Given the number of first-rate documentary scores this year, a number of people have posed this interesting question to me: Could a documentary score win an Oscar? Could one even be nominated? (In fact, it’s only happened once, in 1975.) I interviewed a number of people about it and, in this story for one of Variety‘s awards-centric Extra Editions, offered an overview of three of this year’s best: Jeff Beal’s music for Boston (about the Boston Marathon), Philip Glass’ music for Jane (about scientist Jane Goodall), and Alex Heffes’ score for Earth: One Amazing Day (a great BBC film about a day in the life of the planet).
This was another favorite assignment: Philip Glass was in town to promote his work on the film The Hours, and the L.A. Times asked me to interview him and discuss his work in films. I found him a fascinating guy, a true artist but with a very savvy commercial sense. I loved his score for the film, ranking with Kundun as among his most effective music for films. Three years later, I talked to him briefly about his brief but oh-so-Philip-Glass theme for ABC’s Night Stalker.