What Is It Worth?

I don’t care one way or another if Zimmer wins an Oscar for the Inception score (I enjoyed the movie but the score itself was completely forgettable beyond my thinking at times how it sounded like a typical Hans Zimmer score, before I saw his name in the credits), but the article has me completely confused about who and what is eligible for the award. Herbie Hancock won the Oscar for Best Original Dramatic Score for the 1986 film Round Midnight, and his score such as it was, mostly a collection of standards played by the musicians in the movie, had hardly any original music in it. Wait . . . what?

So, let me get this straight. Herbie Hancock can get the Oscar for arranging a selection of music, 80% or more that of other composers, but Hans Zimmer, using an old and worthy composer’s trick of taking elements from a meaningful theme and generating original music from them, may not even be eligible for a nomination?

And this makes sense how? In that the Academy is a professional organization of the famous and Hancock is a relatively famous jazz and pop star? And that’s how America works? At least Dexter Gordon won an Oscar, only a small acknowledgement for a man who, more than any other thing in the universe, may have been evidence of God’s existence.



Author: gtra1n

I'm a composer and musician, and I write about music—I do that here, for the New York Classical Review, at the Brooklyn Rail (I edit the music section there) and any place else that will have me, like New Music Box and Music & Literature. I also wrote the Miles Davis' Bitches Brew book in the 33 1/3 series.