The Academy Award for Best Original Score is given each year to a composer for the best "substantial body of music" written specifically to underscore a film. To be eligible, the music must have been written just for the movie, and must have appeared first in the movie before being featured in other media or outside recordings. "Best Original Song" is considered a separate category - for individual songs rather than longer-form musical compositions - and is also handed out each year. The nominees for the 2012 Best Original Score Academy Award were announced on January 24, 2012.
The Original Score awards have taken many forms over the years. When first introduced in 1934, the award was presented to the entire music department that worked on a film and was for "Scoring" in general. (The first Oscar went to the Columbia Studio Music Department for its work on "One Night of Love.") In 1938, the category was renamed "Original Score" and specifically awarded to the composer who had written the score. (The first of these awards went to Erich Wolfgang Korngold for the classic "The Adventures of Robin Hood.")
Beginning the in 1940s, the category was split into "Score for a Dramatic Picture" and "Score for a Musical Picture" awards. (As well, during this time, any studio that submitted a film for an Oscar in that category received a nomination.) In the 1960s, this scheme shifted a bit, with awards now going to "Best Substantially Original Score" and a second to "Scoring of a Music-adaptation or Treatment," splitting it to account for musicals that had been brought to film frmo the stage. Only once in history did a single composer win in both of these categories in a single year - Marvin Hamlisch in 1974 for his work on "The Way We Were" and "The Sting." Interestingly, he also won Best Original Song that year for the theme from "The Way We Were," making him the only man in history to win 3 musical Oscars in a single night. (It's a record that will likely never be broken.) popular favorite John Williams - a potential 2011 nominee for "The Adventures of Tintin" and "War Horse" - has been nominated for the award an incredible 40 times.
Since 1985, and John Barry's win for the score to "Out of Africa," only one Best Original Score Oscar has been awarded yearly. A total of eight composers have won two years in a row, most recently Gustavo Santaolalla, who took the prize in 2005 and 2006 for "Brokeback Mountain" and "Babel," respectively.In 2010, former Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and his collaborator Atticus Ross won the Best Original Score category for their work on David Fincher's "The Social Network." The duo were also early favorites for their work in Fincher's follow-up, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," in 2011. Other frequently mentioned potential nominees in 2011 included "Jane Eyre," "Moneyball," "The Artist" and John Williams' two films for Steven Spielberg, "The Adventures of Tintin" and "War Horse."
Original Music by John Williams
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