Following a great deal of discussion, the International Film Music Critics Association is implementing four rule changes that affect the IFMCA Awards, effective immediately.
1. Scores for television series and video games are now eligible for Score of the Year
Historically, the Score of the Year category has been reserved for scores written for feature films and feature documentaries only. However, as the distinction between scores for theatrical films and scores written for other mediums has become closer in terms of quality, scope, and approach, it was felt that this narrow eligibility criteria was no longer appropriate, and was unnecessarily restrictive in terms of actually recognizing the best music written each year. As such, beginning in 2022, the eligibility for the main Score of the Year category will be expanded to include scores written for multi-episode television and streaming series, and scores written for video games and interactive media. Similarly, the IFMCA’s main category will simply be known as Score of the Year, rather than *Film* Score of the Year as it sometimes called, and the score’s main category for composers will be known as Composer of the Year, rather than *Film* Composer of the Year. The genre-specific categories for films, and the categories for ‘Best Original Score for Television’ and ‘Best Original Score for a Video Game or Interactive Media’ remain the same, with the exception of those noted below.
2. Expanding categories to better represent horror/thriller scores
Beginning in 2022, the existing categories for ‘Best Original Score for an Action/Adventure/Thriller Film’ and ‘Best Original Score for a Fantasy/Science Fiction/Horror film’ will be split into three new categories: one representing Action/Adventures scores, one representing Fantasy/Science Fiction scores, and one representing Horror/Thriller scores. The group took this decision mainly to acknowledge the fact that, since the categories were initially combined in 2010, horror/thriller scores specifically have become somewhat overlooked and marginalized, and it was felt that returning to the category structure that existed prior to 2010 would result in the group being able to better acknowledge and celebrate the unique approaches composers take to create excellent horror/thriller music.
3. Streamlining the Archival Awards category
Historically the IFMCA has maintained three Archival awards categories: one for Best Archival Re-Release, one for Best Archival Re-Recording, and one for Best Archival Compilation. However, over the years, the IFMCA has run into several issues regarding these categories, especially when the re-recording category does not have enough eligible albums to make the category viable. In an attempt to make the category more representative, rather than having three separate archival categories, there will now be one all-encompassing Archival Release category in which all these types of albums will compete, with the number of nominees increasing from 5 to 10. As always, the IFMCA will judge these albums based on a combination of several different criteria, including the original quality of the music composition itself, the historical importance of the new album, the quality of the performance (if the new album contains a new recording), and artistic elements like liner notes and album design.
4. Television score eligibility
Historically, television scores became eligible for consideration for the IFMCA Awards when the FIRST episode of a new season aired. For example, a show which began airing on December 1st 2020 and aired its last episode on March 1st 2021 would be eligible in 2020, not 2021. However, sometimes this meant that a show would be eligible before the season had concluded, or before an accompanying soundtrack had been been released. The rectify this issue, and to ensure a fairer and more accurate representation of television music across the board, a television show’s most recent season must now have aired in its entirety before the show becomes eligible, meaning that scores only become eligible for consideration on the date the LAST episode of a new season airs. Most shows will not be affected by this, but those which span across two calendar years will.
As noted above, these changes will go into effect immediately. The 2022 IFMCA Awards, which will include this new category structure and the new eligibility requirements, will be presented in February 2023.