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OSCARS: Music brings contrasts, global view

John Williams lands 48th nom while Danna scores first Acad honors

With Thursday’s Oscar nominations in the music categories, the Academy offered up some notable contrasts.

John Williams scored a record 48th nomination, while veteran Canadian composer Mychael Danna scored his first two.

Williams, 80, was nominated for his music for “Lincoln,” his 26th film for Steven Spielberg over the last 38 years. The most-nominated living individual of all, he already has five Oscars (three of which were for Spielberg: “Jaws,” “E.T.” and “Schindler’s List”).

Again this year it was an international crowd: Americans Williams and Thomas Newman (“Skyfall”) plus Canadian Danna (“Life of Pi”), French composer Alexandre Desplat (“Argo”) and Italian Dario Marianelli (“Anna Karenina”). Aside from Williams, only Marianelli has won before (for “Atonement” in 2007).

Danna was the sole composer to score two noms, the second for his song “Pi’s Lullaby” (co-written with Bombay Jayashri, who sings it in “Life of Pi”).

The competition in the song category is formidable. For only the second time in Oscar history, a James Bond movie scored nominations for both song and score (the last time was the song “Nobody Does It Better” and Marvin Hamlisch’s score for “The Spy Who Loved Me” in 1977).

The “Skyfall” title song (by English superstar Adele and her producer Paul Epworth, both first-time nominees) is the only commercial hit in the bunch. And “Suddenly,” the new song in “Les Miserables” (by composer Claude-Michel Schonberg and lyricists Alain Boublil and Herbert Kretzmer) could find favor among voters as the only way to honor the year’s biggest musical in a music category.

In a rare instance of the Oscar host also being a nominee, Seth MacFarlane (along with his “Family Guy” composer Walter Murphy) is nommed for the swinging big-band number “Everybody Needs a Best Friend,” which Norah Jones sang in MacFarlane’s movie “Ted.”

The unpredictable entry in the song category was “Before My Time,” written by New York composer J. Ralph and sung by Scarlett Johansson in the climate-change documentary “Chasing Ice.”

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