johnny Green
37th Academy Awards (1965) - Johnny Green
38th Academy Awards (1966) - Johnny Green
39th Academy Awards (1967) - Johnny Green
40th Academy Awards (1968) - Elmer Bernstein
41st Academy Awards (1969) - Henry Mancini
42nd Academy Awards (1970) - Elmer Bernstein
43rd Academy Awards (1971) - Quincy Jones
44th Academy Awards (1972) - Henry Mancini
45th Academy Awards (1973) - John Williams
46th Academy Awards (1974) - Henry Mancini
47th Academy Awards (1975) - Johnny Green
48th Academy Awards (1976) - John Williams
49th Academy Awards (1977) - Bill Conti
50th Academy Awards (1978) - Nelson Riddle
51st Academy Awards (1979) - Jack Elliot, Allyn Ferguson
52nd Academy Awards (1980) - Henry Mancini
53rd Academy Awards (1981) - Henry Mancini
54th Academy Awards (1982) - Bill Conti
55th Academy Awards (1983) - Bill Conti
56th Academy Awards (1984) - Ian Frasier
57th Academy Awards (1985) - Bill Conti
58th Academy Awards (1986) - Lionel Newman
59th Academy Awards (1987) - Lionel Newman
60th Academy Awards (1988) - Bill Conti
61st Academy Awards (1989) - Marvin Hamlisch
62nd Academy Awards (1990) - Bill Conti
63rd Academy Awards (1991) - Bill Conti
64th Academy Awards (1992) - Bill Conti
65th Academy Awards (1993) - Bill Conti
66th Academy Awards (1994) - Bill Conti
67th Academy Awards (1995) - Bill Conti
68th Academy Awards (1996) - Tom Scott
69th Academy Awards (1997) - Bill Conti
70th Academy Awards (1998) - Bill Conti
71st Academy Awards (1999) - Bill Conti
72nd Academy Awards (2000) - Burt Bacharach
73rd Academy Awards (2001) - Bill Conti
74th Academy Awards (2002) - John Williams
75th Academy Awards (2003) - Bill Conti
76th Academy Awards (2004) - Marc Shaiman
77th Academy Awards (2005) - Bill Conti
78th Academy Awards (2006) - Bill Conti
79th Academy Awards (2007) - William Ross
80th Academy Awards (2008) - Bill Conti
81st Academy Awards (2009) - Michael Giacchino
82nd Academy Awards (2010) - Marc Shaiman
83rd Academy Awards (2011) - William Ross
84th Academy Awards (2012) - Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams
85th Academy Awards (2013) - William Ross
86th Academy Awards (2014) - William Ross
87th Academy Awards (2015) - Stephen Oremus
88th Academy Awards (2016) - Harold Wheeler
89th Academy Awards (2017) - Harold Wheeler


Oscar orchestra - 25th Academy Awards (1953)

Oscar Orchestra - 85th Academy Awards (2013)

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