And the Oscar Should Have Gone to…Best Adapted or Song Score

The category for Best Adapted or Song Score existed has existed periodically beginning in 1938, but never consistently. It went by different names including Best Song Score and Best Music Treatment, but it always referred to a body of music used in a film that consists of either previously established prior to the film (such as the use of classical music, the adaptation of a Broadway musical, or several other possible scenarios) or songs written for an original movie musical. For each year that the Oscars presented this type of award, I will give a grade to their winner based only on the use of music in the film, not on any other merit of the film or on the film as a whole. My criteria for eligibility is U.S. theatrical release date which occasionally creates incongruity with the Oscars picks. So, here are the best Adapted or Song scores from the beginning of the Oscar era (1927) to the last completed Oscar year (2015).


MV5BMjEyOTExMTEzNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzE4MzAxMw@@._V1_.jpgPictured: T-Bone Burnett, who I would pick as the most-winning composer/arranger for this category: The Big Lebowski (1998), O Brother Where Art Thou (2000), Walk the Line (2005), Across the Universe (2007), and Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

1927/28 Louis Silvers, The Jazz Singers

1929 Nacio Herb Brown & Arthur Freed, The Broadway Melody

1930 Franz Waxman, The Blue Angel

1931 Heinz Roehled, Dracula

1932 Herbert Stothart, Grand Hotel

1933 Ray Heindorf, Gold Diggers of 1933

1934 Max Steiner, The Gay Divorcee

1935 Herbert Stothart, A Night at the Opera

1936 Alfred Newman, Modern Times

1937 George & Ira Gershwin, Shall We Dance?

1938 Alfred Newman, Alexander’s Ragtime Band (A); My pick: Emile Vuiellermoz, Grand Illusion

1939 Luis Gruenberg, Richard Hageman, W. Franke Harling, John Leipold, & Leo Shukin, Stagecoach (B); my pick: Harold Arlen, The Wizard of Oz

1940 Alfred Newman, Tin Pan Alley (A+); my pick: Leopold Stokowski, Fantasia

1941 Frank Churchhill & Oliver Wallace, Dumbo (A+); my pick: Bernard Herman, Citizen Kane

1942 Ray Heindorf & Heinz Roemheld, Yankee Doodle Dandy (A); my pick: Leo F. Forbstein, Casablanca 

1943 Ray Heindorf, This Is the Army (D); my pick: Emile Newman, Stormy Weather

1944 Morris Stoloff & Carmen Dragon, Cover Girl (B+); my pick: Georgie Stoll, Meet Me in St. Louis

1945 Georgie Stoll, Anchors Aweigh (A+); I agree

1946 Morris Stoloff, The Jolson Story (C-); my pick: Marlin Skiles & Morris Stoloff, Gilda

1947 Alfred Newman, Mother Wore Tights (F); my pick: Daniele Amfitheatrof, Paul J. Smith, & Charles Wolcott, Song of the South

1948 Johnny Green & Roger Edens, Easter Parade (C); my pick: Brian Easdale, The Red Shoes

1949 Roger Edens & Lennie Hayton, On the Town (A+); I agree

1950 Adolph Deutch & Roger Edens, Annie Get Your Gun (A); my pick: Alfred Newman, All about Eve

1951 Johnny Green & Saul Chaplin, An American in Paris (A+); I agree

1952 Alfred Newman, With a Song in My Heart (A+); my pick: Lennie Hayton, Singin’ in the Rain

1953 Alfred Newman, Call Me Madam (B-); my pick: Friedrich Hollaender & Morris Stoloff, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T

1954 Adolph Deutsch & Saul Chaplin, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (B-); my pick: Herschel Burke Gilbert, Carmen Jones

1955 Robert Russell Bennett, Jack Bennett, & Adolph Deutsch, Oklahoma (C+); my pick: Jack Blackton & Cyril J. Mockridge, Guys and Dolls

1956 Alfred Newman & Ken Darby, The King and I (A+); I agree

1957 No oscar in this category; my pick: George Durning, Pal Joey

1958 André Previn, Gigi (B-); my pick: Ray Heindorf, Damn Yankees

1959 André Previn, Porgy and Bess (A+); my pick: Luiz Bonfá, Black Orpheus

1960 Morris Stoloff & Harry Sukman, Song without End: The Story of Franz Liszt (A+); I agree

1961 Saul Chaplin, Johnny Green, Sid Ramin, & Irwin Kostal, West Side Story (F); my pick: Alfred Newman & Ken Darby, Flower Drum Song

1962 Ray Heindorf, The Music Man (F); my pick: Leigh Harline, The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm

1963 André Previn, Irma la Douce (C-); my pick: Jester Hairston, Lilies of the Field

1964 André Previn, My Fair Lady (A+); my pick: Irwin Kostal, Mary Poppins

1965 Irwin Kostal, The Sound of Music (B+); my pick: Michel Legrand, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

1966 Ken Thorne, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (A+); I agree

1967 Alfred Newman & Ken Darby, Camelot (D+); my pick: Nelson Riddle, How to Succeed on Business without Really Trying

1968 Johnny Green, Oliver (A+); my pick: Patrick Moore, 2001: A Space Odyssey

1969 Lennie Hayton & Lionel Newman, Hello Dolly (A-); my pick: Mike Deasy, Easy Rider

1970 The Beatles, Let It Be (A+); my pick: Eric Blackstead, Woodstock

1971 John Williams, Fiddler on the Roof (A+); I agree

1972 Ralph Burns, Cabaret (A+); I agree

1973 Marvin Hamlisch, The Sting (A+); I agree

1974 Nelson Riddle, The Great Gatsby (A+); my pick: John Morris, Blazing Saddles

1975 Leonard Rosenman, Barry Lyndon (A+); my pick: Eric Ericson, The Magic Flute

1976 Leonard Rosenman, Bound for Glory (A); my pick: Curtis Mayfield, Sparkle

1977 Jonathan Tunick, A Little Night Music (B+); my pick: David Shire, Saturday Night Fever

1978 Joe Renzetti, The Buddy Holly Story (A+); my pick: The Beatles, I Wanna Hold Your Hand

1979 Ralph Burns, All that Jazz (A+); my pick: Ed Goldfarb, Apocalypse Now

Not an Oscar category from 1980-81. These are my picks only.

1980 John Strauss, The Blues Brothers

1981 Andrew Dorfman, Beatlemania

1982 Henry Mancini, Victor/Victoria (A+); I agree

1983 Michel Legrand, Alan & Marilyn Bergman, Yentl (B+); my pick: Thomas A. Dorsey, Say Amen, Somebody

1984 Prince, Purple Rain (A); my pick: John Strauss, Amadeus

Not an Oscar category from 1985-1994; these are only my picks.

1985  Quincy Jones, The Color Purple

1986 Bob Guadio & Randy Merkin, Little Shop of Horrors

1987 Dick Hyman, Moonstruck

1988 U2, U2: Rattle and Hum

1989 Harry Connick Jr. & Marc Shaiman, When Harry Met Sally…

1990 Carmine Coppola, The Godfather Part III

1991 Alan Menken, Beauty and the Beast

1992 David Campbell, Wayne’s World

1993 Danny Elfman, A Nightmare before Christmas

1994 Kristen Becht & Billy Gottlieb, Pulp Fiction

The award returned in 1995 as Best Scoring of a Musical or Comedy Picture

1995 Alan Minken, Pocahontas (B-); my pick: Christine Woodruff, Babe

1996 Rachel Portman, Emma (A); my pick: Dick Hyman, Everyone Says I Love You

1997 Anne Dudley, The Full Monty (A+); I agree

1998 Stephen Warbeck, Shakespeare in Love (B); my pick: T-Bone Burnett, The Big Lebowski

1998 was the last year the Oscar had any category of this nature; only my picks will be given from here forward.

1999 Ralph Sall, Dick

2000 T-Bone Burnett, O Brother Where Art Thou?

2001 Craig Armstrong, Moulin Rouge

2002 David Wilson, Bowling for Columbine

2003 Tom Halm, A Mighty Wind

2004 Andrew Lloyd Weber, The Phantom of the Opera

2005 T-Bone Burnett, Walk the Line

2006 Richard Dworsky, A Prairie Home Companion

2007 T-Bone Burnett & Elliot Goldenthal, Across the Universe

2008 Marshall Chess, Cadillac Records

2009 Mary Ramos, Inglourious Basterds

2010 Jim Black & Gabe Hilfer, Black Swan

2011 Roanna Gillespe, The Tree of Life

2012 Becky Bentham & Anne Dudley, Les Miserables

2013 T-Bone Burnett & Marcus Mumford, Inside Llewyn Davis

2014 Justin Hurwitz, Whiplash

2015 Michael Dayton & Howard Drossen, Chi-Raq





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s