The Big Picture

Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
on entertainment and media

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Alert: The Academy reverses itself on "Dark Knight" score

December 8, 2008 |  4:38 pm

My sources say the Motion Picture Academy has reversed its decision to disqualify the score for "The Dark Knight." Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard, who collaborated on the music, will now be able to compete in the best original score category. The Academy had ruled the score ineligible last month, saying there were too many composers--five, in all--listed on the music cue sheet. I can't get the Academy's executive director Bruce Davis on the phone, but I've seen an Academy release saying its music branch executive committee voted to change the decision last Friday. When Davis and I spoke earlier last week, he was still defending the decision, saying that the Academy's music branch "sees this as an award, like cinematography or directing, where you want to award a single creator. This isn't like visual effects. Except for extraordinary circumstances, it's an award that should go to one person."

If the Academy has caved in, this should be a sweet victory for Zimmer and Howard, who were also disqualified in 2005 for their previous collaboration on "Batman Begins." They are both seven-time nominees, Zimmer having won best original score for "The Lion King."