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Filmtracks Awards: 2013
Decorative Nonsense
Unlike the other years of the 2010's to this point, the greatest quantity of interesting film music in 2013 came from outside the usual circle of Hollywood composers. The drama genre especially benefitted from a wealth of solid music, especially in recordings made outside of the United States. In the mainstream awards, John Williams continued to add to his incredible sum of nominations, this time for The Book Thief, while the typical "flavors of the moment" rounded out the popular selections.

Although it may seem for some film music collectors that 2013 was not as strong as the previous year, such observations neglect to take into account the plethora of noteworthy scores from the international arena. It was a year that featured few complete, well-rounded five-star efforts but a tremendous number of entertaining four-star works anchored by great, individual five-star cues. Due to the overwhelming quantity of worthy choices for the "Best Cue" category in 2013, that award was truly difficult to narrow down to those nominees shown below.

The year was one of praiseworthy achievement for two composers in particular, both Brian Tyler and Abel Korzeniowski receiving four nominations across the three categories. In the next tier, John Ottman, Howard Shore, and Ingo Ludwig Frenzel earn three nominations apiece, while Joe Hisaishi and Laurent Eyquem are represented twice. The nominations for Frenzel and Eyquem, as well as those for Bartosz Chajdecki, Victor Reyes, Ramin Djawadi, and Benjamin Wallfisch, are their first at Filmtracks. Other nominated composers previously recognized at these awards are John Williams, Marco Beltrami, Andrew Lockington, and Craig Armstrong.
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 •The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Howard Shore)
 •Jack the Giant Slayer (John Ottman)
 •Now You See Me (Brian Tyler)
 •The Physician (Der Medicus) (Ingo Ludwig Frenzel)
Romeo & Juliet (Abel Korzeniowski)

Three 2013 scores were easy selections in this field, the top award coming down to a competition between Howard Shore's immensely complicated The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, John Ottman's equally challenging Jack the Giant Slayer, and Abel Korzeniowski's fluidly fanciful Romeo & Juliet. The surprising inspiration and consistent quality of Korzeniowski's score gives him the win despite lingering early curiosity about the reportedly fantastic recording of the James Horner score for Romeo & Juliet that was tossed. In the fourth and fifth positions, respectively, are Brian Tyler's unique blend of caper and action in Now You See Me and Ingo Ludwig Frenzel's breakthrough exoticism for the German film, The Physician (Der Medicus).

Of the composers nominated in this field, Shore has won the top award on more than one occasion while Ottman has been nominated multiple times. This is Tyler's second top nomination and the first for Korzeniowski and Frenzel. With the exception of Frenzel, all had been nominated in one of the three Filmtracks award categories prior. The runner-up in 2013 is Victor Reyes for his frantically brilliant Grand Piano, a score sadly unreleased as of these awards. The honorable mentions rounding out the top ten for the year are John Williams' nostalgically comforting The Book Thief, Philipp F. Kölmel's broadly entertaining Ruby Red (Rubinrot), Bartosz Chajdecki's occasionally heart-breaking Baczynski, and Benjamin Wallfisch's genuinely sentimental Summer in February.
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 •Marco Beltrami
 •Laurent Eyquem
 •Joe Hisaishi
 •Abel Korzeniowski
Brian Tyler

This award at Filmtracks typically pits composers with great achievements in a couple of scores against those who produced an immense quantity of music that is all merely better than average. In 2013, Brian Tyler managed both feats, with four scores worthy of four-star ratings. His output for Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Now You See Me, and Standing Up is truly remarkable, and it gives him a solid footing above the second place finisher, Abel Korzeniowski, whose duo of Romeo & Juliet and Escape From Tomorrow is also worthy of praise. Rounding out this category are Joe Hisaishi, Laurent Eyquem, and Marco Beltrami, all three of whom wrote multiple solid works during the year, often for films from which you would not expect such quality.

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 •Baczynski (Bartosz Chajdecki)  "Uwerura (Ghetto Overture)"
 •The Book Thief (John Williams)  "The Book Thief"
 •Escape From Tomorrow (Abel Korzeniowski)  "The Grand Finale"
 •Grand Piano (Victor Reyes)  " Grand Piano Concerto - 2nd Movement"
 •The Great Gatsby (Craig Armstrong)  "Buchanan Mansion and Daisy Suite"
 •The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Howard Shore)  "The Forest River"
 •The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Howard Shore)  "Beyond the Forest"
Jack the Giant Slayer (John Ottman)  "Jack and Isabelle"
 •Jack the Giant Slayer (John Ottman)  "The New King/Stories"
 •Miracle Apples (Joe Hisaishi)  "Apple of Faith"
 •Now You See Me (Brian Tyler)  "Times Square"
 •Pacific Rim (Ramin Djawadi)  "Pacific Rim"
 •Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (Andrew Lockington)  "Thalia's Story"
 •The Physician (Der Medicus) (Ingo Ludwig Frenzel)  "Farewell at the Coast"
 •The Physician (Der Medicus) (Ingo Ludwig Frenzel)  "The Physician's Theme" *
 •Romeo & Juliet (Abel Korzeniowski)  "Eternal Love"
 •Stalingrad (Angelo Badalamenti)  "Men of Fire"
 •Summer in February (Benjamin Wallfisch)  "Gilbert Returns"
 •Thor: The Dark World (Brian Tyler)  "Into Eternity"
 •Winnie Mandela (Laurent Eyquem)  "Sunrise"

* alternate Schirin Partowi vocal arrangement

Extremely difficult choices awaited this category in 2013, the standard maximum of twenty nominated cues ultimately leaving another ten outstanding entries on the outside this year. Multiple cues from Shore's The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Ottman's Jack the Giant Slayer, and Frenzel's The Physician (Der Medicus) are joined by a wide range of international selections. Those cues vying best for the win were "Beyond the Forest" from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, "Grand Piano Concerto - 2nd Movement" from Reyes' Grand Piano, "Eternal Love" from Romeo & Juliet, and "Jack and Isabelle" from Jack the Giant Slayer, the Ottman cue ultimately taking the prize due to its massively shameless throwback qualities.

Also receiving serious consideration for this award were Korzeniowski's "The Grand Finale" from Escape From Tomorrow, Wallfisch's "Gilbert Returns" from Summer in February, Tyler's "Into Eternity" from Thor: The Dark World, and "The New King/Stories" from Jack the Giant Slayer. Several scores nearly received multiple cues in the field but ultimately managed only one representation, including Chajdecki's Baczynski, Tyler's Now You See Me, and Reyes' Grand Piano. The leading guilty pleasures of the year, Djawadi's rocking title cue from Pacific Rim and Lockington's usual fantasy tone in "Thalia's Story" from Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, round out the list alongside cues from Armstrong's The Great Gatsby, Hisaishi's Miracle Apples, Badalamenti's Stalingrad, and Eyquem's Winnie Mandela.

A number of cues were on early versions of this nomination list, including "Travers Goff" from Thomas Newman's Saving Mr. Banks, "Podroz (Transition)" from Chajdecki's Baczynski, "Clary's Theme" from Atli Örvarsson's The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, "Ready When You Are" from Kölmel's Ruby Red (Rubinrot), and "Grand Piano Concerto - 1st Movement" from Reyes' Grand Piano. Honorable mentions for this award in 2013 include "Breeze" from Tyler's Now You See Me, "Kirk Enterprises" from Michael Giacchino's Star Trek Into Darkness, the "Agoraphobia/Tomorrow-Morrow" duo from Fernando Velázquez's The Last Days (Los Últimos Días), and a pair of cheeky ethnic favorites, "Dusty & Ishani" from Mark Mancina's Planes and "Afghan Trek" from Theodore Shapiro's The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. In a lesser year, any of these great cues could have been nominated.

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