Academy Award for Best Original Score

Academy Award for Best Original Score
CountryUnited States
Presented byAcademy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
First awardedFebruary 27, 1935; 83 years ago (1935-02-27)
Currently held byAlexandre Desplat
The Shape of Water (oscars.org

The Academy Award for Best Original Score is an award presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to the best substantial body of music in the form of dramatic underscoring written specifically for the film by the submitting composer.[1]

History

The Academy began awarding movies for their scores in 1935. The category was originally called Best Scoring. At the time, winners and nominees were a mix of original scores and adaptations of pre-existing material. Following the controversial win of Charles Previn for One Hundred Men and a Girl in 1938, a film without a credited composer that featured pre-existing classical music, the Academy added a Best Original Score category in 1939.[2] In 1942, the distinction between the two Scoring categories changed slightly as they were renamed to Best Music Score of a Dramatic Picture and Best Scoring of a Musical Picture. This marked the first time the category was split into separate genres, a distinction that technically still lasts today, although there haven't been enough submissions for the musical category to be activated since 1985. From 1942 to 1985, musical scores had their own category, with the exception of 1958, 1981 and 1982. During that time, both categories had many name changes:

Following the wins of four Walt Disney Feature Animation films in six years from 1990 to 1995 (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King) during a period called the Disney Renaissance, it was decided to once again split the Best Original Score category by genres, this time by combining comedies and musicals together. As Alan Bergman, the chairman of the Academy's music branch said, "People were voting for the songs, not the underscores. We felt that Academy members outside the music branch didn't distinguish between the two. So when a score like The Lion King is competing against a drama like Forrest Gump, it's apples and oranges – not in the quality of the score, but in the way it functions in the movie. There's a big difference."[3] The category was therefore split into Best Original Dramatic Score and Best Original Musical or Comedy Score in 1996. This change proved unpopular in the other branches of the Academy as Charles Bernstein, chairman of the Academy's rules committee, noted that "no other Oscar category depended on a film's genre" and "the job of composing an underscore for a romantic comedy is not substantially different from working on a heavy drama."[4] This split was reverted in 2000.

Other Languages
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Oscar za najbolju originalnu muziku