John Williams earned two more Oscar nominations this year, tying the long-held record of 45 for the legendary Alfred Newman, composer on “Wuthering Heights,” “The Song of Bernadette” and “All About Eve,” among others. Newman earned nine Oscars, still more than any other composer in Hollywood history.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, however, has recently revised its Newman tally down to 43, denying the late composer’s 1937 noms for “The Hurricane” and “The Prisoner of Zenda.”
According to Academy spokesman John Pavlik, “the change from a paper history to an online history caused a number of changes in the way we listed things, in order to be as consistent as possible. Our records indicated that those two nominations went to the music department.”
Newman composed the scores for both ’37 films, and also served as head of the music departments for both Samuel Goldwyn Prods. (which made “Hurricane”) and David O. Selznick (which made “Zenda”), so his name was cited in both nominations at the time. Had he won, he would have accepted the Oscar both for himself as composer and as music-department head.
That is clear from press accounts of the time and virtually every Oscar reference book to date, matching the Newman family’s own understanding then and now.