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July 14, 2016
Music Emmy Nominees Announced
Alan Menken possible EGOT; Diane Warren song nom'd for all 3 top industry awards by Jon Burlingame

Emmy Nominations

NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Calif.—Songwriters took center stage as the Television Academy announced its Emmy nominations for the 2015-16 season, including notable nods for eight-time Oscar winner Alan Menken and perennial Oscar bridesmaid Diane Warren.

Menken received his second Emmy nomination for a song from the irreverent ABC period musical Galavant, along with lyricist Glenn Slater (also receiving his second nod). Should he win, Menken would become only the 13th person to become an EGOT, having won all four major show-business awards including the Oscar, Grammy and Tony.

Warren, meanwhile, is believed to be the first songwriter to receive Oscar, Grammy and Emmy nominations for the same song: "Til It Happens to You," written for the CNN documentary The Hunting Ground. (Her co-nominee for the Oscar, Lady Gaga, who sang it, was deemed ineligible for the Emmy as her writing contribution totaled only 10 percent, and a minimum of 20 percent is required to qualify.)

Emmy executives said that, while The Hunting Ground – an acclaimed documentary on sexual predators on U.S. college campuses – debuted in theaters last year, it was already set for CNN airing this year and thus met the eligibility criteria for inclusion.

Emmy spread the wealth again this year, as nearly half (14 of this year's 31 nominees) are first-timers in the competition.

In the series-scoring category, Emmy newbie Paul Leonard-Morgan (for CBS's Limitless) faces off against Chris Bacon (for A&E's Bates Motel), Duncan Thum (for Netflix's Chef's Table), Mac Quayle (for USA's Mr. Robot) and Abel Korzeniowski (for Showtime's Penny Dreadful), each of whom was nominated once before; and veteran composer Sean P. Callery (for Fox's Minority Report), who has three Emmy wins for 24 (and 11 other nominations over the years).

In the category of music for longform TV ("limited series, movie or special"), three of the six nominees are first-timers: David Lawrence (for Disney Channel's Descendents), Victor Reyes (for AMC's The Night Manager), and Martin Phipps (for Lifetime's War & Peace). They face off against veterans James Newton Howard (for HBO's All the Way), who has one Emmy win and two additional nominations; Jeff Russo (for FX's Fargo), with one prior nomination; and Jeff Beal (for Hallmark Channel's Jesse Stone: Lost in Paradise), who has four prime-time Emmys and another 11 nominations.

Perhaps the most diverse group, in terms of musical style, is the music-direction category, which boasts some stellar musicians: Paul Shaffer (for Netflix's A Very Murray Christmas), with three previous nominations; Danny Elfman (for PBS's Live From Lincoln Center telecast of Music From the Films of Tim Burton), who has one win and another nomination for his TV themes; Alan Gilbert, music director of the New York Philharmonic (for PBS's Live From Lincoln Center broadcast of Sinatra: Voice for a Century), for whom this is a second nomination; and Rickey Minor and Christian McBride (for PBS's In Performance at the White House airing of Smithsonian Salutes Ray Charles). This is McBride's first nomination, Minor's fifth. Veteran keyboardist John Beasley is another first-time nominee, for his work on ABC's Jazz at the White House.

Several first-time nominees feature in the main-title theme music category: Brazilian songwriter Rodrigo Amarante, for his theme for Netflix's Narcos; feature-film vets Johnny Klimek and Tom Tykwer, for their theme for Netflix's Sense8; and Victor Reyes, receiving his second nomination this year for his theme for The Night Manager. Also nominated are Robert Duncan, for his theme for ABC's The Whispers; Callery, for his theme for Netflix's Marvel's Jessica Jones; and writer-actress Rachel Bloom and composer Adam Schlesinger, for their theme for CW's Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Bloom was previously nominated as a writer for Robot Chicken; Schlesinger has two Emmys for past Tony Awards songs.

Bloom and Schlesinger, along with collaborator (and first-time nominee) Jack Dolgen, are also nominated in the song category, for their "Settle for Me" in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. This category also contains the Warren song ("Til It Happens to You") and the Menken-Slater song ("A New Season" from Galavant), plus first-time nominee Jim Beanz's "Good People" from Empire; and first-time nominees Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci, whose "Frozen Lullaby" appeared in Vimeo's Garfunkel and Oates: Trying to Be Special.

All of these awards will be presented as part of the two-night Creative Arts Awards, slated for Sept. 10 and 11. The 68th annual Emmy Awards will air on ABC a week later, on Sunday, Sept. 18.

Complete list of nominees follows.

Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Original Dramatic Score)

Chris Bacon – Bates Motel episode "Forever" (A&E)
Sean P. Callery – Minority Report Pilot (FOX)
Abel Korzeniowski – Penny Dreadful episode "And They Were Enemies" (Showtime)
Paul Leonard-Morgan – Limitless Pilot (CBS)
Mac Quayle – Mr. Robot episode "eps1.0_hellofriend.mov" (USA)
Duncan Thum – Chef's Table episode "Grant Achatz" (Netflix)

Music Composition For A Limited Series, Movie Or Special (Original Dramatic Score)

Jeff Beal – Jesse Stone: Lost In Paradise (Hallmark Channel)
James Newton Howard – All The Way (HBO)
David Lawrence – Descendants (Disney Channel)
Martin Phipps – War and Peace Part 1 (Lifetime)
Victor Reyes – The Night Manager Episode 2 (AMC)
Jeff Russo – Fargo episode "Loplop" (FX Networks)

Outstanding Music Direction

John Beasley – Jazz At The White House (ABC)
Danny Elfman – Danny Elfman's Music From The Films Of Time Burton (Live From Lincoln Center) (PBS)
Alan Gilbert – Sinatra: Voice For A Century (Live From Lincoln Center) (PBS)
Rickey Minor and Christian McBride – Smithsonian Salutes Ray Charles: In Performance At The White House (PBS)
Paul Shaffer – A Very Murray Christmas (Netflix)

Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music

Rodrigo Amarante – Narcos (Netflix)
Rachel Bloom and Adam Schlesinger – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (CW)
Sean P. Callery – Marvel's Jessica Jones (Netflix)
Robert Duncan – The Whispers (ABC)
Johnny Klimek and Tom Tykwer – Sense8 (Netflix)
Victor Reyes – The Night Manager (AMC)

Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics

"Frozen Lullaby" from Garfunkel and Oates: Trying To Be Special (Vimeo)
Riki Lindhome, music and lyrics
Kate Micucci, music and lyrics

"Good People" from Empire episode "A Rose By Any Other Name" (FOX)
Jim Beanz, music and lyrics

"A New Season" from Galavant episode "A New Season aka Suck It Cancellation Bear" (ABC)
Alan Menken, music
Glenn Slater, lyrics

"Settle For Me" from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend episode "I'm Going On A Date With Josh's Friend" (CW)
Adam Schlesinger, music and lyrics
Rachel Bloom, lyrics
Jack Dolgen, lyrics

"'Til It Happens To You" from The Hunting Ground (CNN)
Diane Warren, music and lyrics

©2016 Jon Burlingame
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