By Mark Pinkert
When I began research for this post, I assumed there would be a noticeable correlation between Academy Award Best Picture winners and Best Original Score winners. A safe assumption, I thought, because of how important music is to cinema (have you ever watched a scene before music was added?). Music provides emotional thrust to a film. It creates suspense, amplifies poignant moments, and brings settings to life. Additionally, music can shape our memory of a given film. How many iconic movies—The Godfather (1972), Star Wars (1977), Jaws (1975), Psycho (1960)—have themes that we automatically recall as soon as the movie’s title comes up?
Yet in the thirteen Academy Awards since and including 2000, only three Best Picture winners also took home Best Original Score and of the eighty-five films that were nominated for Best Picture in this time period, only about one third of them were even nominated for Best Original Score.