2012 Academy Award nominations
The nominations for the 2012 Oscars have been announced by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and in the Best Original Score category the nominees represent a broad cross-section of the most critically acclaimed films of the year. The nominees are:
- MYCHAEL DANNA for Life of Pi
- ALEXANDRE DESPLAT for Argo
- DARIO MARIANELLI for Anna Karenina
- THOMAS NEWMAN for Skyfall
- JOHN WILLIAMS for Lincoln
This is the first Oscar nomination for Canadian composer Mychael Danna, who also picked up Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations for his wonderful score for Life of Pi, in my opinion the front runner to pick up the award. John Williams cements his position as the most critically acclaimed living film composer with his 48th Oscar nomination for his score for Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. The other three composers – Alexandre Desplat, Dario Marianelli and Thomas Newman –all have multiple prior nominations, with Marianelli having previously won for Atonement in 2007.
The most unexpected nomination is that of Thomas Newman for the James Bond film Skyfall, which becomes only the second Bond score to be so nominated (after Marvin Hamlisch’s The Spy Who Loved Me in 1977) – astonishingly, none of John Barry’s iconic Bond scores or songs were ever nominated.
Some front running films whose scores were overlooked by the Academy include THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY by Howard Shore, THE IMPOSSIBLE by Fernando Velazquez, THE MASTER by Jonny Greenwood, THE SESSIONS by Marco Beltrami, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK by Danny Elfman, ZERO DARK THIRTY by Alexandre Desplat, and CLOUD ATLAS by Tom Tykwer, Reinhold Heil and Johnny Klimek, which was shut out of the Oscar nominations entirely. Similarly, fan-favorites such as THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN by James Horner, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES by Hans Zimmer, JOHN CARTER by Michael Giacchino and RISE OF THE GUARDIANS by Alexandre Desplat failed to impress the Academy’s music branch this year.
- My review of Life of Pi can be found here
- My review of Argo can be found here
- My review of Anna Karenina can be found here
- My review of Skyfall can be found here
- My review of Lincoln can be found here
In the Best Original Song category, AMPAS have – after several years of “wilderness” votes – chosen five outstanding songs from a wide variety of films. The nominees are:
- ADELE ATKINS and PAUL EPWORTH for “Skyfall” from Skyfall
- MYCHAEL DANNA and BOMBAY JAYASHRI for “Pi’s Lullaby” from Life of Pi
- WALTER MURPHY and SETH MACFARLANE for “Everybody Needs A Best Friend” from Ted
- JOSHUA RALPH for “Before My Time” from Chasing Ice
- CLAUDE-MICHEL SCHÖNBERG, ALAIN BOUBLIL and HERBERT KRETZMER for “Suddenly” from Les Misérables
“Skyfall”, performed by British bombshell soul singer Adele, is the first Bond song since “For Your Eyes Only” in 1981 to pick up a nomination, and could add another gong to her burgeoning list of accolades. Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil and Herbert Kretzmer could be the latest set of artists to move from Broadway to Hollywood with their nomination for the newly-penned song “Suddenly” from their smash hit musical-turned-movie from Les Misérables.
Mychael Danna picks up his second nomination for his gorgeous, intimate song “Pi’s Lullaby”, the opening title of the film Life of Pi, which he co-wrote with Indian vocalist Bombay Jayashri (who also performs the song). One of the biggest – but most pleasing – surprises is the nomination for the bubbly, upbeat jazz standard “Everybody Needs a Best Friend” from the hilarious Ted, written by the film’s composer Walter Murphy and director/writer/star Seth MacFarlane, and performed with gusto by singer Norah Jones. The final – and most surprising – nomination of all is that of composer Joshua Ralph’s song “Before My Time” from the environmentally-themed documentary Chasing Ice, which is performed in the film with smoky-voiced intimacy by actress Scarlett Johansson.
On a personal note, I’m sad that none of Andrew Feltenstein and John Nau’s brilliant, hilarious songs from CASA DE MI PADRE made the cut. Similarly, Ennio Morricone’s original song “Ancora Qui” from Quentin Tarantio’s slavery-era spaghetti western DJANGO UNCHAINED was omitted, despite its impassioned vocal by Italian pop star Elisa Toffoli.
- My review of Ted can be found here
Interestingly, the Best Score Oscar nominations this year mirror exactly the BAFTA Award nominations announced by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts just a few days ago, the first time that there has been such transatlantic consistency in the history of the two awards.
Overall Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln leads the way with 12 nominations in total. Life of Pi has 11 nominations, Les Misérables and Silver Linings Playbook have eight each, and Argo has seven. The other Best Picture nominees are Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained and Zero Dark Thirty.
The Academy Awards are presented on February 24th, 2013; the BAFTAs are handed out on February 10th.