INTERNATIONAL FILM MUSIC CRITICS ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCES WINNERS OF 2022 IFMCA AWARDS
- BEAR MCCREARY WINS SCORE OF THE YEAR FOR EPIC TV SERIES THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RINGS OF POWER; ALSO NAMED COMPOSER OF THE YEAR, WINS TWO OTHER AWARDS
- SIMON FRANGLEN WINS TWO AWARDS FOR WORK ON AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER
- DOCUMENTARY TRIBUTE TO LATE ENNIO MORRICONE HONORED WITH SPECIAL AWARD
FEBRUARY 23, 2023 — The International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) announces its list of winners for excellence in musical scoring in 2022, in the 2022 IFMCA Awards.
The award for Score of the Year goes to American composer Bear McCreary, for his score for the epic Amazon Prime television series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. The series, which has a main theme by composer Howard Shore, is based on the extended writings of author J.R.R. Tolkien, and looks at events that took place in Middle Earth millennia before those portrayed in director Peter Jackson’s massively successful and popular Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films.
IFMCA member James Southall called The Rings of Power “a real triumph, undoubtedly McCreary’s own career-defining moment,” and IFMCA member Conrado Xalabarder said that the score was “one of the best in the history of music for television series … a work made from intelligence, commitment, and above all respect for Tolkien and the audience. All its central themes work impeccably, coherently, and they develop and interact with each other, creating first-rate narration and dramaturgy.” IFMCA member Jon Broxton similarly praised the score, saying “the level of research and intelligent design McCreary has done in terms of creating the musical structure of The Rings of Power is absolutely astonishing, and is probably unparalleled in the history of television music.”
This marks the first time a score written for television has been named Score of the Year by the IFMCA. The rules were changed earlier in 2022 to allow television and video game scores to compete alongside films for the top award. The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is also named Best Original Score for Television, while McCreary himself is named Composer of the Year, his first win in this category. McCreary’s other work in 2022 included the animated comedy Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank, which is a re-imagining of the classic 1970s comedy Blazing Saddles; the epic video game God of War: Ragnarök (which also won the award for Best Original Score for a Video Game or Interactive Media); and continuing contributions to the most recent seasons of TV series such as Outlander, See, The Serpent Queen, The Walking Dead, and The Witcher: Blood Origin. These are the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth IFMCA Awards of McCreary’s career.
British composer Simon Franglen wins two awards for his score for Avatar: The Way of the Water, director James Cameron’s first sequel to his 2009 blockbuster Avatar, which sends audiences back to the lush world of Pandora. The score was named Best Original Score for a Fantasy/Science Fiction Film, while his cue “Leaving Home,” aka “Hometree,” was named Composition of the Year. In reviewing Avatar: The Way of Water, IFMCA member Christian Clemmensen said that “Franglen surpassed all expectations in composing an astonishingly brilliant love letter to James Horner that is arguably superior to its predecessor,” and praised the score’s “fantastic themes, extremely tight narrative, and vibrant, smart mix of orchestra, voice, electronics, and specialty accents.”.
Egyptian composer Hesham Nazih is named Breakthrough Composer of the Year after being widely heralded for his outstanding score for the super-hero series Moon Knight. Nazih – who has been working in the pan-Arabic film music industry for almost 20 years, and is well-known in that part of the world, but had never scored an English-language project before – brought authentic sounds of the Middle East to the Marvel Universe with his score. IFMCA member Jon Broxton described Moon Knight as “an old-fashioned big-orchestra superhero action score, anchored by a massive and memorable main theme, but which also seamlessly works in elements of Egyptian classical music, anchoring it in a specific place and a specific culture, while remaining appealing to a broad audience,” and noted that the score is “yet another reminder – as if one were needed – of just how much compositional talent there is working outside the established Hollywood mainstream.” Nazih’s win here marks the first win in any category for an African-born composer in IFMCA history.
The various other genre awards are won by: John Williams for director Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical drama The Fabelmans, Nathan Johnson for the murder mystery comedy Glass Onion, Michael Giacchino for the latest re-imagining of the classic DC superhero The Batman, Michael Abels for the contemporary horror film Nope, Alexandre Desplat for director Guillermo del Toro’s new animated version of the classic Pinocchio, and Harry Gregson-Williams for the Disney-produced nature documentary Polar Bear.
Producer Michael Matessino and Quartet Records receive the Archival Award for their new release of the music for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1972 crime thriller Frenzy. The album was produced as a limited edition release that features in-depth liner notes by writer Deniz Cordell and art direction by Nacho B. Govantes, and showcases composer Ron Goodwin’s score for the finished film, as well as the little-heard rejected score by the great Henry Mancini. Quartet Records, and their executive owner Jose M. Benitez, is also named Film Music Record Label of the Year, in recognition of their outstanding series of expanded re-releases which in 2022 included titles such as the aforementioned Frenzy, John Barry’s Mary Queen of Scots, a collection of Elmer Bernstein’s Magnificent Seven scores, Georges Delerue’s The Day of the Dolphin, and Jerry Goldsmith’s Seconds.
This year’s winner of the Roberto Aschieri Special Award, which is awarded to an individual who has made an important and long-lasting contribution to the art and preservation of film music over a career, is also given to producer Michael Matessino. The award is named in honor of Roberto Aschieri, the film music journalist and author from Argentina who was a member of the IFMCA until his death in 2017.
Matessino is a writer, film historian and preservationist, with particular emphasis on the restoration of classic film music. An accomplished music mixer and editor, he has produced, edited, mixed and mastered music, and written liner notes for hundreds of soundtrack projects spanning nine decades, including the Star Wars Trilogy, Poltergeist, Superman, Alien, The Goonies, Back to the Future, Home Alone, the Star Trek feature films, and Empire of the Sun. Also among his credits are comprehensive box sets of Jerry Goldsmith’s and Bernard Herrmann’s music for 20th Century Fox, and many scores from Hollywood’s Golden Age including The Robe, Demetrius and the Gladiators, The Egyptian, David and Bathsheba, and Ben-Hur. This year alone he received five IFMCA nominations for his work on the albums for the aforementioned Frenzy, John Williams’s Amistad, Jerry Goldsmith’s L.A. Confidential, John Barry’s Mary Queen of Scots, and the compilation album Goldsmith at 20th, Vol 5: Music for Television 1968-1975. In total, Matessino is a 27-time IFMCA Award nominee.
This year, the IFMCA has also decided to bestow the Kyle Renick Special Award on Ennio, the feature documentary about the life and career of the late Ennio Morricone, which was directed by his friend and colleague Giuseppe Tornatore.This special award is presented to a title not eligible for a standard IFMCA Award, but which has a film music component. This award is not guaranteed to be presented annually, and is only presented to a project worthy of separate special acknowledgement. The award is named in honor of Kyle Renick, the film music journalist and theater producer from New York who was a member of the IFMCA until his death in 2019.
Ennio features extensive interviews with Morricone, who shares his memories of his life and career – from the beginning studying under Goffredo Petrassi and working as an arranger for RCA, to his Academy Award for Best Original Score on Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight – and, most fascinatingly discusses the creation of some of his legendary music. By focusing not just on the music that is already most familiar to the public at large, and thanks to the composer being unusually open and offering a rare public glance of his razor-sharp wit, it shares a number of fascinating insights into his fabled creativity. With additional interviews with many of his collaborators and contemporaries – not only composers like Quincy Jones, John Williams, Hans Zimmer or Pat Matheny, and filmmakers like Lina Wertmüller, Barry Levinson, Bernardo Bertolucci, and Clint Eastwood, but particularly from the earlier years of his career – the IFMCA felt that the film had great merit and worthy of special recognition in this way.
The winners are:
SCORE OF THE YEAR
- THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RINGS OF POWER, music by Bear McCreary, theme by Howard Shore
COMPOSER OF THE YEAR
- BEAR MCCREARY
BREAKTHROUGH COMPOSER OF THE YEAR
- HESHAM NAZIH
COMPOSITION OF THE YEAR
- “Leaving Home (Hometree)” from AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER, music by Simon Franglen
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A DRAMA FILM
- THE FABELMANS, music by John Williams
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A COMEDY FILM
- GLASS ONION: A KNIVES OUT MYSTERY, music by Nathan Johnson
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR AN ACTION/ADVENTURE FILM
- THE BATMAN, music by Michael Giacchino
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A FANTASY/SCIENCE FICTION FILM
- AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER, music by Simon Franglen
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A HORROR/THRILLER FILM
- NOPE, music by Michael Abels
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR AN ANIMATED FILM
- GUILLERMO DEL TORO’S PINOCCHIO, music by Alexandre Desplat
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A DOCUMENTARY
- POLAR BEAR, music by Harry Gregson-Williams
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR TELEVISION
- THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RINGS OF POWER, music by Bear McCreary, theme by Howard Shore
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A VIDEO GAME OR INTERACTIVE MEDIA
- GOD OF WAR: RAGNARÖK, music by Bear McCreary
BEST NEW ARCHIVAL RELEASE
- FRENZY, music by Ron Goodwin and Henry Mancini; album produced by Michael Matessino, liner notes by Deniz Cordell, album art direction by Nacho B. Govantes (Quartet)
FILM MUSIC RECORD LABEL OF THE YEAR
- QUARTET RECORDS, Jose M. Benitez
ROBERTO ASCHIERI SPECIAL AWARD FOR CONTRIBUTION TO FILM MUSIC
- MICHAEL MATESSINO
KYLE RENICK SPECIAL AWARD
- ENNIO, THE MAESTRO, directed by Giuseppe Tornatore