John Williams, Son Lux among Oscar score nominees; Female composers are excluded

John Williams, 90, received his 53rd nomination, and a team of composers was nominated for original score for the eighth time in Oscar history during this morning’s Academy Awards nominations.

Yet despite the presence of two women and three African-American composers on this year’s shortlist of 15 films, none made the final five. So Chanda Dancy (“Devotion”) and Hildur Guðnadóttir (“Talking Women”) were left out, as were Michael Abels (“Nope”) and Terence Blanchard (“The King Woman”).

With his nomination for “The Fabelmans,” the venerable Williams, who scored his 29th film in the last 50 years for director Steven Spielberg, retains his record as the most nominated composer and most nominated living person. He already has five Oscars, including three for Spielberg (“Jaws,” “ET” and “Schindler’s List”).

Son Lux’s nomination for “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is especially interesting since the branch rarely nominates films with more than one composer. In this case, the experimental band (Ryan Lott, Rafiq Bhatia, Ian Chang) was cited for their almost wall-to-wall music for the multiverse comedy-drama.

And two members of the band are people of color, so the music branch didn’t go completely white, as has been the case in the past.

Of the seven previous nominated scores written by three or more composers, three have won: “Limelight” in 1972, “The Last Emperor” in 1987 and “Soul” in 2020. Son Lux founder Lott is also nominated for the Best Song (“This Is the Life” from “Everything Everywhere”) along with David Byrne, who was one of the Oscar winners for “Last Emperor”.

Son Lux is the only newcomer to the Oscar race for the score. German composer Volker Bertelmann, a previous nominee (for “Lion”), was nominated for “All Quiet on the Western Front,” while Carter Burwell (twice nominated for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and “Carol”) made the “The Banshees of Inisherin” list.

Justin Hurwitz, a two-time 2017 “La La Land” song and score winner, is back in the running with “Babylon,” his latest film with “La La Land” director Damien Chazelle. He recently won the Golden Globe for his wild and direct jazz score for the early Hollywood three-hour epic.

Another surprise this morning was the omission of French composer Alexandre Desplat, who is generally a favorite of the branch and whose music for Guillermo del Toro’s “Pinocchio” was widely praised; he was ready for both the song and the score and missed both.

Two of the biggest box office hits of the season were chances in this category for their large-scale orchestral and choral work for massive epics, but they didn’t make the cut: “Avatar: The Way of Water” by Simon Franglen and Ludwig Göransson. for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”. Göransson, however, is up for best song, as he co-wrote that film’s “Lift Me Up” with director Ryan Coogler, Rihanna and Tems (and already won for the original score for “Black Panther” in 2019).

Guðnadóttir’s omission came as a surprise, as the branch had disqualified her score for “Tar” and, as a current Hollywood darling (after her 2019 win for “Joker”), she was considered a likely nominee for her other score. of 2022. “Women Speaking”.

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