As some of you may know, I’m a member of the International Film Music Critics Association. As the name suggests, we’re a group of critics and journalists from around the world dedicated to promoting film music appreciation. Every year we vote on various “bests” in film music, as a sort of movie score-exclusive version of the Oscars (without the ceremony, granted). While I don’t always agree with the selections my fellow peers deem outstanding, I actually do think we’ve agreed on some excellent choices this year (and you’ll see some overlap with my own best of 2012 post from a few weeks ago). I’m posting the press release below, and I strongly recommend giving it a look. Also, if you would like to hear clips from some of the winners and nominees, click here for our annual podcast (you even get to hear my voice introducing one of the pieces). And with no more ado:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
INTERNATIONAL FILM MUSIC CRITICS ASSOCIATION HONORS MULTIPLE FILMS; “LIFE OF PI” TAKES SCORE OF THE YEAR BUT DESPLAT, ELFMAN, GIACCHINO, NEWMAN, VELÁZQUEZ, WILLIAMS ALSO WIN
FEBRUARY 21, 2013 — The International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) announces its list of winners for excellence in musical scoring in 2012. Unlike in previous years, where one score has taken multiple victories, the main film prizes are split equally between 11 different movies and composers, the greatest spread in IFMCA history.
The award for Score of the Year goes to Canadian composer MYCHAEL DANNA for his score for director Ang Lee’s vivid shipwreck drama LIFE OF PI. Danna’s dramatic and beautiful score made use of a large number of Indian musical elements in addition to a traditional western orchestra, capturing through music one the film’s key ideas, the collision of different cultures to form the large, ethnic melting pot from which the lead character, Pi Patel, originates. This is the first Score of the Year award from the IFMCA for Golden Globe winner and double-Oscar nominee Danna, who had never previously been nominated in this category, although he did receive five previous nominations in genre categories for scores such as BEING JULIA, THE NATIVITY STORY and THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS.
Hollywood A-lister DANNY ELFMAN was named Film Composer of the Year for his outstanding body of work in 2012, during which he composed music for such popular and successful films as DARK SHADOWS, FRANKENWEENIE, HITCHCOCK. MEN IN BLACK III, PROMISED LAND and SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK. Elfman’s music in 2012 ran the gamut of styles and genres, from the soft rock of Silver Linings Playbook to the Gothic atmospherics of Dark Shadows and Frankenweenie, to the subtle Bernard Herrmann echoes of Hitchcock, cementing his position as one of the most versatile and sought-after composers working today. This is the second Composer of the Year Award Elfman has received from the IFMCA, having previously been similarly honored for his work in 2008.
The IFMCA’s ongoing recognition of emerging talent in the film music world this year spotlights 37-year-old Colorado-born composer NATHAN JOHNSON, who was named Breakout Composer of the Year for his unconventionally percussive music for the acclaimed sci-fi thriller LOOPER. To create the film’s unique aural atmosphere Johnson took a standard small orchestra, featuring mainly strings and piano, and augmented them with a massive array of sampled sounds and processed percussion effects, ranging from trash can lids, an oscillating fan, and gunfire to hammered PVC tubes and fire alarms. The end result is cacophonous, unsettling, but weirdly fascinating music that somehow manages to bring together these seemingly random and incoherent musical collisions of sounds into a propulsive, exciting score.
Spanish composer FERNANDO VELÁZQUEZ wrote the IFMCA’s Film Music Composition of the Year – “The Impossible Main Title” from director Juan Antonio Bayona’s film THE IMPOSSIBLE, which tells the story of a family caught up in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Velázquez’s main title is an overwhelming emotional powerhouse, capturing both the tragedy of the situation and the sense of desperation felt by the family concerned. The score was recorded by the excellent string section of the London Metropolitan Orchestra at the historic Abbey Road Studios, and has been praised by numerous mainstream film critics as one of the outstanding elements of the film. This is the first IFMCA Award win for Velázquez, who was previously nominated for his scores EL ORFANATO (THE ORPHANAGE) in 2007 and GARBO: EL ESPÍA in 2009.
The various genre awards were won by JOHN WILLIAMS for director Steven Spieberg’s historical drama LINCOLN, WALTER MURPHY for the raucous comedy TED, THOMAS NEWMAN for his work on the near-universally lauded James Bond film SKYFALL, MICHAEL GIACCHINO for the epic Edgar Rice Burroughs space adventure JOHN CARTER, ALEXANDRE DESPLAT for the whimsical fantasy animation RISE OF THE GUARDIANS, and Finnish composer PANU AALTIO for his music for the beautiful nature documentary METSÄN TARINA.
In the non-film categories, British composer MURRAY GOLD won the award for Best Original Score for a Television Series for his outstanding work on the most recent season of the classic BBC science fiction show DOCTOR WHO, while composer AUSTIN WINTORY won the award for Best Original Score for a Video Game or Interactive Media for his score for the groundbreaking game JOURNEY, which earlier this year made history by being the first Video Game score nominated for a Grammy.
La-La Land Records won the Best Archival Release of an Existing Score award for their magnificent release of Jerry Goldsmith’s classic 1979 score STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE, newly re-mastered and re-released in a lavish 3-CD set. They also continued their monopoly of the Film Music Record Label of the Year category, winning for the third straight year, and solidifying their position at the top of the list of labels specializing in lovingly restoring the greatest film music of the past.
Finally, conductor Nic Raine and producers James Fitzpatrick and Luc Van de Ven won the Best Archival Re-Recording of an Existing Score award for the monumental re-recording of Miklós Rózsa’s score for the epic 1951 film QUO VADIS?, which featured stellar performances from the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.
2012 Film Categories
FILM SCORE OF THE YEAR
• LIFE OF PI, music by Mychael Danna
FILM COMPOSER OF THE YEAR
• DANNY ELFMAN
BREAKOUT COMPOSER OF THE YEAR
• NATHAN JOHNSON
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A DRAMA FILM
• LINCOLN, music by John Williams
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A COMEDY FILM
• TED, music by Walter Murphy
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR AN ACTION/ADVENTURE/THRILLER FILM
• SKYFALL, music by Thomas Newman
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A FANTASY/SCIENCE FICTION/HORROR FILM
• JOHN CARTER, music by Michael Giacchino
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR AN ANIMATED FEATURE
• RISE OF THE GUARDIANS, music by Alexandre Desplat
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
• METSÄN TARINA, music by Panu Aaltio
FILM MUSIC COMPOSITION OF THE YEAR
• “The Impossible Main Title” from THE IMPOSSIBLE, music by Fernando Velázquez
Other 2012 Categories
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A TELEVISION SERIES
• DOCTOR WHO, music by Murray Gold
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A VIDEO GAME OR INTERACTIVE MEDIA
• JOURNEY, music by Austin Wintory
BEST ARCHIVAL RELEASE OF AN EXISTING SCORE
• STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE, music by Jerry Goldsmith; album produced by Didier C. Deutsch, Mike Matessino, Bruce Botnick, MV Gerhard, Matt Verboys and David C. Fein; liner notes by Jeff Bond and Mike Matessino; album art direction by Jim Titus (La-La Land)
BEST ARCHIVAL RE-RECORDING OF AN EXISTING SCORE
• QUO VADIS?, music by Miklós Rózsa; conducted by Nic Raine; album produced by James Fitzpatrick and Luc Van de Ven; liner notes by Frank K. DeWald; album art direction by GINKO DIGI (Prometheus/Tadlow)
FILM MUSIC RECORD LABEL OF THE YEAR
• LA-LA LAND RECORDS, MV Gerhard, Matt Verboys
The International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) is an association of online, print and radio journalists who specialize in writing about original film and television music.
Since its inception, the IFMCA has grown to comprise almost 60 members from countries as diverse as Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
Previous IFMCA Score of the Year Awards have been awarded to John Williams’ WAR HORSE in 2011, John Powell’s HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON in 2010, Michael Giacchino’s UP in 2009, Alexandre Desplat’s THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON in 2008, Dario Marianelli’s ATONEMENT in 2007, James Newton Howard’s LADY IN THE WATER in 2006, John Williams’ MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA in 2005 and Michael Giacchino’s THE INCREDIBLES in 2004.
For more information about the International Film Music Critics Association visit filmmusiccritics.org or facebook.com/ifmca, follow us at twitter.com/IFMCA, or contact us