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Zimmer, team, and alums rundown Pt 3 - MV 1999-02 - Sprawlball (3a)
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• Posted by: JBlough   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Wednesday, April 6, 2022, at 2:47 p.m.
• IP Address:

This is part of a series. The last volume of Part 2 can be found here:

In October 2002, Jeff Rona opined on the transitional state of Media Ventures. “I left 3 months ago. Harry is leaving [early next] year. John left more than a year ago. Mark and John Van Tongeren left ages ago! Only Klaus, who mostly works from home, is left. [The new guys] are all former assistants. My assistant James. Geoff worked for John. Jim used to work for Hans. Steve used to work for Harry.”

With that turnover, and with multiple seasoned collaborators starting to find their own voices, 1999-2002 resulted in a fairly diverse range of scores. There are the well-known collaborations with the Scott brothers, Bruckheimer, and Dreamworks, and also rom coms, a sports drama, park music, spy thrillers, and science fiction. On average, the sound was less homogenous than it was in the “birth of the power anthem” days. Gavin Greenaway composed some striking non-film works. Harry Gregson-Williams experimented. John Powell accidentally revolutionized a genre. And Mark Mancina barely even evoked the MV sound; listeners who were introduced to him via Tarzan might’ve been shocked that he was a prog rocker who worked on Days of Thunder.

Multiple films had compressed post-production schedules that forced Zimmer to throw an army at scores and/or stage quite a few late night jam sessions - works like An Everlasting Piece, M:I 2, Black Hawk Down, and The Pledge, a project which Klaus Badelt would describe as “the weirdest ten days of my life.” Zimmer wouldn’t go as far as he did on Prince of Egypt in blaming his own procrastination, but he would admit that he was overscheduled during this time.

It’s a stretch of time that saw Zimmer’s occasional urge to do something unexpected become a near-constant impulse. Why sound like Spartacus? Why have an orchestra in Mission: Impossible? Why not synths in a Western? You don’t get the ”clowns with chainsaws” and ”Cinderella opening the doors to a ballroom and it’s a Metallica concert” attitudes about their later work on Pirates of the Caribbean (yes, those are real quotes) without the successes of this era - but you also get one instance where Zimmer conceded that approach backfired.

This crew would score some successful pictures over these four years and occasionally some acclaimed ones, including another Oscar winner for Best Picture which would give Zimmer his first such alignment since back-to-back wins for Rain Man and Driving Miss Daisy. But many of the highest-profile film scores of this time would come from established IP (the first two Star Wars prequels, the first two Harry Potter Potter films, the first two Lord of the Rings films, the first Raimi Spider-Man), and they were all backed by largely symphonic accompaniments which were greeted with almost uniform praise from critics, audiences, and film score fans. Meanwhile, the acclaimed Don Davis music in The Matrix would be informed more by the music of American contemporary classical composer John Adams than by its film’s pop song needle drops.

One film Zimmer was attached to made almost $200m domestically but was generally not viewed as a success due to its budget and its poor critical reception; its director would never attempt another movie like it and he and Zimmer would never work together again, though one of his apprentices frequently would. Zimmer would lose his lone Oscar, BAFTA, and Golden Globes nominations during these years to Tan Dun’s music from the international smash success Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, though he would seem to take these in stride. Given the album sales of Gladiator - platinum certified in the U.S. and other countries - he may have been laughing all the way to the bank.

The sole film from this era that one of these composers was attached to that was a runaway success (and would lead to sequels and theme park attractions) had significant song placements its composers had to work around, and one of its them was ultimately sacked midway through production.

Running in the background were trends which would start to upend the broader record industry - though their impact wouldn’t be felt as much here as they would be in the years of Remote Control. Apple’s iTunes and iPod would launch during this period, as would various peer-to-peer sharing sites like future online piracy poster child Napster, signaling the beginning of a societal pivot away from physical media. At the same time, Amazon was starting to make in-roads in new product categories including albums which it began offering in 1998, which also meant it was providing more opportunities for buyers to become “reviewers” of those products, something Zimmer (still prickly about criticism at this stage in his career) would start to take notice of.

It seems fitting that we both end the last phase and start this phase with a Terry Malick movie.

Endurance (1999) - ****
Powell; orchestrated by B Fowler/Moriarty/McIntosh/W Fowler; add’l music by Geoff Zanelli;
conducted by Gavin Greenaway; recording also produced by Hans Zimme; assistant sound engineer Klaus Badelt

Malick produced this docudrama about Ethiopian distance runner Haile Gebrselassie, who played himself on film. I first got exposed to this score via the Film Suites album conducted by José Serebrier. The rest of the score is not like the Hisaishi-sounding The Great Tree that was featured on that release - but it’s still good!

JP: “Hans was caught up with other things. So I worked over the weekend and wrote what was practically half of the score. I came in on Monday for a meeting with Terry and Hans said, ‘Please tell me you’ve written some shit, because I haven’t!’ Then I watched Hans listen to the stuff I’d written and he did the most amazing piece of salesmanship on it. He tap danced like Fred Astaire. Terry was very happy. They went away to shoot more footage of the final race. After Face/Off, I came back and finished.”

It’s arguably the first solo Powell piece in his own style - the jubilant opening, the intimate moments with acoustic guitar, the very active woodwind parts, the way strings carry dramatic momentum in the early parts of The Final Race, and of course the aforementioned playfulness of The Great Tree. It’s not the first explicitly African score to come from the MV empire, but with its focus on solo voices doing something like traditional songs it’s decidedly different from the large-scale celebratory feel of Power of One or the Afropop nature of The Lion King.

Powell seems to have gone through a small-scale version of Zimmer’s struggles on Malick’s other film. “One thing I regretted was there was a piece of temp in there at the end from a classical composer. But Terry was a very important part of my education. He wasn’t interested in the usual Hollywood schmaltz for such films.”

It’s a score that more aces individual moments than one that develops multiple themes transparently over the life of the album. It’ll likely be a low-end **** score or a high-end ***½ work for most listeners.

Forces of Nature (1999) - **½
Powell; orchestrated by B Fowler/Moriarty; add’l music by Oliver J. Lieber;
add’l arrangements by Gavin Greenaway; composer’s assistant Geoff Zanelli

Given the film had a ton of songs in it, it’s impressive Powell wrote anything more than anonymous filler. ”The director was looking for somebody who could try to make what sounded like the records she was listening to - Bjork and Propellerheads and things like that. It doesn’t sound very unique [in 2021], but [in 1999] it was probably more unusual than you would have expected for a romantic comedy at the time.” The end result is an embryonic introduction to the composer’s funky side - “me just going out of my way to be different.”

Absent notable themes and with record scratches on at least one track, it largely plays like the acid trip version of JNH’s later Duplicity, or a groovy demo reel, or perhaps like interstitial material you’d hear in future Powell works. Most of it’s tolerable (I could see Daneil Pemberton fans really digging this album), though I imagine stuff like Post Panic Attack will be challenging for many listeners.

JP: ”I got to jam with Oliver Leiber. He definitely helped bring a vibe to the whole thing that stopped it being too ‘scorey’. It didn’t really make an effect [on] my career, but it taught me a lot of stuff.”

I wonder if his positive experiences here played a part in him departing MV a few years later.

JP: “I created a rich seam of melodies for the film, but that didn’t work for the filmmakers. I reappropriated quite a few for a few movies after that.”

Tarzan (1999) - ****
Mancina; songs by Phil Collins with some arrangements by Mancina;
orchestrations & choral arrangements by David Metzger; add’l choral arrangements by Don Harper;
score co-produced by Christopher Ward

30 Rock character Tracy Jordan: “I'm gonna make you a mixtape. You like Phil Collins?”
Other 30 Rock character Jack Donaghy: “I've got two ears and a heart, don't I?”

My fourteenth discovery of this effort. I know I saw this movie in a theater with my grandparents in Connecticut, but I may not have seen it in full since then.

MM: “I went to the interview and didn’t get the job. Alan Silvestri did! For whatever reason it didn’t work out. They asked me if I could arrange the Phil Collins demo for ‘You’ll Be In My Heart’. Phil loved it.” Yep, that’s right - Pirates wasn’t the first time Silvestri would be replaced by folks covered in this rundown.

PC: ”I played some drums on some cues. [Mark] also orchestrated ‘Two Worlds’, which was up until then a rock track. I also gave four alternate ways to use the melodies, some of which ended up being used, ‘You'll Be In My Heart’ particularly. It's easy with Mark, he's a rock fan and we speak the same language.”

MM: ”Elton sends you the music and you don’t talk to him. Phil Collins is calling you the next day, ‘what did you think of my demo?’, much more hands on, wanted to learn how to write scores.”

The Collins songs are a mixed bag. Two Worlds and You’ll Be In My Heart are aces; the others are functional. I’ve heard speculation that the reason none of these songs have entered the cultural consciousness in the same way other songs from the Disney Renaissance have is because nearly all of them aren’t actually sung by characters in the film.

MM: “I did [become a dad around this time]. It did influence me; I was thinking about my daughter, what she’s going to want to see when she has her family.”

Mancina’s score often operates at the halfway point between The Lion King and the playful moments of JNH’s future output in the genre. It’s warm and charming, with some exciting action stretches (drums hammering away in Speed 2 fashion), though the sheer preponderance of short cues in the complete score may be a deterrent to some. The quotes of the Collins songs are nice. The full work is good enough to warrant an expanded release from the Disney Legacy series, especially since the original commercial album only had 16 minutes of score due to the studio demanding a program from Mancina before he’d completed the recording. I wonder if Mancina found any humor in this, having spent years complaining about his score albums being released months after their corresponding films, when they were even released at all.

MM: “I conducted the orchestra. I’m not the best conductor for the job, but I knew the music.”

Random fact: Someone at a ski trip I was on this past season thought Trashin' the Camp was amusing and put it on the speaker during a drunken hot tub hangout. Totally unprompted by me, I swear!

Chill Factor (1999) - Not heard
Zimmer & Powell; add’l music by Klaus Badelt, Jeff Rona, James McKee Smith & Geoff Zanelli;
possible uncredited contributions by James Levine & Gavin Greenaway

Not pursued as the score was never officially released. Worth citing for the first credited appearance of regular Powell collaborator James McKee Smith, and also possibly the first appearance of James Levine (who also supported Jeff Rona on the ABC television movie adaptation of the Tom Clancy series NetForce). “I started thinking about music for pictures when I was in college. I pursued some friends who were doing advertising, and I did some commercials. I came out [to LA] on a fact finding mission when I was 20. [MV] was everything - aesthetics, story, what to say, what not to say, where to take chances, where to play it safe - all those things, sitting with Hans, Harry, Jeff, John. It was like an apprenticeship from heaven.”

IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth (1999) - ****

My fifteenth discovery of this effort. This was done for the old Epcot fireworks program.

GG: “I could give directors what they wanted but I didn’t enjoy writing that kind of music. Not long after I realized that I got a call from Hans saying ‘I have a great job for you.’ What I didn’t find out until later was that Hans had been offered the job and had fobbed them off with me. They weren’t thrilled this unknown was writing music for their new show - [but] I had nothing to lose. I think I probably worked on it for about three months, not continuously, but there were [several] weeks at the beginning before I played Disney a demo.”

There are traces of the MIDI feel and unison brass sound of this crew’s more child-friendly music from the last era. But largely this is great fun - a fusion of Zimmer’s warm character drama sound, the world music feel of Waterworld or perhaps Mancina’s more tribal sounds, and rousing orchestral tones with gigantic brass outbursts that suggest his future collaborations with John Powell (as do the passages where strings carry the melody over the ensemble in a dancing fashion).

GG: “I was very careful not to have any sound that was overtly synthetic because it would date very quickly. It’s a big lagoon, and you have the wind. I wanted music that works outside - bold and a very strong cohesive tissue.”

It’s good - but it wasn’t Gavin’s other Disney work from the same year.

Tapestry of Nations (1999) - *****

This music for an old Epcot parade, written concurrently with the above work, is my sixteenth discovery of this effort - and probably the most sensational piece of music I’ve heard in 2022 so far.

GG: “The brief was not very specific musically - other than to feature drums and singing. A 3 minute music loop with different elements would suffice for the whole parade [but] I thought it would be great to create a piece of music which built and mutated over the whole length of the parade. After a few weeks of working on Reflections I started to sketch out ideas for Tapestry of Nations. The words are made up to sound like a proto-language, as I didn’t want to have some people understanding and others not.”

The MIDI feel and unison brass sound? Yeah, they’re gone. You get an orchestral-pop-world music fusion jamboree, all largely based on a theme that Greenaway keeps tinkering with in interesting ways - different cadences, new groups taking it over, random instruments sneaking into the mix - all building to an exquisite outburst near the 20 minute mark. It’s a magnificently detailed, smile-inducing composition, one that’s at least 10x better than any park processional music has any right to be. If you don’t dance with joy when this is on, you may not have a pulse.

It’s a pity Greenaway didn’t want to continue with film composing, though he’s obviously found success since then, including conducting the 2019 David Arnold Vs Michael Giacchino concert which was one of the most entertaining things I’ve ever attended.

GG: “I’ll always remember seeing it for the first time in front of an audience. At first people didn’t know what to make of it, but the gently insistent rhythm soon had families following along, dancing and interacting with the puppets. I saw many happy smiles. And the next day there was a line at the Disney store as people bought the CD - for a time it was the best-selling CD in Orlando.”

Deep Blue Sea (1999) - ***½
Trevor Rabin; also produced by Paul Linford & Steve Kempster;
orchestrated & conducted by Gordon Goodwin; also orchestrated by TR, Steve Haltzman & Tom Calderero

FINALLY, right?

A little bit of column A and a little bit of column B here in this, my seventeenth discovery of this effort and possibly the first Trevor Rabin score I’ve ever heard (there’s a nonzero chance I heard The Sorcerer’s Apprentice in undergrad, but I don’t recall a note of it).

TR: “I remember Renny saying [for the infamous Sam Jackson scene], ‘two trains smashing each other - that’s the sound of the music’. I love working with him.”

The early cues (at least based on the original album sequence) are big dumb fun for a big dumb movie, and Rabin does interesting things in other places - 7/8 rhythms, something approaching the whale sounds of Goldsmith’s Leviathan, and the thrilling ruckus that is Anarchy. I was expecting a Shrek-like main theme; I was not expecting Rabin to slow that theme to a crawl until it sounded like the Rambo III action theme in that aforementioned cue.

But a decent portion of the album descends into mundane, anonymous slasher music territory with a “TV movie of the week” cheapness. Some moments have nice instrumental detail, while others will make you question if you’re hearing a large orchestra being underutilized, a recording choice, or samples (very ‘birth of the power anthem’ era).

Rabin would say in 2004 it’s one of the scores he’s most proud of (along with Remember The Titans).

Gladiator (2000) - ****½
Zimmer & Lisa Gerrard; add’l music by Klaus Badelt;
featured guitars by Heitor Pereira; duduk by Djivan Gasparyan;
North African street music by Jeff Rona;
orchestrated by the Fowler bros/Moriarty/McIntosh & Liz Finch;
conducted by Gavin Greenaway; JIm Dooley and others as Zimmer’s assistants;
Marc Streitenfeld & Justin Burnett as technical score advisors;
thank you’s to Michael Brook, John Powell, NGS & Jay Rifkin

HZ: “After The Thin Red Line, I thought I didn't know how to find the joy of writing. Somehow Ridley Scott and Gladiator made it possible for me to just play again. I went out to England the first week they were shooting out there. The deepest, darkest farmland; I mean, you’ve never seen mud like this. We suddenly left the 20th century behind.”

Jon Blough, February 10th, 2021: “I wonder if I've slightly underrated it by now. It's been a long time since I've revisited the album, and I wonder if it truly makes sense to rank something like WW84 ahead of Gladiator. Maybe doing a Zimmer collection rundown this year is merited.”

This was my first album purchase ever. I got it at Amoeba Records in San Francisco. The purchase was driven by me being a big fan of the film at the time. Note: it wasn't my first exposure to standalone film music (my folks, like everyone else, bought the Titanic CD, and I'm fairly certain we had a cassette of the original Lion King album). It, along with maybe 10 other scores, got played A LOT on my old high school portable disc player - there’s a nonzero chance I’ve played that CD more than any other album.

My affection for it has somewhat dimmed since then. The big moments, though effective, can sometimes feel cheap, a feeling perhaps driven by all the unison brass. This arguably gets more noticeable once you've seen Gladiator Live, the live-to-film performance by a symphony orchestra, and hear what a more impressively arranged version sounds like. And the score is, for better or worse, a clear descendent of The Peacemaker (e.g., similar action mannerisms, the solo vocals), which is perhaps just Zimmer being stylistically consistent with what’d been working recently but also seems to fit with his overarching worldview of “why would I do the expected here”, a tear-down-your-sacred-icons mindset that we saw recently with the “why is there a symphony orchestra in space” attitude about Dune.

HZ: “Everybody said I should listen to Respighi. I did not want to turn into a musical anthropologist, to research ancient Roman music. But at the same time I wanted to have a sound that was not contemporary to today. There was some mumbling, not from Ridley, [about] why I was not more Spartacus-like. Where was the big fanfare? I kept on saying to them but Spartacus is not the movie we are making just now. It made me wonder who Alex was asked to listen to when he [was on Spartacus]. Then I realized it was the experience they'd had when they saw the film as young boys [they were looking for]. As long as I could give people that same sort of experience, I knew I would have done my job well.”

I also wonder if I have some (possibly unfair) resentment thanks to all the trends Gladiator inspired that were rarely done quite as well in subsequent scores. The prominent marketing of a solo vocalist's involvement (heck, the prominent marketing of the whole thing - Dune again), duduk solos getting used for anything Middle Eastern, power anthems being deployed outside of modern action films...I could go on.

HZ: “[I’m] sitting there on Gladiator feeling insecure about a piece of music, John Powell walking by, and we say, ‘Hey John, have a listen to this. Is this complete garbage or do you think I’ll live another day?’ And him going, ‘Well, this bit is garbage, but this one you can build on.’ Or just saying, ‘If you just change this chord a little bit.’ We’re all in this together, in a way.”

But it remains great, at least for me. The Maximus theme and all the 'new age-y' tracks still resonate. The tortured Commodus material shakes the ground. The additional contributions by Badelt & Gerrard (and possibly NGS) are solid. Strength and Honor, simplistic as it is, is so effective in the film. I’m sure the fact that it’s from one of my 20 favorite films helps tremendously.

HZ: “Gladiator used to be: title and you’re in the battle. And I know Ridley well enough, I know that he’s a painter, he’s a poet. I wanted to give him something that would say right at the beginning of the film, hang on, this is not the gladiator movie you expect but it’s going to be interesting. Come with us on this journey. My ambition was to make it romantic; [I didn’t want women] to be bored or put off by it.”

KB: “While working on Gladiator, Ridley Scott was in my room as much as he was in Han’s room. Harry was working on Chicken Run, and it was great to get up when I was stuck on something and go hear this comedy music”

HZ: ”The Coliseum fight is a complicated scene, and noisy. The audience at test screenings wasn’t understanding what Maximus was trying to do. Part of what it became for me was to explain the strategy musically. I could use the reaction from the test audience and keep refining.”

Zimmer had first collaborated with former Simply Red guitarist Heitor Pereira on As Good As It Gets - originally it was just to provide Brazilian-flavored songs, but they became fast friends and Heitor would have an active role in the score - but it’s really here that his place in the MV empire became solidified. ”I never made big plans. I joined Simply Red because a producer asked me. [Eventually] the guitarist function was getting a little boring. I’d dedicated all my life to this instrument. [But] my fascination for sound, composition, instrumentation - I think [that] was bigger than the success as a solo musician.” Subsequent comments have suggested that there was a more overtly Spanish flavor to some of their earlier drafts - Maximus is regularly called ‘Spaniard’ throughout the film, even if he seems about as Spanish as Robert Redford was British in Out of Africa - but those were eventually discarded.

Zimmer’s fascination with the solo female voice, stretching at least as far back as Pacific Heights, possibly reaches its zenith with his work with singer and former Dead Can’t Dance member Lisa Gerrard. This style may have become cliche after its frequent use in subsequent epic / desert-based films (a later Slate article would term this “wail watching”), but Gerrard’s work is still gorgeous here and lends quite a striking, almost spiritual effect on the film.

HZ: “Ridley and I heard a CD of hers and we thought, ‘She’s good. Get her.’ Lisa grew up in Melbourne's Turkish community and she has a very strong style but there is a purity about it and a truthfulness. Lisa is a formidable woman; she is not just a 'Pop Diva', she has enormous intelligence, integrity, and musicality. When I first contacted her about working with me on Gladiator, she politely declined, saying it wasn't quite her cup of tea, but when she saw some footage, she finally agreed and she was eager enough to catch the next plane. I admire that attitude, I would much rather work with somebody with that artistic integrity than with somebody who will say 'yes' to anything.”

LG: “We improvised for one week and wrote 10 pieces of music, some of which were 10 minutes long. It was such an extraordinarily creative period.”

HZ: “[What sounds like] a Hammer Dulcimer is actually a Chinese instrument. She found it in a Hong Kong supermarket. It sounds great but it is practically impossible to tune properly, it has so many strings and it takes a good hour to tune it just to play music for a three-minute take.”

And it's all tied together by an exceptionally arranged album. I know there has been plenty of clamoring for a complete release over the years, but I truly question how much value it would provide. Much of what's in the film that's not on album is either reused tracks or very similar material (save maybe for a grim statement of the Maximus theme excised from The Battle) - though this could be the result of how Ridley deployed the music, something we’ve seen in almost all his films, even the director’s cut of Legend.

And the dialogue-heavy More Music from Gladiator released in 2001 is kind of a flop (good rule: unless you're having Christopher Plummer or Anthony Hopkins narrate, keep spoken words out of your score albums), although there are a few worthwhile tracks from it - the Morricone-adjacent Duduk of the North, the admitted rush-job (and very 90s MV-sounding) Homecoming which contains maybe the only instance of the explicitly Spanish material that they otherwise discarded, and a peek into the source music done by Jeff Rona. Zimmer would somewhat agree. “I thought the album could be interesting, and show my working process, [but] the dialogue on it sucks, right? It's terrible! It's a bad idea, it's in the wrong place, and it really distracts. It's not what I had in mind. It wasn't a very good recording of Russell's voice.”

Zimmer’s music in the film’s two big battle scenes often uses a brutal waltz format that, for many classical music listeners, took overt inspiration from Mars, The Bringer of War from English composer Gustav Holst’s well-known concert work The Planets. Upon reflection, the connection is obvious (Zimmer typically referred to the commonalities as accidental in interviews done after the film). But considering the number of other classical works that film composers have either sought inspiration from or outright stolen from (even when you exclude the works of James Horner that “borrow” from Prokofiev, Mahler, Bartok, Prokofiev again, etc.), the subsequent hullabaloo and 2006 plagiarism lawsuit filed by the Holst estate seemed more like the work of an opportunistic estate targeting an extremely popular and lucrative work.

In a bit of perhaps unintended historical consistency, Zimmer’s comments like “anybody can tell that he influenced it; it doesn't make you very smart” are shockingly similar to what Brahms said when people pointed out the similarities between Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and his First Symphony - “any ass can see that.”

The estate of Richard Wagner might’ve had a better claim about modified versions of Siegfried's Rhine Journey and Siegfried’s Funeral Music showing up in a few places, though in that case Zimmer had a completely different answer: no duh. He claimed the inserts in The Might of Rome were the result of an anti-war German catching a whiff of Nazi propaganda documentaries and quoting the fascist’s preferred composer as a conscious in-joke. ”When I first looked at what Ridley had done with [the entrance to] Rome, I realized that this was really a Leni Riefenstahl homage. So I shamelessly put on my German hat.”

There’s more! Zimmer also acknowledged the influence of English composer William Walton’s piece Battle in the Air from the 1969 film Battle of Britain on some of the battle music. He even claimed it was one of his favorites. Clearly Walton’s estate wasn’t too peeved.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has had an ever-evolving set of rules on what works are eligible for the Oscar for Best Original Score and who can be nominated, which has occasionally resulted in some confounding results.
- Studio music department heads originally won the award instead of composers.
- Four credited composers were awarded for the music for the 1939 film Stagecoach.
- Nino Rota’s music for The Godfather had its nomination revoked over a reprised theme from Rota’s earlier music for the 1950s Italian film Fortunella, but Bill Conti was basically forced by his director to use Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto as his main theme for the 1983 film The Right Stuff and won the Oscar anyway.
- Three years later jazz pianist and bandleader Herbie Hancock would win the award for Original Score for arrangements of preexisting songs that were done for Round Midnight.
- Quincy Jones’s score for the 1985 film The Color Purple had eleven other named collaborators. Fred Steiner was one of them and once chuckled over how absurd it would’ve been trying to fit all of them on stage if they won.

That latter case was still influencing the rules, so despite Gerrard’s essential role in the creation of the score she was disqualified from the score’s Oscar nomination. Said Hans of the matter later, “It's probably a very good thing I didn't get the Academy Award for Gladiator, because it would have been embarrassing since Lisa had been disqualified. I think the rule implemented after The Color Purple is a good one, and it protects composers, but I do think that collaboration is a good thing in the film business.”

This would be the first credited appearance of former USC Thornton School of Music student Jim Dooley, who was referred to MV by scoring engineer Steve Kaplan when the company was looking for prospects. “I saw a short film in high school that featured a cue ball rolling around our corridors. The music to accompany this was Danny Elfman's Batman. The music made this the most interesting cue ball to watch I've ever seen. I knew then that I wanted to be a part of this world. Networking and the relationships at USC got me the interview and the position. [Hans] really showed me what it takes. I don't think anyone else can rival his work ethic or drive.”

HZ: “We had a preview and my wife came. My wife punched me. ‘Now I know why you were so unbearable for the last 6 months.’

I have an hour's worth of material which I wrote for this movie which no one will ever hear. It was like a department store suit - it looked right, but it didn’t quite fit. We’re talking bespoke tailoring here.”


Next time: A Belgian victory lap, lightning doesn’t strike twice, and…Lorne Balfe? Already?

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