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July 19, 2006
Equal Opportunity Emmy Nominations
Beal Scores Three Nods by Jon Burlingame

Emmy Statue
Emmy spread the wealth around this year, bestowing nominations in the music categories to many first-timers, but also offering the triple crown – three nominations for original music composition – to a previous Emmy winner.

Jeff Beal

Jeff Beal

Jeff Beal, who won the 2003 Emmy for his main-title theme for Monk, received two nominations for Rome (Music Composition for a Series, for the episode "Triumph," and Main Title Theme Music) and one for the Hallmark Hall of Fame TV-movie The Water Is Wide (Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie or Special).

Beal, who is perhaps best-known for his music for the feature film Pollock (2000), is currently represented on television with TNT's horror series Nightmares & Dreamscapes, based on Stephen King stories. (Look for at least one, the debut episode "Battleground" with William Hurt, to be among next year's nominees, as it was music-driven and had no dialogue.)

This was the eighth time that one composer received three nominations in the same year. The hat trick was previously accomplished by Billy Goldenberg twice in the 1970s, Bruce Broughton twice in the 1980s, by Nan Schwartz in the late '80s, and by Angelo Badalamenti and Alf Clausen in the '90s.

A few of the "usual suspects" were missing this year. There were no nominations for Clausen, who is regularly acknowledged for his scores and songs for The Simpsons, or Michael Giacchino, who was considered a likely nominee for music for either Lost (which won him an Emmy last year) or Alias (which concluded its run). Also bypassed was Ian Fraser, whose 13 wins and 26 nominations in the music-direction category are long-held records.

In the series composition category, Beal and fellow previous winner Sean Callery – who received his fifth consecutive nomination for the music of 24 – are joined by previous nominee Joel Goldsmith (nominated for Stargate: Atlantis) and first-timers Richard Band (Masters of Horror) and Christopher Lennertz (Supernatural).

In the area of music for miniseries and made-for-TV movies, Beal and Emmy veteran Bruce Broughton (whose 10 Emmys are a record for original composition), honored for his music for the Lifetime film The Dive From Clausen's Pier, are joined by previous nominee Normand Corbeil (for the Lifetime mini Human Trafficking) and first-time nominees Geoff Zanelli (for the highly acclaimed TNT mini Into the West) and Paul Haslinger (for the Showtime pilot Sleeper Cell).

The always-interesting category of Main Title Theme Music – because it's such a wide-ranging mix of short and long, songs and instrumentals, in a variety of styles – this year includes Beal's Rome; newcomers Ramin Djawadi (for FX's Prison Break), Amin Bhatia and Ari Posner (for Disney's Get Ed) and well-known film composer Edward Shearmur for the theme of Showtime's Masters of Horror. The most unusual nominee in this category is Chris Gerolmo, who wrote the theme for FX's short-lived Iraq war series Over There; he was also the primary creative force behind the Steven Bochco series, writing and directing the pilot.

This year's nominees in the music-direction category consisted mostly of familiar names: Bill Conti for the 78th Annual Academy Awards telecast (he has 10 previous nominations for conducting the Oscarcast and has won three times); David Foster for the PBS Great Performances special Andrea Bocelli: Amore Under the Desert Sky; Elliot Lawrence, twice, for The Kennedy Center Honors (with Rob Mathes) and the 59th Annual Tony Awards; and Paul Gemignani for another PBS Great Performances, South Pacific in Concert From Carnegie Hall.

The Music and Lyrics category always contains surprises. This year, two numbers from the immensely popular Disney Channel special High School Musical were nominated ("Get'cha Head in the Game," by Ray Cham, Greg Cham and Andrew Seeley; and "Breaking Free," by Jamie Houston). Longtime Carol Burnett Show writers Ken and Mitzie Welch were nominated for a new song, "That Baby of Mine," penned for the ABC revival of Once Upon a Mattress. The BBC America film Gideon's Daughter was nominated for "Natasha's Song," by filmmaker Stephen Poliakoff and composer Adrian Johnston; and a song from a Mad TV sketch, "A Wonderfully Normal Day," by Greg O'Connor and Jim Wise, was also nominated.

All of these awards will be presented at the Creative Arts Emmys Aug. 19 at Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium (to be taped for later telecast on the E! Entertainment cable network).

©2006 Jon Burlingame

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