The Academy has ripped a potential award from The Dark Knight. The score is being disqualified by the music branch, citing five names were listed as composers on the music cue sheet.
The Executive Committee of the Academy of Motion Picture music branch will not include The Dark Knight's score for any award. The film has listed five composers on the music cue sheet so the entire music team is financially covered, but that is more than the Academy allows.
Composers for the film are listed as Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard, but also music editor Alex Gibson, ambient music designer Mel Wesson and composer Lorne Balfe. Variety has reported the latter three individuals have signed an affidavit stating the score is primarily Howard and Zimmer's work. But the Academy has cited documentation stating some 30%-40% was not the work of Zimmer or Howard. Batman Begins was also disqualified in 2005, when Brokeback Mountain and Gustavo Santaolalla won.
A film's score is usually overlooked until it is something special to be heard. Done well, it can take you to those memorable moments in any film. John Williams' "Star Wars Theme" is by far one of the most recognized pieces of cinematic history. Similarly, Zimmer's work on The Lion King and Pirates of the Caribbean have become reputable in their own right. A score can heighten emotions and enhance on-screen tension, it's a critical piece in every film; for the work done on The Dark Knight, it deserves at least a chance at "Best Original Score."
Right from the beginning of The Dark Knight, the score provides an uneasiness with The Joker, but throughout the film, it provides rises and falls that help along the story. The subtle build to eventual blast through the skyscraper window, the calculating plot of the mob bank robbery, all is enhanced and can be told by the music itself. The Joker's reveal is a calumniating end to the tension and tempo. But after Batman has failed Dent and Rachel Dawes, the strings provide a sad comfort as Alfred reads her last letter; those same strings provide Bruce the will to continue. As the time ticks away on the ferry boats, Batman's dive isn't as monumental without the supplemented drums and determined strings. The Dark Knight's score constantly pushes the action forward, but also allows the audience to stay in scenes where what has to be done is too difficult to do immediately. It comforts the characters, and with it the audience, in the subject matter of a "dark" film.
I highly recommend The Dark Knight's soundtrack which has already been released, but for big fans, a collector's edition set is expected on December 9, 2008. The package includes a 40 page hardbound book, 50 additional minutes of unreleased music, and 4 unreleased remixes by Paul Van Dyk, The Crystal Method, and others. For some samples and extra media, head over to the official home page.
Could you image seeing The Joker without the faint sound of sirens in the background?