Thursday, 1 January 2015

2014 ENTERTAINMENT JUNKIE SCORING AWARD WINNERS


Welcome one and all to the second annual Entertainment Junkie Scoring Awards ceremony; perhaps the least formal award ceremony in the history of award ceremonies! I shan't bullshit any longer; without further ado, allow us to get into the awards of which you came to read about:

BEST FANTASY/SCI-FI SCORE (5 NOM.)
  • INTERSTELLAR - HANS ZIMMER (WATERTOWER MUSIC)
  • THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES - HOWARD SHORE (WATERTOWER MUSIC)
  • MALEFICENT - JAMES NEWTON HOWARD (WALT DISNEY RECORDS)
  • THE GIVER - MARCO BELTRAMI (SONY MUSIC)
  • GODZILLA - ALEXANDRE DESPLAT (WATERTOWER MUSIC)
WINNER - THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES

Whilst awarded the least impressive rating out of all 5 nominees, Howard Shore's final Middle-Earth outing has managed to best its technically superior adversaries with the sheer size and scale it boasts of. Seeing as the category is entitled as Best Fantasy/Sci-Fi Score, the score that most took me out of my own, current world, and transported me to another was Shore's effort, and for that, it deserves the nomination and win. The major runners up included Godzilla and Interstellar, both possessing some of the strongest, widely varied thematic material and orchestrations of the year, and both ranking high in my end of year lists. Maleficent and The Giver were also two incredibly competent, powerful and emotional scores, Beltrami and Howard both supplying some of the strongest material of the year.

BEST COMEDY SCORE (5 NOM.)
  • THE BOXTROLLS - DARIO MARIANELLI (BACK LOT MUSIC)
  • INHERENT VICE - JONNY GREENWOOD (NONESUCH RECORDS)
  • THE PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR - LORNE BALFE (RELATIVITY MUSIC GROUP) 
  • KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM - BEAR MCCREARY (SPARKS AND SHADOWS)
  • A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST - JOEL MCNEELY (BACK LOT MUSIC)
WINNER - KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM

Bear McCreary's impressive year started off with a bang as he provided two energetic releases; the score to the television series Black Sails, and then the music for the film Knights of Badassdom. Hilarious, fun and full of genre tropes that were continuously made fun of, Knights of Badassdom was a fun, awesome ride. Runners up included The Penguins of Madagascar, which provided us with arguably the best opening cue of the year; The Boxtrolls, which was a fantastic, vibrant and varied return to form from Dario Marianelli; A Million Ways To Die In The West, which was a throwback western score that indulged in some of the funnest music from the genre this year, and Jonny Greenwood's latest collaboration with Paul Thomas Anderson for Inherent Vice, which had a smooth, jazzy vibe that carried through until its terrific finale.

BEST DRAMA SCORE (5 NOM.)
  • THE GOOD WIFE - DAVID BUCKLEY (CBS STUDIOS)
  • THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING - JOHANN JOHANNSSON (BACK LOT MUSIC)
  • THE GIVER - MARCO BELTRAMI (SONY MUSIC)
  • FURY - STEVEN PRICE (VARESE SARABANDE)
  • THE LIBERATOR - GUSTAVO DUDAMEL (DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON)
WINNER - THE GIVER

Beautiful and emotionally-poignant, Marco Beltrami's The Giver possessed some of the stronger dramatic music of the year, and despite the heartbreaking resonance of Steven Price's effort for Fury, managed to win over many worthy candidates for this specific award. Other runners up included the sensational The Theory of Everything, which featured some of the most dazzling and powerful music from the year, Johann Johannsson proving that he can provide minimalistic work which doesn't sacrifice sentimentality; David Buckley's The Good Wife, which was a television score which always harboured class, elegance and strong thematic material, and finally Gustavo Dudamel's The Liberator, which happened to be his first scoring effort, and perhaps his last. That is disappointing to say the least, due to The Liberator's sensational beauty and variation.

BEST ACTION SCORE (5 NOM.)
  • FURY - STEVEN PRICE (VARESE SARABANDE)
  • THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES - HOWARD SHORE (WATERTOWER MUSIC)
  • HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 - JOHN POWELL (REGIME MUSIC GROUP)
  • GODZILLA - ALEXANDRE DESPLAT (WATERTOWER MUSIC)
  • KUNDO: AGE OF THE RAMPANT - JO YEONG-WOOK
WINNER - HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2

This is perhaps the closest category so far, as whilst focusing on the action material for each of the individual nominees, they all seemed absolutely in contention of winning. Whilst Godzilla's brilliant and brutal brass, percussion and bass provided some of the most incredible, heart-pumping action highlights of the year, and Howard Shore's The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies possessed consistently varied and powerful action material for over a quarter of its running time, when I think back at the action material for the second installment into the How To Train Your Dragon franchise, I can't think of any other score which can best it in terms of sheer size, speed and volume. The additional nominees, whilst not as impressive as the aforementioned releases in terms of action material, these including Price's Fury and Yeong-Wook's Kundo: Age of the Rampant, both feature some immensely intense material, and deserve to be placed alongside these other incredible scores.

BEST ANIMATION SCORE (6 NOM.)
  • TARZAN - DAVID NEWMAN (MILAN RECORDS)
  • BIG HERO 6 - HENRY JACKMAN (WALT DISNEY RECORDS)
  • HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 - JOHN POWELL (REGIME MUSIC GROUP)
  • THE PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR - LORNE BALFE (RELATIVITY MUSIC GROUP)
  • RIO 2 - JOHN POWELL (ATLANTIC RECORDS)
  • THE BOXTROLLS - DARIO MARIANELLI (BACK LOT MUSIC)
WINNER - HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2

This year was the year of the animation score, featuring some of the most bombastic, brilliant, fun and dazzling animation material seen in recent times. John Powell's How To Train Your Dragon 2 is by far the most accessible, beautiful score of the year in terms of this category, but that is not to discount the other contenders, Tarzan and The Boxtrolls especially numbering amongst some of the finest entries into 2014's scoring canon. John Powell managed to find himself with two nominations in this category, Rio 2 also possessing some of the most vibrant, energetic music to be seen this year. Big Hero 6 and The Penguins of Madagascar also served as some brilliantly fun efforts, Jackman and Balfe both engaging in relatively unconventional ideas, but delivering them with enough unique and individual style to be considered applicable for this here award.

BEST TELEVISION SCORE (6 NOM.)
  • THE LEFTOVERS - MAX RICHTER (WATERTOWER MUSIC)
  • GAME OF THRONES: SEASON 4 - RAMIN DJAWADI (WATERTOWER MUSIC)
  • HIDDEN KINGDOMS - BEN FOSTER (SILVA SCREEN)
  • DA VINCI'S DEMONS: SEASON 2 - BEAR MCCREARY (SPARKS AND SHADOWS)
  • THE GOOD WIFE - DAVID BUCKLEY (CBS STUDIOS)
  • ARROW: SEASON 2 - BLAKE NEELY (LALALAND RECORDS)
WINNER - DA VINCI'S DEMONS: SEASON 2

This category, out of all of the categories provided, was by far the most difficult to decide upon. Whilst Bear McCreary's absolutely stellar effort for Da Vinci's Demons: Season 2 proved to be the best on a technical front, Max Richter's The Leftovers was a clear second, possessing some of the most subtle yet powerful material of the year, his slight but effective thematic material representing the dread of its visual format's story with accurate precision. Djawadi's efforts for Game of Thrones were again much heralded by the resident Game of Thrones expert, and collated some of the strongest uses of individual themes yet for the series. David Buckley's efforts for The Good Wife were also to be commended for their class and grace, Ben Foster's eclectic and diverse Hidden Kingdoms was a treat to listen to multiple times, and Blake Neely has managed to turn things around after 2013's disastrous release for Arrow: Season 1, Season 2 proving to be a far better listen in comparison.

BEST VIDEO GAME SCORE (6 NOM.)
  • CASTLEVANIA: LORDS OF SHADOW 2 - OSCAR ARAUJO (SUMTHING ELSE MUSIC WORKS)
  • CHILD OF LIGHT - COEUR DE PIRATE (DARE TO CARE RECORDS)
  • THE ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE - BRAD DERRICK, RIK SCHAFFER (BETHESDA SOFTWORKS)
  • SID MEIER'S CIVILIZATION: BEYOND EARTH - GEOFF KNOR, GRIFFEN COEN, GRANT KIRKHOPE, MICHAEL CURRAN (2K)
  • THE BANNER SAGA - AUSTIN WINTORY (T-65b RECORDS)
  • DRAGON AGE: INQUISITION - TREVOR MORRIS (E.A.R.S)
WINNER - CHILD OF LIGHT

Whilst not the most compositionally varied or grand of all the nominees here, Child of Light possessed some of the most beautiful, fluent and understated material of the year, and consistently shocked me with its palpable thematic intelligence. Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth and The Elder Scrolls Online came ever so close, both possessing huge running times that were filled to the brim with some of the most technically astounding material I've ever heard from this genre. Austin Wintory receives his second nomination in a row (in terms of year), and whilst he didn't win this year like he did with Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine within 2013, he does receive great commendation for his tremendous efforts in regards to The Banner Saga, a quality piece of work. Dragon Age: Inquisition and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow were somewhat wildcard entries, but both still feature some of the most incredible fantasy video game scoring of the year, Morris and Araujo both advancing previously established soundscapes with power and aggression.

BEST FILM SCORE (8 NOM.)
  • INTERSTELLAR - HANS ZIMMER (WATERTOWER MUSIC)
  • THE GIVER - MARCO BELTRAMI (SONY MUSIC)
  • GRAND PIANO - VICTOR REYES (MOVIESCORE MEDIA)
  • HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 - JOHN POWELL (REGIME MUSIC GROUP)
  • GODZILLA - ALEXANDRE DESPLAT (WATERTOWER MUSIC)
  • FURY - STEVEN PRICE (VARESE SARABANDE)
  • KUNDO: AGE OF THE RAMPANT - JO YEONG-WOOK
  • THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES - HOWARD SHORE (WATERTOWER MUSIC)
WINNER - HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2

Continuing its run of awards, John Powell's incredible effort takes this award, despite some threatening presence from Alexandre Desplat for Godzilla and Victor Reyes for his fantastic score to Grand Piano. The other nonnegotiable nominees included Hans Zimmer's effort for Interstellar, which featured some of his finest material in years; Beltrami's work for The Giver, which I've already made note of its beauty and emotional-poignancy, and Steven Price's strangely original compositions for Fury which proved to harrow and shock. Also included is Jo Yeong-Wook's extremely fun and unpredictable score for Kundo: Age of the Rampant, and Howard Shore's final and conclusive expedition into Middle-Earth with The Battle of the Five Armies.

BEST CUE (25 NOM.)
  • MALEFICENT SUITE - JAMES NEWTON HOWARD (MALEFICENT)
  • MALEFICENT FLIES - JAMES NEWTON HOWARD (MALEFICENT)
  • TARZAN CLIMBS TREE - DAVID NEWMAN (TARZAN)
  • HISTORY OF ARTEMSIA - JUNKIE XL (300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE)
  • GRAND PIANO CONCERTO: 1ST, 2ND, 3RD CONCERTOS - VICTOR REYES (GRAND PIANO)
  • FOR BLOOD, FOR GLORY, FOR HONOR - JEREMY SOULE (THE ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE)
  • MY ENEMY - HANS ZIMMER AND THE MAGNIFICENT SIX (THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2)
  • GODZILLA! - ALEXANDRE DESPLAT (GODZILLA)
  • BACK TO THE OCEAN - ALEXANDRE DESPLAT (GODZILLA)
  • AURORA'S THEME - COEUR DE PIRATE (CHILD OF LIGHT)
  • LOSING MOM / MEET THE GOOD ALPHA - JOHN POWELL (HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2)
  • FLYING WITH MOTHER - JOHN POWELL (HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2)
  • BATTLE OF THE BEWILDERBEAST - JOHN POWELL (HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2)
  • THE GREAT APE PROCESSIONAL - MICHAEL GIACCHINO (DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES)
  • ACCELERATED TRAINING - MARCO BELTRAMI (THE GIVER)
  • ROSEBUD - MARCO BELTRAMI (THE GIVER)
  • I AM SATISFIED WITH MY CARE - HENRY JACKMAN (BIG HERO 6)
  • MOUNTAINS - HANS ZIMMER (INTERSTELLAR)
  • DETACH - HANS ZIMMER (INTERSTELLAR)
  • NO TIME FOR CAUTION - HANS ZIMMER (INTERSTELLAR)
  • THE HANGING TREE - JAMES NEWTON HOWARD FEAT. JENNIFER LAWRENCE (THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 1)
  • THE DEPARTURE - MAX RICHTER (THE LEFTOVERS)
  • THERE AND BACK AGAIN - HOWARD SHORE (THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES)
  • IRONFOOT - EXTENDED EDITION - HOWARD SHORE (THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES)
  • THE BEETFIELD - STEVEN PRICE (FURY)
WINNER - BATTLE OF THE BEWILDERBEAST (HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2)

Despite some heavy competition from James Newton Howard, Hans Zimmer and Marco Beltrami, John Powell (as is to be expected) dominates another field with 3 nominations and a win. Whilst I shan't mention every single nominee, the major contenders included 'Maleficent Suite', 'Flying With Mother', 'No Time For Caution', 'Rosebud', 'Back To The Ocean' and 'The Beetfield', alongside the winner that is, all brilliant and beautiful pieces which I have consistently come back to to celebrate and enjoy.

BEST COMPOSER (8 NOM.)
  • HANS ZIMMER - INTERSTELLAR, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2, WINTER'S TALE, SON OF GOD
  • JAMES NEWTON HOWARD - MALEFICENT, THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 1, NIGHTCRAWLER
  • JOHN POWELL - HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2, RIO 2
  • ALEXANDRE DESPLAT - GODZILLA, THE MONUMENTS MEN, THE IMITATION GAME, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, UNBROKEN
  • MARCO BELTRAMI - THE GIVER, SNOWPIERCER, 1864, THE HOMESMAN, THE DROP, THE NOVEMBER MAN
  • BEAR MCCREARY - DA VINCI'S DEMONS: SEASON 2, KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM, ANGRY VIDEO GAME NERD: THE MOVIE, BLACK SAILS
  • VICTOR REYES - GRAND PIANO
  • JO YEONG-WOOK - KUNDO: AGE OF THE RAMPANT
WINNER - ALEXANDRE DESPLAT

Perhaps the most surprising component of this year's awards is that Alexandre Desplat hasn't won very much all throughout, considering he has one of the highest tallies of nominations here, thanks to Godzilla (7). Nevertheless, as I've made mention of before on this website, Desplat's ingenuity, variation and quantity of scores he's provided over the year had put him as a clear favourite for the Best Composer award only halfway through the calender year. This carried on through the rest of the year, and Desplat's efforts have averaged so well that this award was almost guaranteed to go to him by any and all readers of this site. So, here I am, being predictable. Congratulations Desplat for giving us some of the best music of the year.

COMMUNITY AWARD (5 NOM.)
  • SID MEIER'S CIVILIZATION: BEYOND EARTH - GEOFF KNOR, GRIFFEN COEN, GRANT KIRKHOPE, MICHAEL CURRAN (2K)
  • DRAGON AGE: INQUISITION - TREVOR MORRIS (E.A.R.S)
  • INTERSTELLAR - HANS ZIMMER (WATERTOWER MUSIC)
  • HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 - JOHN POWELL (REGIME MUSIC GROUP)
  • PENNY DREADFUL - ABEL KORZENIOWSKI (VARESE SARABANDE)
WINNER - INTERSTELLAR

Despite the relatively disappointing quantity of votes received this year for this award, I have still gone ahead and decided to allow its presence to be felt here. Interstellar was the definitive winner, with How To Train Your Dragon 2, Civilization: Beyond Earth and Dragon Age: Inquisition receiving the same quantity of votes, and Penny Dreadful receiving none.

BEST SCORE (10 NOM.)
  • THE LEFTOVERS - MAX RICHTER (WATERTOWER MUSIC)
  • THE ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE - BRAD DERRICK, RIK SCHAFFER (BETHESDA SOFTWORKS)
  • CHILD OF LIGHT - COEUR DE PIRATE (DARE TO CARE RECORDS)
  • DA VINCI'S DEMONS: SEASON 2 - BEAR MCCREARY (SPARKS AND SHADOWS)
  • INTERSTELLAR - HANS ZIMMER (WATERTOWER MUSIC)
  • GODZILLA - ALEXANDRE DESPLAT (WATERTOWER MUSIC)
  • HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 - JOHN POWELL (REGIME MUSIC GROUP)
  • GRAND PIANO - VICTOR REYES (MOVIESCORE MEDIA)
  • TARZAN - DAVID NEWMAN (MILAN RECORDS)
  • SID MEIER'S CIVILIZATION: BEYOND EARTH - GEOFF KNOR, GRIFFEN COEN, GRANT KIRKHOPE, MICHAEL CURRAN (2K)
WINNER - HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2

5 wins over the duration of these awards; it should be clear to everyone by now what my favourite score of the year is. John Powell's effort is the definitive work for the year, and beckons that I come back every so often to embrace its beauty and power. Godzilla, Grand Piano, Interstellar, Child of Light and Da Vinci's Demons: Season 2 are all close contenders, but none of them possess as much instantaneously accessible material as How To Train Your Dragon 2.

As a final note, thank you all for coming to Entertainment Junkie throughout the year and celebrating scores and films with me. I don't do this for money (unless you count 60 cents a month as a suitable income); I do this to engage in conversations with people on entertainment, and that has been what has happened this year, thanks to the visitors who continue to read and express opinions on my reviews and pieces. I thank each and every one of you.

Lets hope 2015 has its fair share of brilliant music!