Saturday, December 24, 2011

Composer Thomas Newman Leads with Most Original Music Scores Eligible for Oscar Nomination

Ninety-seven scores from eligible feature-length motion pictures are in competition for nominations in the Original Score category for the 84th Academy Awards.
Composer Thomas Newman
Composer Thomas Newman has the most original scores eligible for nomination. He has four: The Adjustment Bureau, The Debt, The Help, and The Iron Lady starring Meryl Streep. One, or more of these feature motion pictures will get a best picture nod.

Thomas Newman, has exemplary musical pedigree, being the son of composer Alfred Newman; nephew of Lionel Newman and Emil Newman; and cousin of Randy Newman. An accomplished pianist, Newman almost always plays piano on his own scores, typically during slow, moody passages.

He has been nominated for nine best score Oscars, but has never won, not even for such motion pictures as Finding Nemo, Road to Perdition, Little Women, American Beauty, and The Shawshank Redemption. I think 2012 may be this Newman's year.

Composer Alexandre Desplat is not nominated for The Tree of Life. It could be because much of the music for that movie consists of vintage recordings, and that movie score was disqualified. Desplat is nominated for three other scores: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and The Ides of March.

A possible cousin of mine, one of the James among many in the Horner family, this one known as James Roy and an Oscar-winning composer (Titanic, Avatar, Braveheart, etc.), is not nominated this year, either.

The venerable John Williams is nominated for The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse, both collaborations with Steven Spielberg. They have worked together going back to Jaws. Williams won Oscars for Jaws, ET, and Shindler's List. See his full music composition repertoire.

The eligible scores along with the composer(s) are listed below in alphabetical order by film title:
The Adventures of Tintin, John Williams
African Cats, Nicholas Hooper
Albert Nobbs, Brian Byrne
Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, Mark Mothersbaugh
Anonymous, Thomas Wander and Harald Kloser
Another Earth, Phil Mossman and Will Bates
Answers to Nothing, Craig Richey
Arthur Christmas, Harry Gregson-Williams
The Artist, Ludovic Bource
@urFRENZ, Lisbeth Scott
Atlas Shrugged Part, Elia Cmiral
Battle: Los Angeles, Brian Tyler
Beastly, Marcelo Zarvos
The Big Year, Theodore Shapiro
Captain America: The First Avenger, Alan Silvestri
Cars 2, Michael Giacchino
Cedar Rapids, Christophe Beck
Conan the Barbarian, Tyler Bates
The Conspirator, Mark Isham
Contagion, Cliff Martinez
Coriolanus, Ilan Eshkeri, composer
DAM999, Ousepachan, composer
The Darkest Hour, Tyler Bates
The Debt, Thomas Newman
Dolphin Tale, Mark Isham
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
Dream House, John Debney
The Eagle, Atli Orvarsson
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Alexandre Desplat
Fast Five, Brian Tyler
The First Grader, Alex Heffes
The Flowers of War, Qigang Chen
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
The Greatest Miracle, Mark McKenzie
Green Lantern, James Newton Howard
Hanna, Tom Rowlands
Happy Feet Two, John Powell
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2," Alexandre Desplat
The Help, Thomas Newman
Hop, Christopher Lennertz
Hugo, Howard Shore
I Don’t Know How She Does It, Aaron Zigman
The Ides of March, Alexandre Desplat
Immortals, Trevor Morris
In Search of God, Rupam Sarmah
In the Land of Blood and Honey, Gabriel Yared
In Time, Craig Armstrong
Insidious, Joseph Bishara
The Iron Lady, Thomas Newman
J. Edgar, Clint Eastwood Jane Eyre, Dario Marianelli
The Lady, Eric Serra
Like Crazy, Dustin O’Halloran
Margaret, Nico Muhly
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Michael Giacchino
Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Rolfe Kent
Moneyball, Mychael Danna
Monte Carlo, Michael Giacchino
New Year’s Eve, John Debney
Norman, Andrew Bird
One Day, Rachel Portman, composer
Puss in Boots, Henry Jackman
Rampart, Dickon Hinchliffe
Real Steel, Danny Elfman
Rebirth, Philip Glass
Red Riding Hood, Alex Heffes and Brian Reitzell
Restless, Danny Elfman
Rio, John Powell
Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Patrick Doyle
The Rite, Alex Heffes
The Rum Diary, Christopher Young
Sanctum, David Hirschfelder
Sarah’s Key, Max Richter
Senna, Antonio Pinto
Shame, Harry Escott
The Skin I Live In, Alberto Iglesias
The Smurfs, Heitor Pereira
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Rachel Portman
Super 8, Michael Giacchino
Take Shelter, David Wingo
The Thing, Marco Beltrami
Thor, Patrick Doyle
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Alberto Iglesias
Tower Heist, Christophe Beck
W.E., Abel Korzeniowski
War Horse, John Williams
Warrior, Mark Isham
Water for Elephants, James Newton Howard
The Way, Tyler Bates
We Bought a Zoo, Jon Thor Birgisson
We Need to Talk about Kevin, Jonny Greenwood
Win Win, Lyle Workman
Winnie the Pooh, Henry Jackman
X-Men: First Class, Henry Jackman
Young Adult, Rolfe Kent
Your Highness, Steve Jablonsky
A Reminder List of works submitted in the Original Score category will be sent with a nominations ballot to all members of the Music Branch who shall vote in the order of their preference for not more than five achievements. The five achievements receiving the highest number of votes will become the nominations for final voting for the award.

To be eligible, the original score must be a substantial body of music that serves as original dramatic underscoring, and must be written specifically for the motion picture by the submitting composer. Scores diluted by the use of tracked themes or other preexisting music, diminished in impact by the predominant use of songs, or assembled from the music of more than one composer will not be eligible.

The 84th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Tuesday, January 24, 2012, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2011 will be presented on Sunday, February 26, 2012, at the Kodak Theatre at the Hollywood and Highland Center, and televised live by the ABC Television Network.


  1. Question, please: The most striking piece of music in 'Another Earth' (the musical saw scene: ) was not written by the two main composers you have listed for the film. If 'Another Earth' is chosen as a candidate, won't all the music in the film be taken into account, and therefore, shouldn't the 3rd composer be included in the nomination?
    Thank you in advance.

  2. Dear Michelle,

    I shall attempt to answer your question. First of all, I only report what the Academy tells me in its press releases and second, this list contains the scores eligible for nomination.

    However, I can see why this is confusing since Scott Mumson contributed a small segment to the score, but in this case the score itself is attributed to the musical duo, Fall On Your Sword, who undoubtedly contributed the bulk of the material. That duo consists of Phil Mossman and Will Bates, who are credited as the composers. Munson's contribution is being called a piece, or snippet of music within the score.

    The rules state the nomination and award goes to the persons or person who contributes the largest amount of original material within the score, and that would be Mossman and Bates, the duo Fall On Your Sword.

    Frankly, it is a lovely piece, and the producers should have, if they didn't, nominate it as an original song and call it something like, "Song of the Saw" from 'Another Earth'. If Scott Munson does something like this again, I suggest he insist on it.

    I enjoyed learning about this. Thanks!

  3. Thank you very much for this thorough explanation! I really appreciate your kindness in explaining it to me!


Thank you for commenting! Mimi