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FMS FEATURE...

January 22, 2009
81st Annual Academy Award Music Nominations
Slumdog and WALL-E lead with noms for score and song

Thomas Newman

Thomas Newman

Alexandre Desplat

Alexandre Desplat

Danny Elfman

Danny Elfman

Gulzar

Gulzar

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.—Thomas Newman and A.R. Rahman received multiple nominations as the 81st annual Oscar nominations were announced Thursday, Jan. 22, by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

A.R. Rahman

A.R. Rahman

James Newton Howard

James Newton Howard

Peter Gabriel

Peter Gabriel

Maya Arulpragasam

Maya Arulpragasam

Newman received his ninth and 10th nods as composer and songwriter for the animated film WALL-E. Rahman, a major film composer in India receiving his first large-scale exposure in the U.S., received three nominations (two for song, one for score) for his work on the equally popular Slumdog Millionaire.

Also in the score category, French composer Alexandre Desplat received his second nomination for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which led all films with 13 nominations. James Newton Howard was nominated for an eighth time for his score for Defiance, while Danny Elfman received his fourth Oscar nod for Milk.

The Dark Knight – perhaps the year's most talked-about score, both for its collaboration by high-profile composers Hans Zimmer and Howard and for its initial disqualification and then reinstatement by the music-branch executive committee – failed to secure a music nomination.

For the fifth time in Academy history, only three songs were nominated: "Down to Earth" from WALL-E by first-time nominee Peter Gabriel and Newman; and the two songs from Slumdog Millionaire: "Jai Ho" by Rahman and Indian poet Gulzar, and "O Saya" by Rahman and British songwriter Maya Arulpragasam (M.I.A.). Just three songs were nominated in 1988 and 2005.

The surprise in the song category was the failure of Bruce Springsteen's song for The Wrestler to be nominated. Springsteen's song has already won honors from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

Whoever wins in either category on Feb. 22, it will be a first. None of this year's music nominees has ever won an Academy Award.

The complete list of Oscar music nominees for 2008:

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
  • Alexandre Desplat – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Danny Elfman – Milk
  • James Newton Howard – Defiance
  • Thomas Newman – WALL-E
  • A.R. Rahman – Slumdog Millionaire
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
  • "Down to Earth" from WALL-E
    Music by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman, Lyric by Peter Gabriel
  • "Jai Ho" from Slumdog Millionaire
    Music by A.R. Rahman, Lyric by Gulzar
  • "O Saya" from Slumdog Millionaire
    Music and Lyric by A.R. Rahman and Maya Arulpragasam
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