Steven Price, Bear McCreary and Dave

At its 29th annual Film & Television Music Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Wednesday night, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers decided to introduce a little drama into what is normally a grip-and-grin affair where the honorees are all pre-determined.

The event marked the introduction of ASCAP’s Composers’ Choice Awards, which were bestowed on Steven Price (“Gravity”) in the film score category, and Bear McCreary (“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “The Walking Dead”) and Dave Porter (“The Blacklist,” “Breaking Bad”), who tied for the TV composer honor.

The new kudos are a curatorial nod from a performance rights organization that usually bases its awards on the kind of popularity that can be measured in dollars and cents. And for the occasion, ASCAP opened up the voting process to all of its writer members for the first time in its kudofest history.

There was another inaugural laurel presented during the evening, the Shirley Walker Award, which went to Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman (a.k.a. Wendy & Lisa), who came of age toiling in the rock/R&B trenches as part of Prince’s band The Revolution. They have since become Emmy-winning TV composers thanks to their theme music for “Nurse Jackie.”

They were honored based on achievements that contributed to the diversity of film and television music. The kudo is named after the ASCAP member who is considered a female pioneer in her field.

Those honored for the top box office films and the highest rated television series in 2013 are too many to name here. Let’s just suffice it to say that 17 songwriters and performers were cited for “The Great Gatsby” alone, including its primary composer, Craig Armstrong.

Composers like Marco Beltrami and Henry Jackman were honored for as many as four films apiece, while there was even an award for the most performance credits on network, local and cable television (Sean Callery, John Debney and James Levine, among them).

Live entertainment included Ed Robertson of the Barenaked Ladies, who performed his theme from “The Big Bang Theory.”
For a complete list of the honorees, go to http://www.ascap.com/press/pressroom/filmtvawards.aspx.

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