July 16, 2015
Music Emmy Nominees Announced
First-timers and veterans share spotlight for 67th annual awards by Jon Burlingame
HOLLYWOOD—The richness and diversity of music composed for television was highlighted in Thursday's Television Academy announcement of nominees in the five music categories for the 2014-2015 Emmy Awards.
The surprises were mostly in the original song category where, despite massive publicity for both Fox's hip-hop saga Empire and ABC's medieval musical Galavant, none of the songs for either show received nominations. This denies Galavant songwriter Alan Menken (at least for this year) the possibility of becoming an EGOT, as he already has Oscar, Tony and Grammy Awards.
However, the husband-and-wife duo who are no stranger to recent awards, Frozen songwriters Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, are up for two Emmys: for their Oscar-ceremony opening song "Moving Pictures" (on ABC) and another for a song on FX's The Comedians, "Kiss an Old Man." Lopez already has a Daytime Emmy; these mark the first nominations for Anderson-Lopez.
They will be competing against Darren Criss's song "This Time" for the final episode of Fox's Glee; the boy-band satire "Girl You Don't Need Makeup" from Comedy Central's Inside Amy Schumer, by first-time nominees Kyle Dunnigan and Jim Roach; and songs from FX's Sons of Anarchy (by previous nominees Bob Thiele and Kurt Sutter, and newcomer Jake Smith) and the NBC holiday special How Murray Saved Christmas (by previous Emmy winners Walter Murphy and Mike Reiss).
Saturday Night Live, which has been nominated for nine original songs over the past eight years, was missing from this year's song lineup.
Nominees for original music for a series were a mix of previous winners and newcomers. First-time nominees Duncan Thum (Netflix's Chef's Table), Maurizio Malagnini (PBS's Masterpiece series The Paradise) and Abel Korzeniowski (Showtime's Penny Dreadful) will compete against previous Emmy winners Jeff Beal (Netflix's House of Cards), Bear McCreary (Starz's Outlander) and Mychael Danna, who is co-nominated with his brother Jeff Danna, a previous nominee (FX's Tyrant).
Similarly, nominees for music composition for a limited series, movie or special were evenly divided between first-time nominees and veterans. Three-time Emmy winner William Ross was nominated for his music for the Hallmark Channel's Away and Back; previous nominee Rachel Portman, for HBO's Bessie; and Sean Callery, who has won three Emmys for Fox's 24 (and been nominated six other times for the series, plus four more for other series), was nominated again, this time for 24: Live Another Day.
They will compete against newcomers Mac Quayle (FX's American Horror Story: Freak Show), Dominik Scherrer (Starz's The Missing) and Kevin Kliesch (Disney Channel's Sofia the First: The Curse of Princess Ivy). Kliesch, interestingly, won a Daytime Emmy in April for his scoring of the Sofia the First series; this nomination was for a prime-time special.
The majority of composers in the main-title theme music category are previous winners or nominees. Jeff Beal, who has won three prime-time Emmys, is up for his theme for CBS's The Dovekeepers; three-time Emmy winner John Debney and 10-time Emmy winner Bruce Broughton are co-nominated for their theme for History's Texas Rising; and Emmy winner Mychael Danna and his brother Jeff Danna are nominated for their theme for FX's Tyrant. Daniele Luppi received his second nomination for his theme for Netflix's Marco Polo.
Competing against them are first-time nominees Abel Korzeniowski for Showtime's Penny Dreadful and Dustin O'Halloran for Amazon's Transparent.
The music direction category was dominated by first-time nominees, including Matthew Sklar and Christopher Guardino for NBC's Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas; Stephen Oremus for ABC's The Oscars; Greg Phillinganes for CBS's Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life, an All-Star Grammy Salute; and Alan Gilbert for PBS's Live From Lincoln Center broadcast of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
Veterans in the music-direction category include past winners Rob Berman and Rob Mathes for CBS's The Kennedy Center Honors; and previous nominee David Chase for NBC's Peter Pan Live!
Music awards are not presented as part of the three-hour prime-time show (Sept. 20 on Fox). Rather, they are part of the Creative Arts Emmys show, which this year will air on Sept. 19 on FXX (from the Microsoft Theater at L.A. Live in Los Angeles).
©2015 Jon Burlingame