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Academy Award for Best Original Score

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Title: Academy Award for Best Original Score  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: John Williams, List of French Academy Award winners and nominees, Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner, Maurice Jarre
Collection: Academy Awards, Best Original Music Score Academy Award Winners, Film Music Awards
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Academy Award for Best Original Score

Academy Award for Best Original Score
Country United States
Presented by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Currently held by Alexandre Desplat
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Official website

The Academy Award for Best Original Score is presented to the best substantial body of music in the form of dramatic underscoring written specifically for the film by the submitting composer.[1]


  • Superlatives 1
  • Female nominees 2
  • Notable nominees 3
  • Multiple nominations 4
  • Winners and nominees 5
    • 1930s 5.1
    • 1940s 5.2
    • 1950s 5.3
    • 1960s 5.4
    • 1970s 5.5
    • 1980s 5.6
    • 1990s 5.7
    • 2000s 5.8
    • 2010s 5.9
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


These are only for nominations in the Scoring categories. Nominations in other categories, such as the Original Song category, are not included.

Category Name Superlative
Most Awards Alfred Newman 9 awards
Most Nominations John Williams 44 nominations
Most Nominations without a win Alex North 14 nominations

Only one composer has won two Scoring Oscars the same year: in 1973, Marvin Hamlisch won Original Dramatic Score for The Way We Were and Best Adaptation Score, for The Sting. Hamlisch also won Best Song that year for The Way We Were (song), making him the only composer to win three music Oscars in the same year.

Only one composer has won Oscars three years in a row: Roger Edens won for Easter Parade (1948), On the Town (1949) and Annie Get Your Gun (1950).

Eight composers have won Oscars two years in a row:

  1. Ray Heindorf won for Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) and This is the Army (1943).
  2. Franz Waxman won for Sunset Boulevard (1950) and A Place in the Sun (1951).
  3. Alfred Newman won for With a Song in My Heart (1952) and Call Me Madam (1953). He won again for Love is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955) and The King and I (1956).
  4. Adolph Deutsch won for Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) and Oklahoma! (1955).
  5. Irma La Douce (1963) and My Fair Lady (1964).
  6. Leonard Rosenman won for Barry Lyndon (1975) and Bound for Glory (1976).
  7. Alan Menken won for Beauty and The Beast (1991) and Aladdin (1992).
  8. Gustavo Santaolalla won for Brokeback Mountain (2005) and Babel (2006).

Female nominees

Three women have won in the scoring categories. Two are composers: Rachel Portman, who won for Emma (1996), and Anne Dudley, who won for The Full Monty (1997); the third, is lyricist Marilyn Bergman, who won for Yentl (1983) in the Original Song Score category, sharing the award with co-lyricist Alan Bergman (her husband) and composer Michel Legrand.

The only female composers nominated for multiple Scoring Oscars are Rachel Portman, who was nominated for Emma (1996) (for which she won for Best Original Score), The Cider House Rules (1999) and Chocolat (2000); and Angela Morley, who was nominated twice in the Original Song Score category for The Little Prince (1974) and The Slipper and the Rose (1976).

Notable nominees

Dmitri Shostakovich and Duke Ellington were both nominated the same year but lost to arrangers of West Side Story.

Noted nominated composers known for their music mostly outside of the film world include: Aaron Copland, Kurt Weill, Gian-Carlo Menotti, Philip Glass, John Corigliano, Peter Maxwell Davies, Randy Newman, Stephen Schwartz, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Artie Shaw, Trent Reznor, Quincy Jones and Herbie Hancock.

Rock musicians and pop stars are most often nominated in the songwriting category. A handful that were nominated in the Scoring categories includes: Ringo Starr, Prince, Pete Townshend, Rod McKuen, Isaac Hayes, Kris Kristofferson, Quincy Jones, Randy Newman, Anthony Newley, Paul Williams, Tom Waits, David Byrne, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Trent Reznor and Matthew Wilder.

Record producers Beatles) and Jerry Wexler (Atlantic Records) also received nominations in the Scoring categories.

Multiple nominations

The following is a list of composers nominated more than once and winning at least one Academy Award. The list is sorted by number of wins, with the number of total nominations listed in parentheses. These do not include nominations (or wins) in the Best Original Song category.

The following composers have been nominated for a Best Original Score Oscar more than once but have yet to garner one. The number of nominations is listed in parentheses. These do not include nominations (or wins) in the Best Original Song category.

Winners and nominees

The following is the list of nominated composers organized by year, and listing both films and composers. The years shown in the following list of winners are the production years, thus a reference to 1967 means the Oscars presented in 1968 for films released in 1967.

Note: From 1934-1937, the head of the music department (rather than the actual composer or composers, in most cases) received the nominations or award.

Note: From 1937-1945, any studio was guaranteed a nomination just by submitting a qualified entry.







Best Original Score


Note: From 1995 to 1998, songwriters and lyricists along with orchestral underscore composers were also eligible for nominations in the "Musical or Comedy Score" category.[2]

Year Winner
1990 Dances with Wolves
John Barry
1991 Beauty and the Beast
Alan Menken
1992 Aladdin
Alan Menken
1993 Schindler's List
John Williams
1994 The Lion King
Hans Zimmer
1995 Dramatic Score:
The Postman (Il postino)
Luis Bacalov
Musical or Comedy Score:
– Music by Alan Menken; Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz; Orchestral Score by Alan Menken
1996 Dramatic Score:
The English Patient
Gabriel Yared
Musical or Comedy Score:
Rachel Portman
1997 Dramatic Score:
James Horner
Musical or Comedy Score:
The Full Monty
Anne Dudley
1998 Dramatic Score:
Life Is Beautiful
Nicola Piovani
Musical or Comedy Score:
Shakespeare in Love
Stephen Warbeck
1999 The Red Violin
John Corigliano


Year Winner
2000 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Tan Dun
2001 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Howard Shore
2002 Frida
Elliot Goldenthal
2003 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Howard Shore
2004 Finding Neverland
Jan A. P. Kaczmarek
2005 Brokeback Mountain
Gustavo Santaolalla
2006 Babel
Gustavo Santaolalla
2007 Atonement
Dario Marianelli
2008 Slumdog Millionaire
A. R. Rahman
2009 Up
Michael Giacchino


Year Winner
2010 The Social Network
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross
2011 The Artist
Ludovic Bource
2012 Life of Pi
Mychael Danna
2013 Gravity
Steven Price
2014 The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alexandre Desplat

See also


  1. ^ "Rule Sixteen: Special Rules for the Best Picture of the Year Award | Rules for the 85th Academy Awards | Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences". 2012-08-24. Retrieved 2014-05-15. 
  2. ^ "Academy Awards Database - AMPAS". Retrieved 2014-05-15. 
  3. ^ Lisa Gerrard and Klaus Badelt also received screen credit for music score, but only Zimmer was deemed eligible for the nomination.

External links

  • (official Academy site)
  • (official ceremony promotional site)
  • The Academy Awards Database (official site)
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