Collaboration Disqualification

The Dark Knight album cover

Image via Wikipedia

I recently wrote a post about the growing popularity of multiple-composer collaborations. I was mainly referring to the excellent soundtrack from the ‘Dark Knight’ written primarily by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard.

I use the word primarily because there were a few other composers and creative people involved who ended up getting credit on the film. Unfortunately, according to Variety, the score for “The Dark Knight” has been disqualified by the executive committee of the Academy music branch.

I would like to applaud the composers for making sure that the people involved received the proper credit (and the resulting income!) in the film. (The other composers signed affidavits citing their involvement). As the system changes and rules for new media start to get rewritten, it’s important that we set some examples for the future. More and more works are being created in new and exciting ways and it’s important that everybody involved in the process gets their due recognition.

What happens if a soundtrack is created by composers on different sides of the continent who have never met? What if one isn’t a composer but a DJ (or sound designer or songwriter??) that has contributed some of their own cues? Is it wrong to acknowledge them in the paperwork to appease the Academy?

Update: The executive committee of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ music branch has reversed it’s decision the original score from The Dark Knight as ineligible because there were too many composers involved in the score. It is eligible for an Oscar in the best original score category.

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