Desplat, Zimmer, Burwell lead World Soundtrack nominees

Posted by · 4:52 pm · August 9th, 2010

The World Soundtrack Awards aren’t quite as authoritative as their lofty names implies — established in 2001 to accompany the annual Ghent Film Festival in Belgium, they are voted upon by an educational organization of film composers dubbing themselves the World Soundtrack Academy. Given their European origins, it’s interesting how much their awards overlap with those of American awards bodies.

Coming at this point in the calendar, this year’s nominees fudge together some first-half releases  from this year with a bunch of 2009 awards veterans. All the nominees for Score of the Year, for example, come under the latter heading, three of them having been Oscar-nominated. (The other two, “A Single Man” and “Where the Wild Things Are,” remain my two favourite scores of 2009: good on the WSA for remembering them.)

Looking at some of the 2010 titles getting mentioned, however, one has to wonder how deep they were digging: “Knight and Day” and “Alice in Wonderland” don’t belong within striking distance of any musical honor, even as part of a body of work.

(Full list of nominees after the jump.)

Landing nods in both the Composer of the Year and individual Score of the Year categories are Hans Zimmer (eligibility dates presumably cut out “Inception”), Carter Burwell (rarely recognized in such a fashion) and Alexandre Desplat, who won both these gongs at last year’s ceremony. Looking ahead to the coming awards race, the only title to take from here with any degree of seriousness is “How to Train Your Dragon,” nominated for both its popular score and its original song by Sigur Rós frontman Jon Birgisson.

Full list of nominees (via ScreenDaily):

Film Composer of the Year
Carter Burwell, “The Blind Side,” “Howl,” “The Kids Are All Right,” “A Serious Man,” “Where the Wild Things Are”
Alexandre Desplat, “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “The Ghost Writer,” “Julie & Julia,” “New Moon”
Danny Elfman, “Alice in Wonderland,” “The Wolf Man”
John Powell, “Green Zone,” “How to Train Your Dragon,” “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs,” “Knight and Day”
Hans Zimmer, “Despicable Me,” “It’s Complicated,” “Sherlock Holmes”

Original Film Score of the Year
James Horner, “Avatar”
Alexandre Desplat, “Fantastic Mr. Fox”
Hans Zimmer, “Sherlock Holmes”
Abel Korzeniowski, “A Single Man”
Carter Burwell and Karen O, “Where the Wild Things Are”

Best Original Song for a Film
James Horner, Simon Franglen and Kuk Harrell, “I See You” from “Avatar”
Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett, “The Weary Kind” from “Crazy Heart”
Paul McCartney, “I Want to Come Home” from “Everybody’s Fine”
Jon Birgisson, “Sticks and Stones” from “How to Train Your Dragon”
Randy Newman, “Almost There” from “The Princess and the Frog”


→ 18 Comments Tags: , , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

18 responses so far

  • 1 8-09-2010 at 5:17 pm

    Lucas said...

    Eugh, Carter Burwell. So overrated.

  • 2 8-09-2010 at 5:17 pm

    Mr. F said...

    I loved the score for Alice in Wonderland. It’s Elfman’s best in a while.

  • 3 8-09-2010 at 6:16 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Carter Burwell is so UNDERrated. What does that guy have to do to even be nominated for a damn Oscar? He’ s been putting out consistently phenomenal work for the past two decades, and in the last two he’s done “Where the Wild Things Are” (easily one of the best of 2009), “A Serious Man” (together with his other Coen brothers work, masterful), and now “The Kids Are All Right” (which is really really good and I haven’t seen it get noticed elsewhere at all!).

    “A Single Man” – so good! The Academy really screwed up last year, didn’t they?

  • 4 8-09-2010 at 6:45 pm

    Fitz said...

    I think Burwell would have to win several Oscars before he could be considered overrated. For the time being he’s criminally underrated.

  • 5 8-09-2010 at 7:19 pm

    Joe said...

    It’s gotta be Carter Burwell, doesn’t it? Really, he was an integral part of the two best movies of last year.

  • 6 8-10-2010 at 1:10 am

    caro said...

    i yet listened Elfman ‘s score 100 times before “alice”

  • 7 8-10-2010 at 7:05 am

    RJNeb2 said...

    Eugh, how can that awful dirge of a song from “Avatar” even be considered here? I know it was nominated for an Oscar but that doesn’t mean it was any good.

  • 8 8-10-2010 at 8:26 am

    Gustavo said...

    How could Burwell possibly be overrated, for the love of God…?

  • 9 8-10-2010 at 10:06 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    RJNeb2: Actually, in a rare demonstration of good judgement on the Academy’s part, it wasn’t nominated for an Oscar.

  • 10 8-10-2010 at 10:21 am

    Luke said...

    Alice in Wonderland is actually highly regarded in the film score community as not only one of this year’s top 3 best scores, but also as Elfman’s best effort since perhaps Edward Scissorhands. If it doesn’t get some awards attention this year, the film score community will continue to become disenchanted with the awards circuit. has already stopped reporting on the awards, but I hope the Academy and other voting bodies will start to turn things around this year.

  • 11 8-10-2010 at 10:59 am

    red_wine said...

    Scores like Alice, How To Train Your Dragon and Avatar deserve praise for their orchestral virtuosity, the sheer skill of the composer to create lucid, expressive, vivid almost tangible images and feelings through simply harnessing the full power of the instruments in their orchestra. They hark back to the golden era of film music, the kind of music written by John Williams and few others today.

    None of this shit with composers (like Zimmer) fiddling with knobs on a music mixer board or computer and passing it off as music or “soundscapes” or whatnot.

  • 12 8-10-2010 at 12:44 pm

    Luke said...

    red_wine: I agree completely. I like Zimmer occasionally, but even a lot of his fans are growing tired of his newer music that provides more of a “wall of sound” than anything else. I hope he can return to writing thematically-centered scores, but at least for now, we must suffer through more mindless crap like his score for Inception.

  • 13 8-10-2010 at 2:09 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Actually, “I See You” is a wonderful song in the context of “Avatar,” a fitting finale that pulls together the score’s theme and the spellbinding wonder of the movie that preceded it.

  • 14 8-10-2010 at 2:29 pm

    Kip Mooney said...

    So, “I See You” gets a nomination but no love for Michael Giacchino’s Oscar-winning score from Up? Yeesh.

  • 15 8-10-2010 at 2:32 pm

    Luke said...

    Up was probably honored last year because of the cut off date

  • 16 8-10-2010 at 2:39 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Indeed, Giacchino was nominated last year for his work on “Up,” “Star Trek” and “Land of the Lost.” He lost to Desplat.

  • 17 8-11-2010 at 6:41 pm

    Maxim said...

    Elfman owns Zimmer. Owns him. What makes me the happiest, however, is recognition for Burwell, one of my absolute favorites.

  • 18 8-11-2010 at 6:47 pm

    Maxim said...

    Not to be redundant as I just saw this:

    “Eugh, Carter Burwell. So overrated.”

    Sir, get your head examined. I assume your ears are working.

    Burwell is the MOST underrated composer in the business. If there was any justice we would be calling him an Academy Award winner by now.