The Dark Knight's Score Disqualified From Oscar Consideration
by Alex Billington
November 13, 2008
Like it or not, The Dark Knight is going to keep popping up in headlines all the way through to the Oscars in February, so just be prepared. This latest news is rather disappointing for those who were a fan of Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard's score - that even I'd been strongly supporting since June. The executive committee of the Academy music branch has disqualified their score from Oscar consideration this year. This actually happened to their Batman Begins score in 2005 as well, so this isn't the first time. The Academy's reason behind the disqualification states that five names were listed as composers, and Zimmer and Howard were only credited for "more than 60%, but less than 70%" of the score.
Zimmer mentioned that the reason why they included multiple names on the cue sheet is because it's a way of financially rewarding parts of the music team who helped make the overall work successful. In addition to Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard, music editor Alex Gibson, ambient music designer Mel Wesson, and composer Lorne Balfe were all listed. The five of them all signed an affidavit stating that the score was primarily the work of Zimmer and Howard, but that wasn't enough to convince the committee. Much like the Director's Guild of America, apparently multiple-composer collaboration is frowned upon formally, which is odd considering Zimmer and Howard are two of the greatest composers working today.
The reason why I excitedly took on that interview with Zimmer and Howard back in June is because I'm a huge fan of both of them individually, but also loved their extraordinary work on Batman Begins. In fact, it's my personal all-time favorite score, which says a lot about my love of their work. Subsequently, The Dark Knight took everything about that score and upped the ante a bit more. I know I'm not the only one who loved it which is what will make this news so disappointing. For those who still do want to show their appreciation to Zimmer and Howard, even though their score won't be at the Oscars this year, Warner Brothers is re-releasing a two-disc special edition of the soundtrack on December 8th.