The ASCAP Screen Music Awards kicked off a four-day virtual celebration Monday morning with the naming of winners in the peer-voted ASCAP Composers’ Choice Awards, with the score for Pixar’s “Soul” managing to notch yet another triumph as its sweep continues virtually unabated.
The number of categories for the performing rights organization’s still fairly new division of awards voted by fellow songwriters and composers was expanded in this round, with documentary score and television theme of the year being added for 2021.
In the film score of the year category, the “Soul” music proved that it has some life — or afterlife — left in it yet after recently triumphing at the Oscars. The award went to Trent Reznor and Jon Batiste, two of the composing trio behind the music. (The third partner, Atticus Ross, did not win because he’s not an ASCAP signatory, although his mantle probably isn’t hurting for sitting this one out.)
A television score of the year award replaces the former TV composer of the year category, with the award more clearly going for a single piece of work. It went to R&B legend Raphael Saadiq for his work on the socially resonant horror drama “Lovecraft Country.”
American dystopian horror moved into the near-future instead of near-past for “The Last of Us Part II,” which landed Gustavo Santaolalla an award for videogame score of the year.
Television theme of the year went to legendary neo-classical composer Philip Glass and Paul Leonard-Morgan for their music for the Emmy-nominated sci-fi series “Tales from the Loop.”
For documentary score of the year, the winner was Steven Price, for his work on “David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet.”
With traditional in-person proceedings still being on hold this year due to the lingering effects of the pandemic, the rollout of winners came on ASCAP’s social media. The PRO’s Instagram accounts (@ASCAP and @ASCAPScreen) feature acceptance speeches from Batiste, Price, Glass, Leonard-Morgan and Santaolalla. Three of the winners, Batiste, Leonard-Morgan and Santaolalla, also contributed special performances.
Awards are also being given out in the more traditional, non-voted categories that have long been a mainstay of the ASCAP Screen Music Awards, reflecting data for the most-performed music of the year.
David Vanacore won Most Performed Themes and Underscore for multiple shows, including “Survivor” and “Biggest Loser.”
The top winner for scoring for a cable television series was Bear McCreary for “The Walking Dead.”
The main theme for “NCIS” won Matthew Hawkins, Maurice “m.O” Jackson and Neil Martin the award for Top Network Television Series.
Among feature films, Rupert Gregson-Williams received the Top Box Office Film honor for “The Eight Hundred.”
A full list of 2021 ASCAP Screen Music Awards winners, along with speeches, performances and other presentations, is available at www.ascap.com/screenawards21.
Other content can be found under the hashtag #ASCAPAwards on the org’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as on Instagram at @ASCAP and @ASCAPScreen.