Welcome back, everyone, to our Second Annual Temp Track Awards for Excellence in the Field of Scoring, coming to you live, this year, from a hotel suite at Temp Track Plaza – upgrading from last year’s broom closet. Anyway, the format this year is the same as last, with three awards being given out: Score Release of the Year, Score of the Year, and Composer of the Year. This year, though, I have assembled a Blue Ribbon Panel of voters to add variety to the proceedings. As before, with the first two categories, there will be 4 nominees and 1 winner. But with a panel of voters, I might mention other scores receiving votes. Well, enough with the preamble, let’s get right down to business.
First up we have Score Release of the Year. This award is for a CD release of either a new score or a new release of older material in either a complete, expanded, or otherwise different format from the original release. The overriding criteria is that the package somehow rises above that of a normal CD release. This was a tough category this year because there were numerous wonderful release this year, especially from the little label that could: La-La Land Records. And in fact all but one of the nominees came from La-La Land. So here we go, the runners-up are:
Jerry Goldsmith – The Edge (Complete Original Motion Picture Soundtrack): La-La Land Records
Alex North – Spartacus: Varese Sarabande
James Horner – Krull (Complete Original Motion Picture Soundtrack): La-La Land Records
And with a tie for the winner, the Tempi© goes to:
Danny Elfman – Batman (Expanded Archival Collection): La-La Land Records
Jerry Goldsmith – Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (Limited Edition): La-La Land Records
Quite the group, and three other La-La Land Release received votes from the panel: Batman Returns (Danny Elfman, expanded release), Human Target (Bear McCreary, 3-disc box set of music from the series), and Independence Day (David Arnold, limited edition release). Also getting votes was the Film Score Monthly release of Jerry Goldsmith’s score for Outland. It was a really tough call, which is partially why two release were honored in the end. A special mention should be made for the Spartacus set because it is the most complete and over-the-top special edition release ever, weighing in with 6 CDs of material, a DVD of interviews of composers reflecting on the score, plus a 100-page booklet. But with a price of over $100, it wasn’t for everyone.
Moving right along, next we come to the coveted Tempi© Award for Score of the Year. More coveted than any Oscar or Golden Globe, this is the award that sets the tone for the award season! Okay, not really, but this is the internet so an over-inflated sense of self-worth is par for the course. This year was an especially tough one, with many great scores being release, though many of them might be ignored by various awards presentations because of arcane rules (I’m looking at you AMPAS!). But here at The Temp Track, we make no such judgements and ask one very important, overriding questions: is it good? And in response to that, there were many very good scores this year, though one kept rising to the top or near the top of every ballot counted. But before we get to that, the four runners-up:
Carter Burwell – True Grit (Paramount Pictures)
Alexandre Desplat – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – The Social Network (Columbia Pictures)
Daft Punk – TRON: Legacy (Walt Disney Pictures)
But in the end, the award goes to:
Hans Zimmer – Inception (Warner Bros. Pictures)
As one panel member put it, “It’s become a lot of fun for me to watch Hans Zimmer continue to stretch himself out and he seems to have done this mightily over the course of the last few years. First we get The Dark Knight. Then goes and does something completely bizarre and radical in Sherlock Holmes and then creates a brilliant soundscape once again for Christopher Nolan’s Inception.” Also of note this year are Desplat’s other scores for The King’s Speech and The Ghost Writer, Clint Mansell’s excellent work on Black Swan, and Danny Elfman’s two scores from very early in the year: Alice in Wonderland and The Wolfman (two very good scores saddled with less than stellar pictures).
Finally, we must award the Alfred Newman Tempi© Award for Composer of the Year. Last year’s winner, Michael Giacchino, had a rather low-key year, only doing one significant score for Let Me In (worth listening to) along with wrapping up work on Lost, but expect to hear much from him in the year ahead. This year’s winner, though, doesn’t have many film credits to his name, but truly staked his claim as an up-and-comer. He’s been on this blog’s radar for sometime, but this year truly came into his own. This young lad goes by the name Bear McCreary. This year Bear continued his fine television scoring work and really reached a new level of composition with scores for Caprica and Human Target, though the former has been cancelled and he is no longer scoring the latter for some unfathomable reason. He also completed his first video game score for Capcom’s Dark Void and even inadvertently let to the creation of the throw-back Dark Void Zero, which has a wonderful, retro 8-bit score. He also continues to score Eureka and has just started in on two new series: The Walking Dead for AMC which debuted in October and NBC’s new superhero show The Cape, which aired its pilot earlier this week. He has numerous projects lined up for this year, and everyone here at The Temp Track is looking forward to hearing what he comes up with next. Congratulations, Bear!
Well, that’s all for now from the basement suite at Temp Track Plaza. It’s been a tremendous year for scoring and we can only hope that 2011 is even better. Look for my own personal 2010 wrap-up in the next few days. Last one out hit the lights!