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Were the prequels eligible for the Original Score Oscar?

Discussion in 'Star Wars And Film Music' started by DarthHomer, Feb 10, 2020.

  1. DarthHomer

    DarthHomer Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Apr 29, 2000
    Forgive me if this has been discussed before, I didn't see a thread. I remember being disappointed that none of the prequels received Oscar nominations for best score, and I think there was some talk at the time that they didn't meet the criteria for original score because of how much music was reused from the OT. Anyone know if there's any truth to this? Or did the academy just not like Williams' scores for those movies? I know some people had problems with how the scores were edited in the movies, but that's on Lucas, not Williams. For my money themes like DofF, AtS and BofH were superior to anything in the ST, and those films all got Oscar noms.
    BookExogorth, oierem and Callous Jedi like this.
  2. Drac39

    Drac39 Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 9, 2002
    I think in regards to the ST the unwritten rule was overlooked because they wanted to honor Williams in the twilight of his career
  3. Callous Jedi

    Callous Jedi Jedi Master star 4

    Jan 27, 2020
    Other than the God Fathers movies, I do not know of any Oscar is won for a movie series. The God Father movies were only going to be for a short period of movies made. Like, the Lord of the Rings movies, I am sure they never won a Oscar or if they did, it was a minor award. The Harry Potter movies, they were 100% shut out of the Oscar winnings, and I think they were nominated for only a few nominations. Can see there point of view. If you give a movie a number of Oscars, and they make the next movie: they will feel they are forced to give you more. Like I have also noticed, if a movie gets a number of Oscars, and they remake the same movie -- they do not get a Oscar nomination.

    The problem with the Oscar's, the people who vote, more or less, are white males, and the average age is in the late 60's. So, for a number of the members, they lived in California during their working career and now are Senior Citizens basking in the sunshine of Florida.
  4. oierem

    oierem Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 18, 2009
    Yes, there was a short-lived criteria during that time that established that scored that reused themes from other movies could not be nominated. That changed a few years later, if I recall correctly. If I'm not mistaken, nowadays there is a % of reused themes a score can have to meet the criteria.

    I don't know the specifics however, so I hope someone can tell us!
    darkspine10 likes this.
  5. AEHoward33

    AEHoward33 Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 11, 2019
    Reused themes? I don't recall the "Duel of Fates" theme being reused.

    I have a deep suspicion that this was a case of the Prequels being very unpopular - even among the Hollywood community. And some of that unpopularity had to do with Lucas' attitude toward the Hollywood hierarchy. I'm still at a loss on how Trish Biggar was never nominated for her costumes.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2020
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    LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Lucasfilm Ltd Mod star 10 Staff Member Administrator

    May 25, 2002
    'Duel of the Fates' was in TPM in the Maul lightsaber fight and in abridged form in AOTC when Anakin goes to find his mother..
  7. Oissan

    Oissan Force Ghost star 7

    Mar 9, 2001
    Not that Duel of the Fates would somehow be the only thing reused...

    The beginning and end of each movie would already be enough to disqualify the movies under those criterias.
  8. Strilo

    Strilo Manager Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Aug 6, 2001
    Surely you know that they are referring to existing OT themes that were used in TPM. The Main Theme, the Force theme, the Emperor's theme, Yoda's theme, Jabba's theme, the Rebel Fanfare... all used in TPM someplace.
    oierem likes this.
  9. oierem

    oierem Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 18, 2009
    There is some truth to that (it's cool and trendy to trash the prequels), but as a fan of the scores, there are genuine reasons to criticise some of the music editing choices, particularly in AOTC, which doesn't have any original score for the full Battle of Geonosis, tracking music from TPM instead.
  10. Strilo

    Strilo Manager Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Aug 6, 2001
    I HATE that. It's worse than sand!
  11. Samuel Vimes

    Samuel Vimes Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Sep 4, 2012
    Repost from another thread

    About Original Score.

    The Academy has rules about it, that it must have been created for the specific film and they also have rules about reusing music and this may cause a film to be non eligible.

    How old this rule I don't know for sure but it seems to have come about in 2002/2003 and initially the rules were quite strict about re-using music. Even films that had over 80% new music could get deemed non eligible.
    They seem to have relaxed it a bit in later years and now there is some unofficial 50/50 rule. So a score needs 50% new music.
    But it it is still not applied consistently.
    I read an article about the score for Birdman and Black Swan, who both were deemed non eligible for score due to some reused music and the composer for Birdman questioned the ruling but was not successful.

    Bye for now.
    Blackboard Monitor
    oierem likes this.
  12. Guidman

    Guidman PT Manager and Book/Trivia Host star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Dec 29, 2016
    Wasn't Arrival disqualified just for the use of "On the Nature of Daylight" being used at the beginning and end of it?
  13. Strilo

    Strilo Manager Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Aug 6, 2001
    I think the rules as they exist now are better. Acting like the PT scores were somehow not original enough for an Oscar is just silly. TPM especially reused very little in actual elapsed time of existing themes from the OT.
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  14. cratylus

    cratylus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 9, 2001
    I wouldn't say "even" among the Hollywood community. In my interpretation, half or more of the push against the prequels came from that community. Industry types resented Lucas for a number of reasons, and some of that was just envy. The prequels were made without any real influence from Hollywood because Lucas had made himself essentially independent from them. He could basically be his own studio. I'll demur from going into a long and detailed rant, but this animus was in my opinion part of the reason Episode I got so much bad press, especially in the Los Angeles Times and industry-specific outlets. That in turn nourished negative popular attitudes. It took about a month for prequel resentment to really set in among the general public.
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  15. Princess_Tina

    Princess_Tina Chosen One star 7

    May 10, 2001
    Current Oscar eligibility rules stipulate that:
    A score shall not be eligible if:
    1. it has been diluted by the use of pre-existing music, or
    2. it has been diminished in impact by the predominant use of songs or any music not composed specifically for the film by the submitting composer

    So I guess they have a lot of discretion over how the rule is applied? [face_dunno]
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2020
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  16. Sith Lord 2015

    Sith Lord 2015 Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 30, 2015
    Not that the prequels don't have original music. What about "Duel of the Fates", "Anakin's Theme", "Droid Army Invasion Theme" (or whatever it is officially called), Qui-Gon's funeral theme (and I'm sure I missed some)? TPM alone probably has more new themes than ROTJ, which heavily relied on reuse of the "Imperial March", which IMHO comes close to being overused in ESB already. And to be completely honest, neither "Jabba's Theme" nor the Ewok theme impressed me that much. That leaves the Luke & Leia theme as the standout signature piece from ROTJ.
    OK, so AOTC did reuse some previous music, but let's not forget the movie's masterpiece "Across the Stars", entirely original, which easily tops the ESB love theme as the saga's new #1 love theme. Do I even have to mention ROTS with "Battle of the Heroes", "Enter Lord Vader", "Anakin's Dark Deeds" or "Padmé's Ruminations"? Not to mention possibly lesser known music such as the one that plays during the killing of the Jedi (order 66) or that short piece we hear when Anakin takes the speeder from the Jedi temple to help Palpatine. Of course some existing themes were used as well, but both ESB and ROTJ did that too.
    A good way to filter out each episode's new music, if you don't have time to go through the entire score, is listening to the end titles music. Each episode has its major new themes in the closing tracks, some more some fewer, but every single one featuring original music. TPM has "Fates" and "Anakin's Theme", while AOTC and ROTS admittedly only have one original theme in the respective finales. But fewer in number doesn't equal lower quality. Both "Across the Stars" and "Battle of the Heroes" are excellent themes to represent these two episodes properly. And I didn't mind the "Throne Room" theme being reused in "Sith", as it nicely foreshadows ANH, same as the "Imperial March" does at the end of "Clones".
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2020
  17. oierem

    oierem Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 18, 2009
    Just to clarify, there is a difference between a musical "theme" and a musical "cue":
    -Themes (or more acurately called "motifs") are musical ideas that represent a character/location/relationship/whatever... and that are used recurringly during the narrative, each time presenting the theme in a different setting (louder/softer, faster/slower, changing instruments...). Anakin's theme, the Imperial March, Luke's theme, Anakin&Padme's love theme (Across the stars).... are all themes.

    Reusing themes from previous movies is a logical way to advance the musical narrative, therefore is a "good" thing. The movies that rely more heavily on previous themes are Revenge of the Sith and Return of the Jedi.

    -Musical cues/standout pieces. "Enter Lord Vader", "Anakin's Dark Deeds", "Asteroid Chase".... are NOT themes. They are just musical cues that sometimes may contain themes within themselves (for example, the "Imperial March" theme appears during the Asteroid Chase cue).

    It is possible for a movie to have fewer original themes, but to have many standout cues. It's the case of Revenge of the Sith, for example.
    So, the number of new themes isn't directly related to the number of standout cues.
    Since these cues aren't meant to be reused, they normally only appear once.

    -Sometimes, previous cues are editorially tracked into a new movie: Return of the Jedi, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith all have some music from previous films (which, of course, means less "original" music. However, this is again unrelated to the actual themes).

    -Regarding the Oscar nominations, the disctinction doesn't really matter: whenever they are reusing musical ideas from previous movies (even when they are adapted differently) count as "reused" music. (There was a document showing the % of reused and original music of Rise of Skywalker, for this purpose).

    -About the end credits: normally the end credits have specific arrangements (not heard during the actual movie) of some of the main THEMES of the film - however, standout cues aren't usually reprised. Besides, important themes aren't used in the credits for many reasons (such as the Force theme, or the Emperor's theme). Therefore, while it's true that the end credits feature some of the highlights of the film, I wouldn't say that they are a good way of MEASURING the amount of either new THEMES or new MUSIC in the films.

    SW/ANH premiered the opening combo of Luke's theme + Rebels' theme, followed by statements of Luke's theme and Leia's theme, and closed with another combo of Luke's and Rebels' theme. (However, the Force theme wasn't used, nor was the original Imperial theme, or the music for the jawas...)

    TESB has the most elaborate end credits piece, opening with the Luke/Rebels combo, and followed by Yoda's theme, the Imperial March and the Love theme, therefore, showcasing all three big new themes.

    ROTJ relies more hevily on the end credits for Episode IV, reprising both the opening and closing segments (because it was meant to be the end of SW). It also features long statements of the Ewok theme(s) and Luke and Leia's theme, but misses other important themes (such as Jabba's or the Emperor's).

    For the prequels, for whatever reason (the end credits being too long these days, for example), Williams decided to rely on the concert versions of the main themes of each episode, following the opening Luke/Rebels combo.

    TPM just sticks Duel of the Fates and Anakin's theme together, both in their concert suite versions.

    AOTC just features the Attack of the Clones concert suite (even though Williams wrote an unused coda). Because the lenght of the piece, no other music was needed (so it wasn't an issue of the movie not having other themes!).

    ROTS features Leia's theme first, then Battle of the Heroes (which is a rare instance in which the concert version is the same as the original cue featured in the film!) and ends with the closing of the Episode IV and VI credits, to signal the end of the Saga.
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  18. Sith Lord 2015

    Sith Lord 2015 Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 30, 2015
    OK, very good analysis of the SW music! I guess I did confuse theme and cue.
    True enough. In that respect ROTS actually doesn't have that many original themes. "Battle of the Heroes" is the only one that comes to mind in fact. Correct me if I'm wrong.
    Good point. However I would say there may be a few exceptions, or one that I can think of right now. Isn't the ESB "Imperial March" in the end credits more or less the same arrangement as used in the movie when first heard (when we first see the Imperial fleet and Vader), although of course a much longer and more complete version? But you are right, in all other cases the arrangement for the end credits of new themes is not played in the actual movies, though some are found as separate tracks on the soundtrack albums ("Princess Leia's Theme", "Yoda's Theme", "Brother and Sister", "Across the Stars".....).
    You mean "Across the Stars". Correct though. AOTC may be the only episode in the saga where only one new theme is used in the end credits, after the usual main/Rebels theme. All others use a combination of several themes, in the case of ROTS Throne Room and Leia's Theme from ANH.
    oierem likes this.
  19. oierem

    oierem Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 18, 2009
    Gladly, :)
    The other "big" new theme is Grievous' Theme (both when the character is introduced, when he goes to Utapau, and during the duel with Obi-Wan).
    Other than that, there are a few minor motifs, but nothing significant.
    However, the awesome "Lament" cue (Anakin's Betrayal) is reprised later in the movie, so it could be considered a theme.

    Those separate tracks you mention are what Williams calls "concert suites", independent compositions to be played at concerts and featured in the soundtrack albums.
    Most of the times, those concert suites are pretty much based on the "end credits suites", although they are not exactly the same (not just because they are longer, the arrangement is also different). The track "Princess Leia's theme" is different from the arrangement from the end credits, "Yoda's theme" is different from the end credits version etc.....

    About the Imperial March (this is a bit confusing, so I hope I can explain it clearly): the arrangement heard during the end credits is an original arrangement, but closely similar to the "concert suite" version of the theme (which is featured in the soundtrack as "The Imperial March").
    For the scene in the movie when the Imperial fleet is introduced, the filmmakers REPLACED the original composition of Williams (a different arrangement of the IM) and used the CONCERT SUITE version instead (first 45 seconds or so), which is indeed similar (but not the same) as the end credit version.

    Right, thanks for the correction! :)
    It is, indeed, the only episode in which only one theme is used after the opening of the end credits.
    In the case of ROTS, the movie version of the end credits does NOT feature the Throne Room music, mind you! That's only part of the soundtrack version.

    (A lof ot this confusion comes from the fact that the album arrangements are sometimes different from the actual cues used in the film: Williams is always thinking about the experience of listening to the music without the movie, and tries to create a soundtrack that is slightly more independent from the actual movie, featuring new arrangements etc....)
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  20. cratylus

    cratylus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 9, 2001
    oierem, my impression was that the wild mix we got in the Finale of Rise of Skywalker was due to the fact that Williams wanted to signal the end of the whole nine part saga. So we now have three installments with "saga-ending" finales. At first I wondered why so many "old" themes were featured but my reasoning was that this was meant to be the end music of all nine episodes. It looks like you would also interpret it that way.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2020
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  21. Strilo

    Strilo Manager Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Aug 6, 2001
    Mmmm a classic Music forum tracks, cues, themes discussion. Love it.
    oierem likes this.