Composer Bear McCreary has been presented with the 2022 International Film Music Critics Association Awards for Score of the Year, Composer of the Year, Best Original Score for Television, and Best Original Score for a Video Game or Interactive Media, by IFMCA member Jon Broxton. McCreary’s wins were for his enormous score for the Amazon fantasy television series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, and for the epic video game sequel God of War: Ragnarök.
The other nominees in the Score of the Year category were Avatar: The Way of Water by Simon Franglen, The Batman by Michael Giacchino, The Fabelmans by John Williams, and Nope by Michael Abels. The other nominees in the Composer of the Year category were Alexandre Desplat, Simon Franglen, Michael Giacchino, and Daniel Pemberton.
The other nominees in the Television category were The English by Federico Jusid, Interview With the Vampire by Daniel Hart, Moon Knight by Hesham Nazih, and The Orville by John Debney, Joel McNeely, Andrew Cottee, and Kevin Kaska, with a theme by Bruce Broughton. The other nominees in the Video Game category were Cat Burglar by Christopher Willis, The Faith of the Three Kingdoms by Shigeru Umebayashi and Chad Cannon, Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope by Yōko Shimomura, Grant Kirkhope, and Gareth Coker, and A Plague Tale: Requiem by Olivier Derivière.
These are McCreary’s sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth and third IFMCA Awards; he previously won the Best Original Score for a Television award for Masters of the Universe: Revelation in 2021, Human Target in 2010, and Battlestar Galactica in 2009, the Best Original Score for a Video Game award for the original God of War in 2018, and was named Film Composer of the Year in 2019. This is the first time in IFMCA history that a score for a television series has been nominated for, or won, the Score of the Year award. McCreary’s other work in 2022 – which helped him secure his Composer of the Year win – included the animated comedy Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank, which is a re-imagining of the classic 1970s comedy Blazing Saddles; 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.
McCreary was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1979, and grew up in Bellingham, Washington. A film score aficionado from a young age, McCreary graduated from Bellingham High School, and went on to study at the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles; during his time at USC he was a protégé of famed film composer Elmer Bernstein, who McCreary considers an inspirational mentor.
McCreary first came to prominence in 2004 when he took over from Richard Gibbs as lead composer on the second season of the re-imagined sci-fi TV series Battlestar Galactica. The cult popularity of the show – and McCreary’s music for it – led to him quickly becoming one of the most sought-after composers in genre television; his subsequent major TV work includes scores for shows such as Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008), The Walking Dead (2010), Da Vinci’s Demons (2013), Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (2013), Black Sails (2014), Outlander (2014), and Snowpiercer (2020), among many others. His breakthrough on the big screen came in 2016 with his score for 10 Cloverfield Lane, and he has since scored critical and commercial successes such as Happy Death Day (2017) and Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019).
Regarding The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, 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.”
See below for the acceptance speech and video interview conducted by Broxton:
Click on the thumbnails for larger photo images:
With special thanks to Jason Kutchma, Erik Woods, and Holly Broxton.