As a member of the International Film Music Critics Association I am delighted to share with you our Soundtrack Awards for 2015.
INTERNATIONAL FILM MUSIC CRITICS ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCES WINNERS OF 2015 IFMCA AWARDS; JOHN WILLIAMS WINS THREE AWARDS FOR STAR WARS
The award for Score of the Year goes to composer John Williams for his work on the massively popular and successful epic science fiction fantasy “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” from director J. J. Abrams. IFMCA member James Southall said that “the Force remains strong in John Williams and long may it continue” and called the score “glorious,” while IFMCA member Christian Clemmensen called the score “a powerfully melodic and excitingly complex piece of grand artistry from an era of greatness that only John Williams in top form could deliver.” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is also named Best Score for a Fantasy/Science Fiction/Horror Film, and wins the Film Music Composition of the Year award for the film’s conclusive end credits suite, “The Jedi Steps and Finale”. These are the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth IFMCA Awards of Williams’s career, and it marks the third time he has been awarded Score of the Year, after “Memoirs of a Geisha” in 2005, and “War Horse” in 2011.
Composer Michael Giacchino is named Composer of the Year, having written four outstanding works spanning multiple genres in the past year. His work in 2015 includes scoring the emotional Disney/Pixar film “Inside Out,” which is also named Best Score for an Animated Film; the ambitious science fiction adventure “Jupiter Ascending,” which was nominated in multiple genres including Score of the Year; the fantastical adventure “Tomorrowland,” which was nominated for Film Music Composition of the Year; and the massively successful action-adventure “Jurassic World,” which built on John Williams’s score for the first film featuring genetically modified dinosaurs running amok in a lavish theme park. IFMCA member Karol Krok called “Inside Out” “enjoyable and endearing,” while IFMCA member Charlie Brigden said that “Jurassic World” “displays just how much of a command [Giacchino] has over a modern symphony”. These are the thirteenth and fourteenth IFMCA Awards of Giacchino’s career, and it marks the third time he has been named Composer of the Year, following his previous wins in 2004 and 2009.
The IFMCA’s ongoing recognition of emerging talent in the film music world this year spotlights Italian composer Maurizio Malagnini, who is named Breakthrough Composer of the Year. Malagnini has been working primarily in world of British television since he first emerged onto the scene in 2010, writing scores for popular shows such as “Muddle Earth,” “The Body Farm,” “The Paradise,” and “Call the Midwife,” but really impressed IFMCA members this year with his first major film score for a new version of the classic Peter Pan story, “Peter & Wendy”. IFMCA member Jon Broxton called “Peter & Wendy” “undoubtedly one of the best scores of 2015”, while IFMCA member Peter Simons described the score as being “so infectious, so colourful, playful and utterly charming”.
The various other genre awards are won by James Horner for the epic Chinese-language drama “Wolf Totem”; Douglas Pipes for the mischievous and malevolent Christmas comedy “Krampus”; Joe Kraemer for the exciting retro action score for “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”; and Steven Price for his music for the BBC nature documentary “The Hunt”.
In the non-film categories, Argentine composer Federico Jusid wins the award for Best Original Score for a Television Series for the third year in a row, this time for his astonishing score for the Spanish historical TV drama “Carlos, Rey Emperador,” the sequel to the multi-award winning “Isabel,” while composer Austin Wintory wins the award for Best Original Score for a Video Game or Interactive Media for his groundbreaking work on “Assassin’s Creed” Syndicate”, a score which not only includes classical dances used as action cues, but also a number of original ‘murder ballads’ penned in collaboration with Australian musical comedy group Tripod.
Oakland, California-based Intrada Records is named Film Music Record Label of the Year in recognition of their ongoing excellence in restoring and releasing the most beloved film scores of the past, while film music historian and writer Jon Burlingame wins the Archival Compilation award for the wonderful box set of music from the original 1960s “Mission: Impossible” he produced for La-La Land Records. Interestingly, both the Archival Re-Release and Re-Recording categories are won by different versions of Bernard Herrmann’s 1976 score for the psychological thriller “Obsession” – firstly, the outstanding release of the original score tracks by French label Music Box Records and producers George Litto, Laurent Lafarge, and Cyril Durand-Roger; and secondly, the magnificent re-recording of the entire score by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Nic Raine, and produced by James Fitzpatrick for Tadlow Music.
Finally, the IFMCA has decided to bestow a rare Special Award on the late James Horner, for his classical work “Pas de Deux”. The piece is a double concerto for violin, cello, and orchestra, and was commissioned by the Norwegian brother/sister musical duo Mari Samuelsen and Hakon Samuelsen. The work was released through Mercury Classics and Universal Music in May 2015, and represented the first of several anticipated major excursions into pure classical music – what would have been a new and exciting phase in the composer’s musical career, especially since his first, abortive attempts in the late 1970s and early 1980s failed to ignite the public’s imagination. Sadly, with the composer’s tragic death in a plane crash in June, it also represents ‘what might have been,’ and this award is intended to be a tribute in recognition the composer’s life and work, and all the great unheard music that died with him.
COMPLETE LIST OF WINNERS
FILM SCORE OF THE YEAR
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens, music by John Williams
COMPOSER OF THE YEAR
- Michael Giacchino
BREAKTHROUGH COMPOSER OF THE YEAR
- Maurizio Malagnini
FILM MUSIC COMPOSITION OF THE YEAR
- “The Jedi Steps and Finale” from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, music by John Williams
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A DRAMA FILM
- Wolf Totem, music by James Horner
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A COMEDY FILM
- Krampus, music by Douglas Pipes
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR AN ACTION/ADVENTURE/THRILLER FILM
- Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, music by Joe Kraemer
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A FANTASY/SCIENCE FICTION/HORROR FILM
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens, music by John Williams
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR AN ANIMATED FEATURE
- Inside Out, music by Michael Giacchino
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A DOCUMENTARY
- The Hunt, music by Steven Price
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A TELEVISION SERIES
- Carlos, Rey Emperador, music by Federico Jusid
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A VIDEO GAME OR INTERACTIVE MEDIA
- Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, music by Austin Wintory
BEST NEW ARCHIVAL RELEASE – RE-RELEASE OF AN EXISTING SCORE
- Obsession; music by Bernard Herrmann, album produced by George Litto, Laurent Lafarge, and Cyril Durand-Roger, liner notes by Daniel Schweiger, album art direction by David Marques (Music Box)
BEST NEW ARCHIVAL RELEASE – RE-RECORDING OF AN EXISTING SCORE
- Obsession; music by Bernard Herrmann, performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Nic Raine, album produced by James Fitzpatrick, liner notes by Christopher Husted, album art direction by Matthew Wright and Damien Doherty (Tadlow)
BEST NEW ARCHIVAL RELEASE – COMPILATION
- Mission: Impossible – The Television Scores; music by Various Artists, album produced by Jon Burlingame, liner notes by Jon Burlingame, album art direction by Joe Sikoryak (La-La Land)
FILM MUSIC RECORD LABEL OF THE YEAR
- Intrada Records, Douglass Fake, Roger Feigelson
- Pas de Deux, classical work by James Horner, commissioned by violinist Mari Samuelsen and cellist Hakon Samuelsen