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January 24, 2012
84th Annual Academy Award Nominations Announced
John Williams becomes most nominated composer in Oscar history by Marilee Bradford

John Williams

John Williams

BEVERLY HILLS, California—Film music history was made as John Williams surpassed Alfred Newman's all-time music-nominations record when the 84th annual Oscar nominations were announced today by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Williams, who will turn 80 on February 8, received his 46th and 47th nominations for two Steven Spielberg films released in 2011: War Horse and The Adventures of Tintin. Newman's record of 45 had stood for more than 40 years. Williams has five Academy Awards to date, three of them for Spielberg films.

Williams is now the second most-nominated individual in the history of the Oscars, behind only Walt Disney with 59.

Howard Shore

Howard Shore

Ludovic Bource

Ludovic Bource

Alberto Iglesia

Alberto Iglesia

Bret McKenzie

Bret McKenzie

Sergio Mendez, Siedah Garrett and Carlinhos Brown

Sergio Mendez, Siedah Garrett and
Carlinhos Brown

Joining Williams as nominees in the Original Score category are French composer Ludovic Bource for The Artist, Howard Shore (his fourth nomination) for Hugo, and Spanish composer Alberto Iglesias (his third) for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Passed over were contenders Thomas Newman for The Help and last year's Oscar winners (for The Social Network) Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

Bource, as composer of a nearly 90-minute score for an all but completely silent film, may have the inside track, although music also played a prominent role in both War Horse and Hugo.

For the first time in Oscar history, only two songs were nominated: "Man or Muppet" from The Muppets with music and lyrics by Bret McKenzie; and "Real in Rio" from the animated Rio with music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown, and lyric by Siedah Garrett. This is the first nomination for three of the songwriters but not for Garrett, who was nominated for "Love you, I Do" from the 2006 film Dreamgirls.

In recent years, as rules have been modified and criteria has become more strict but harder to decipher, three songs were nominated in 1988, 2005 and 2008. This year, the branch snubbed popular songs "The Living Proof" by Mary J. Blige from The Help, "Hello, Hello" by Elton John from Gnomeo & Juliet, and "Lay Your Head Down" with lyric by star Glenn Close and music by Brian Byrne from Albert Nobbs.

The Academy Awards will be presented Sunday, February 26, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. Earlier that afternoon, LA-based classical-music radio station KUSC-FM will air a two-hour special honoring Williams to mark his 80th birthday. The tribute – written, produced and hosted by journalist and USC professor Jon Burlingame – will stream live at www.kusc.org.

Complete list of nominees:

Original Score
  • Ludovic Bource – The Artist
  • Alberto Iglesias – Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy
  • Howard Shore – Hugo
  • John Williams – The Adventures of Tintin
  • John Williams – War Horse
Original Song
  • "Man or Muppet from The Muppets – Music and lyric by Bret McKenzie
  • "Real in Rio" from Rio – Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown, Lyric by Siedah Garrett
©2012 Marilee Bradford
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