As Emmy Awards season begins, we take an overall look at the nominations in all of the music categories, including the ones for original composition (for a series, for a movie or miniseries, for theme, and original song), for music direction, and the new sixth category, for music supervision. Music supervisors are hailing this decision by the Television Academy to begin honoring their work, which for the most part involves finding the right song for the right scene. But there is a lot more in this story, including surprising nominations for documentary scores and even for Lady Gaga’s half-time performance at the Super Bowl — and a brief look at what highly touted songs weren’t nominated.
One of my most enjoyable tasks is the preparation of Variety‘s annual chart looking at all of the nominees in Emmy’s five music categories: original music for series; original music for movies, miniseries or specials; main title themes; music direction (usually for one-shot specials); and original songs for TV. Because it’s a chart, it rarely makes the transition from print to web, so we’ve scanned it and made it available here. The challenge is usually twofold: checking each nominee’s Emmy record (not easy because the Television Academy’s own database is incomplete and sometimes inaccurate) and condensing its musical essence down to a few words.
The Television Academy likes to spread the wealth, as seen in this year’s crop of nominations in Emmy’s five musical categories: music for series, music for longform TV (miniseries or movies), music direction, title themes, and original songs. Nearly half of all the nominees are first-timers to the party, and that’s always nice to see. (Fans of the music for ultra-popular shows like Game of Thrones, House of Cards, Downton Abbey and others were disappointed when those scores failed to receive a nod, although all have been past nominees or winners.) And the song category has special zing this year: Alan Menken could become an EGOT and Diane Warren has achieved something no previous songwriter has. Here’s a rundown and quick analysis. I’ll be visiting each of these scores later during Emmy season for Variety.
The past week has seen the unofficial launch of “awards season” with the presentation of five Emmys in the music categories (topped by composer Jeff Beal receiving the statue for his third season of House of Cards) and the American Society of Arrangers and Composers (ASMAC) presenting its Golden Score awards to deserving recipients John Debney (The Passion of the Christ) and Conrad Pope (Tim’s Vermeer). My story about the Emmys is here, and about the surprise-filled, music-filled ASMAC bash here.
One of my most challenging, but also fascinating, annual Variety assignments is looking at every nominee in all five Emmy music categories and finding something informative to say about each. (For example, Jeff Beal’s Hebraic-flavored theme for The Dovekeepers used a soprano, a duduk and Middle Eastern percussion). We then assemble a chart examining all 30 (including such details as their Emmy record, how many past wins or whether they’re a first-time nominee). And the chart is featured at the Society of Composers & Lyricists’ annual Emmy reception, which is a source of pride for us at Variety. It never looks as good in the online version. Here’s what it looks like in print.
This was a challenge: Trying to anticipate what might be nominated for the song category in the 2014-15 Emmy Awards. You can never really tell what the Television Academy music branch will decide. I finally called songwriters from Empire, Galavant, Glee, Inside Amy Schumer and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt… that is, Jim Beanz, Glenn Slater, Darren Criss, Schumer herself and Jeff Richmond. Here’s the story I wrote for this week’s Variety. I’d be delighted if all of these were honored… but you can never really tell.
Cosmos composer Alan Silvestri won for both Music Composition for a Series and Main Title Theme Music at Saturday night’s Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles.
Predictable, maybe, but also well-deserved. Here’s a look at just how he did it, over several weeks at the beginning of the year.
The other big winners included David Arnold and Michael Price for the final installment of this year’s Sherlock series on PBS, and veteran pop-rock artist Don Was as music director for the Beatles special The Night That Changed America.
A rundown of the Emmy winners in all five categories is here.
There are five music categories at the Emmys. Four are pretty straight-ahead: music composition for a series; for a movie, miniseries or special; theme music; and song. The fifth is a little mysterious for many, so my editors at Variety asked for a story about it, and along the way I talked to several of the nominees.