ASCAP Composer’s Choice Awards will be awarding Trent Reznor and Jon Batiste for ‘Film Score of the Year’ due to their work on the score for Pixar’s Soul. Atticus Ross would have been honored as well if he wasn’t affiliated with BMI instead.
Celebrations for the Screen Music Awards began today, May 17 and will continue for the next three days, including virtual performances and speeches through Instagram. It’s an annual event that began in 2014, joining the publishing rights organization’s efforts to honor their members. While nominations are made by a committee made of 100 industry professionals, voting is open to all 800,000+ ASCAP members and affiliates.
Batiste gave an acceptance speech on behalf of all three composers involved while seated at a piano. “Hello, it’s Jon Batiste here, and I’d like to say ‘thank you very much for selecting our score for Soul as the best film score,” he begins while noodling on the keys, but pauses here to focus on the speech. “ASCAP is my family now, I’m on the board of directors and Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, my collaborators on the Soul score, we really are humbled and grateful to be able to make something in these strange and unpredictable times that -,” he pauses to play a single piano note, “- resonates with people, and connects with people and brings them something to uplift and catharsis. It’s been a really amazing collaboration, and Pixar has always created these stories that – ever since I was a child, I’d watch these stories and dream of being part of one. And to have been a part of this, and it being such a huge success is beyond my wildest dreams.”
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From there, he segued into a performance of part of “Born to Play” from the Soul soundtrack, and talked about the “celestial chords’ he chose for it. He closed with some words on “Epiphany,” a piece that was inspired by Reznor and Ross’ electronics.
The Soul score also won the composers the Oscar and Golden Globe Awards for ‘Best Original Film Score’ at each event. Since the Oscars, Reznor and Ross said they’d be working on new Nine Inch Nails material. They shared a collaboration with HEALTH earlier this month called “Isn’t Everyone.” Nine Inch Nails has some co-headlining dates with Pixies later this year, as well as festival appearances at Riot Fest 2021 and Louder Than Life 2021.
Some of the other awards announced include ‘Video Game Score of the Year’ to Gustavo Santaolalla for The Last of Us Part II, ‘Television Score of the Year’ to Raphael Saadiq for Lovecraft Country, ‘Most Performed Themes and Underscore’ to David Vanacore for work on long-running shows Survivor and Biggest Loser, ‘Top Box Office Film’ to Rupert Gregson-Williams for The Eight Hundred and ‘Top Cable Television Series’ to Bear McCreary for The Walking Dead. There are also two new awards at the awards ceremony this year, ‘Documentary Score of the Year,’ which will go to Steven Price for David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet and ‘Television Theme,’ which will honor Philip Glass and Paul Leonard Morgan for Tales From the Loop.
McCreary was another of the composers to give an acceptance speech so far. “As a composer, I actually think it’s the most prestigious award I’ve ever won, because it is the most informed voting body for my discipline.” He stated. “Nobody knows how much work it is to keep the quality on a TV show high better than other composers. So, I really admire that ASCAP fought to make this peer-evaluated award as a merit award, separate from the awards about how much money a show made, how much it was broadcast, how many viewers it got. That’s all great, but it is detached from whether or not the music is good.”
Photo credit: Raymond Flotat