The list of music winners at the Golden Globes Sunday night bore a strange resemblance to the list of honorees in those two categories 10 years ago. Diane Warren, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross all repeated their wins from one decade ago.
They all had additional help this time, though. Reznor and Ross, who won in 2011 for “The Social Network,” repeated that victory in 2021 with the score for “Soul” — but they shared it with Jon Batiste, who composed the jazz parts of the film. It marked only the second time in the history of the Globes that a trio has triumphed in the category.
Warren won for “Io Sì (Seen)” from Netflix’s “The Life Ahead,” sharing the honor with singer Laura Pausini and Niccolò Agliardi. Warren’s win 10 years ago was for “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me” from “Burlesque.”
The musical landscape for Pixar’s “Soul” was divided between two worlds. “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” resident band frontman Jon Batiste used a jazz-filled, hectic musical palette to reflect New York City and the world of Joe Gardner, the middle-school band teacher who yearns to be a jazz pianist in the Pete Docter-directed animated feature. The celestial world is also known as “the Great Before.” was where composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross stepped in to work on the music of the soul world where everything is translucent and opaque.
The last time three composers (Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Byrne, and Cong Su) won in the category was in 1987 for “The Last Emperor.”
Amusingly, presenter Tracy Morgan announced the score winner as “Sal”; it was not immediately clear whether the joke was intentional, but he chuckled at himself afterward, as if he’d accidentally misspoken. Later, co-host Tiny Fey made a “Sal” joke, and Morgan took to Twitter to clarify: “Sorry SOUL. I was thinking about the pizza I was going to get from my guy SAL on the way home!!”
Warren thanked the filmmakers of the Sophia Loren-starring “The Life Ahead” “for letting us be a part of your amazing movie. It’s such a beautiful story about people who aren’t really seen, and they see each other and see each other thorugh love, so that’s what inspired this song.” Said Pausini, “I feel so proud. I have goose bumps everywhere.”
Accepting the “Soul” award on-screen, Batiste said, “We must follow our dreams because we only have one life to live and one soul. This soul is happy today to be recognized. I’d like to thank God for music and film and the togetherness it brings when put together in such innovative and collaborative ways as this has been.”
Reznor followed, saying, “It really means a lot… Also, I think this is the first piece of art if’ve ever made in my life that I can actually show to my kids, so thank you, Pixar.”
Reznor and Ross had two separate nominations in the score category, having also been put up for their work on “Mank,” but any thought that the Reznor/Ross vote might be split between the two films turned out not to be a worry for the pair.
The three score winners for “Soul” released separate statements following their video acceptance speeches.
“Thank you so much Hollywood Foreign Press Association,” said Reznor and Ross in a joint statement. “It started with the surreal opportunity to work with Pixar, and now we find ourselves here… Being able to help tell this story and dig into these emotions set against the backdrop of such a trying and isolating year has truly been an honor (and a lifesaver!). To Pete, Kemp, Dana and the whole Pixar gang: you’ve achieved that rarest of things — you managed to exceed whatever impossible expectations we projected on you. To Jon, we couldn’t ask for a more generous and inspiring partner. Thank you.”
Wrote Batiste: “Wow! Such an honor to be recognized by the Hollywood Foreign Press as part of this innovative and transcendent body of work. Collaborating with Pixar, Trent and Atticus has been a highlight of my creative life thus far. Thank you to God for giving me the vision for the music. Thank you to all the supporters of the film around the world — we feel your love. Thank you to my family and close friends for your unconditional support during the two-year creative process. Lastly, thank you to the innovators of Black music for giving the world the sacred lineage of jazz.”
Speaking with Variety about the “Life Ahead” song in October, Warren said, “What struck me was I saw the word ‘Seen’ and I thought of the characters. The boy (Ibrahima Gueye) is this criminal kid and she’s (Loren) a former prostitute and they’re living on the outside. No one really sees them, and through their relationship, they truly see each other and love one another.”
Pausini said, “I was thrilled by this song since the first time I listened to it. It was such a great pleasure to have the opportunity to collaborate with Diane Warren. We met many years ago, but we were right to choose this particular moment for our first collaboration. I admire her so much and when she called me to propose the song I understood that finally the time had come for our careers to match. I’m so excited to see Sophia back on the screen. I appreciate her generosity in interpreting a very intense Italian story, with an important social cause that, unfortunately, still exists. Edoardo Ponti sent me the movie in advance this summer and he told me that he desired so much that it was my voice to bring the message of the movie all over the world and I was so flattered.”
In winning for best song, Warren and company beat out contenders from “Judas and the Black Messiah,” “One Night in Miami,” “Trial of the Chicago 7” and “The United States vs. Billie Holiday.” All of the Globes song contenders except the “Billie Holiday” tune are on the Oscars’ recently announced shortlist of 15 possible nominees.
The score for “Soul,” besides beating out Reznor and Ross’ “Mank” work, also came in ahead of scores for “The Midnight Sky,” “Tenet” and “News of the World.”