×

‘Drive,’ ‘Marilyn’ miss Oscar score cut

Acad's strict rules can derail composers' chances

Although the Academy on Thursday released a list of 97 scores that are eligible for nomination for the 2011 Oscars, what’s more interesting is the list of the ones that were disqualified, including the music for “Drive” and “My Week With Marilyn.”

Both were considered possible finalists but were disqualified, sources inside the music-branch executive committee say, because they ran afoul of the Acad’s strict rules.

In the case of Cliff Martinez’s music for “Drive,” sources say there were two problems: songs instead of score at key dramatic points, and Martinez not being the only composer listed on the official studio cue sheet. Apparently two other names were included as contributing to some cues.

Acad rules disqualify “scores… diminished in impact by the predominant use of songs, or assembled from the music of more than one composer.”

The cue sheet is the official studio record of who composed each cue, or individual piece of music, in a score. Exact timings, how each is used and music publishing information are also included.

In the case of “My Week With Marilyn,” composer Conrad Pope submitted his score but the theme written by Alexandre Desplat (used by Pope throughout the film) had an impact that was “too great to overlook,” the committee ruled.

Committee members explained that the score might have been eligible if Desplat and Pope had directly collaborated — as last year’s Oscar winners, “Social Network” composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, did — and had they submitted together as a team. But Desplat wrote his theme and then moved on; Pope wrote a score that incorporated the Desplat theme at key moments.

“I’m disappointed, but I understand the Academy’s ruling,” said Pope. Martinez could not immediately be reached; his score for “Contagion” remains eligible.

Also disqualified by the committee were Marco Beltrami’s score for “Soul Surfer” (again, too many names on the cue sheet, a commitee source said) and Michael Giacchino’s score for “50 / 50” (too many songs “diluting” the impact of the score).

The concept of “partial contributors” — another Acad rulebook phrase — has been increasingly problematic for the music branch in recent years. It started with “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight,” when screen-credited composers Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard weren’t the only ones listed on the Warner Bros. cue sheet.

Zimmer later explained that he added names of people who assisted in the creation of the score in order to ensure that they were financially rewarded later on, since the cue sheet is used to determine performance royalties and assures that those listed will make back-end money (sometimes substantial sums, as with the “Batman” films).

“The issue of authorship is often confused when there are other names attached to that of the submitting composer,” a high-ranking committee member said. “It’s hard, if not impossible, to determine what sort of work the other name represents. Who did what?”

The number of scores that are being created with very low budgets has led to a growing misuse of the film’s cue sheet to later compensate orchestrators and technical assistants, officials say, something that performing-rights societies ASCAP and BMI frown upon.

They say the cue sheet is the only legal document that can be relied on to precisely determine authorship of a score.

More Music

  • Hugh Jackman 39th Brit Awards, Show,

    Concert Review: Hugh Jackman Sparkles and Shines at the Hollywood Bowl

    Hugh Jackman is out to prove he truly is the greatest showman. On Friday and Saturday night, Jackman’s “The Man. The Music. The Show.” world tour stopped in Los Angeles for a sold-out two nights at the Hollywood Bowl. Ten years ago, Jackman hosted the 2009 Oscars just a few blocks south of the venue at [...]

  • Portrait of author and writer Paul

    Paul Krassner, Satirist, Yippies Co-Founder and Counter-Culture Figure, Dies at 87

    Satirist, publisher, author and American counter-culture figure Paul Krassner died at his home in Desert Hot Springs, California on July 21. He was 87. His daughter Holly Krassner Dawson, confirmed the news to the Associated Press. Born in New York City on April 9, 1932, Krassner eventually moved to Southern California where he lived with [...]

  • Cameron Crowe, David Crosby, A.J. Eaton.

    Cameron Crowe on Why He Loved Leaving David Crosby Doc on a CSNY Question Mark

    David Crosby may or may not have stuck a joint in Cameron Crowe’s mouth the first time he ever met the future filmmaker, when Crosby was peaking with Crosby Stills Nash & Young and his interviewer was a precocious 15-year-old Rolling Stone correspondent. As Crowe said to Jimmy Kimmel the other night, “I remember it [...]

  • Adam Lambert Queen

    Concert Review: Queen and Adam Lambert Capitalize on 'Bohemian Rhapsody'

    About half way through Queen and Adam Lambert’s Saturday night show at the Forum in Inglewood, guitarist Brian May took the stage solo to perform a few numbers. He began by acknowledging that day’s 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing, as the video screen behind him streamed a real-time replay of the Apollo [...]

  • R Kelly Sexual Assult Accusations Mugshot

    R. Kelly to Face Charges in New York on Aug. 2

    R. Kelly has been ordered brought to New York for his arraignment on racketeering charges that allege he recruited young girls for sexual abuse at concerts across the country, according to the Chicago Tribune. The charges are part of multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against the singer that have been filed this year. Kelly, who [...]

  • Sturgill Simpson Announces New Anime Film,

    Sturgill Simpson Announces an Anime Film — and Album to Go With It — at Comic-Con

    From alt-country hero to anime producer, Grammy winner Sturgill Simpson is broadening his horizons. Appearing on a panel Saturday night at Comic-Con, Simpson announced an animated Netflix film, “Sound & Fury,” that he’s producing and wrote the original story for, to be accompanied by a simultaneously released album this fall he describes as “sleazy, steamy [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content