Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dark Knight Score Disqualified From the Academy Awards

According to Variety, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has disqualified the score of The Dark Knight from consideration in the Academy Awards. Here's why:
Sources inside the committee said that the big issue was the fact that five names were listed as composers on the music cue sheet, the official studio document that specifies every piece of music (along with its duration and copyright owner) in the film.
This is absolutely infuriating. It was bad enough when they disqualified the score of There Will Be Blood last year for using eight minutes of preexisting material (thirty-five minutes were original). But this isn't even a matter of whether or not the music is original – The Dark Knight's score is being disqualified because the Academy thinks too many people are credited for it.

Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard, who collaborated on the score, gave credit to the three other people as "a way of financially rewarding parts of the music team who helped make the overall work successful" (as Zimmer stated in a recent interview). These people were the music editor, ambient music designer and ambient music composer. All three of them signed an affidavit saying that Howard and Zimmer were the primary composers.

I don't see what the Academy's problem is here. Thinking back to The Dark Knight, it's almost impossible to imagine how completely different the movie would have been without the work of those three individuals. There is no way to argue that their contributions weren't integral to the effectiveness of the score, and the fact that the Academy refuses to acknowledge credit where credit is due is absurd.

The Academy has been hanging from my high opinion by a loose thread for the last few years, and this certainly doesn't help its case. It's about time for the Academy to get off its high horse and start addressing some of the ridiculous hypocrisies and double standards that have been bringing it down for so long.

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