A year of international intrigue in the genre of film music is dominated by an
overwhelming favorite for a monumental flop, proving that even the worst of films can potentially
contain the best of music. Few such scores earn as much widespread praise as Lady in the Water
managed to receive in 2006, leading a field of obscure favorites that includes more than the usual
quantity of top notch music from the Far East. It is definitely a year of unlikely discoveries, with
superior music coming from the composers and genres that many probably least expected.
It is no doubt a breakthrough year for James Newton Howard, whose duo of strong scores in 2006 earn
him five Filmtracks nominations and two wins. With three nominations apiece are Philip Glass, Shigeru
Umebayashi, and Klaus Badelt, with Glass' accomplishments best spread across multiple scores of note.
Finishing with two nominations each are Mychael Danna, John Ottman, and John Powell.
Despite the outstanding quality of both Klaus Badelt's The Promise
Mychael Danna's The Nativity Story
, two scores necessary in any substantial film music
collection, there was little doubt that Howard's Lady in the Water
would ultimately prevail.
Such subtle beauty, nurtured delicately throughout the length of the score until its gorgeously
immense finale, is rarely developed in Hollywood scores nowadays. For his superior adaptation of
John Williams' source material into a franchise continuation (firmly falling into the "if you can't
beat it, join it" philosophy), John Ottman's Superman Returns
marches its way into the fifth
The runner-up in 2006 is the incredibly surprising The Shaggy Dog
from Alan Menken, an
affable fantasy score not only uncharacteristic for the composer, but vastly overachieving for the
assignment. Honorable mentions for the year go to Howard's ethnically stylish Blood Diamond
David Arnold's extremely intelligent "pre-Bond" sound (and totally Bond payoff) for Casino
, Ennio Morricone's solemnly lovely Fateless
, and the rhythmic scores by Philip
Glass for The Illusionist
and Dario Marianelli for V for Vendetta
, the latter a late
contender for a top-five or runner-up position.
As mentioned before, James Newton Howard cleans house in 2006 with his
fantastic duo of Lady in the Water
and Blood Diamond
. Still impressive but not as
palatable is the output of Philip Glass this year, whose The Illusionist
and Notes on a
made waves in the mainstream and are solid representations of the composer's usual style.
Shigeru Umebayashi and John Powell both had standout years, with Powell's output combining quantity
It was initially a foregone conclusion that "The Great Eatlon" from Lady in the
would win this award, making it a clean sweep for Howard in 2006. But Klaus Badelt's
heartbreaking love theme for The Promise
in several beautiful variations in the cue "Come Back"
prevails against the odds. The Badelt score features several standout cues, with the uniquely styled
"Freedom of the Wa" also nominated. Howard's Blood Diamond
similarly contains several
ethnically memorable cues, and two of them are nominated here as well.
This wide range of cues includes several that feature dynamic solo or ensemble vocals, including
"Together" from Eragon
, "A Princess" from Pan's Labyrinth
, and "Return to Life"
, among several others. The selections from Eragon
, V for Vendetta
and X-Men: The Last Stand
are not consensus choices, though "CheValiers de Sangreal" from
Hans Zimmer's The Da Vinci Code
is a crowd favorite.
The strength of some of this year's better works caused a handful of additional cues from those scores
to originally make the cut but eventually be dropped to better allow a wider distribution of nominees.
The cues ultimately struck include "City of Lovers" from Casino Royale
, "Charades" from
Lady in the Water
, and "In Rosa Vernat Lilium" from The Nativity Story