That was the basic gist of Zimmer’s announcement to The Hollywood Reporter yesterday that he will not be submitting any of his work this year for consideration in the Best Original Score category (unlike pretty much every other category, Academy rules dictate that Original Score contenders personally put forward their work for consideration, rather than the studio). While Zimmer’s work for “Kung Fu Panda 2,” “Pirates of the Caribbean 4” and “The Dilemma” probably wasn’t going to make much of a dent in the Oscar race anyway, many pundits (myself included) were predicting a nomination for his energetic, genre-referencing score for “Rango.” Considering that Zimmer also scored a nod for “Sherlock Holmes” a couple of years ago, we were keeping an eye on the upcoming sequel as well. Now neither of those films will be eligible come ballot time.
The reason? The campaign stress after consecutive nods for “Sherlock Holmes” and “Inception” seems to have worn the composer out:
As soon as you get nominated, and I don’t care who you are — there are certainly people of better character than me — it all goes crazy… You get the phone call at five o’clock and after that you have to do the interviews and then do the parties and meet all these people and do all these things. It’s disruptive, and I think it would be more interesting to observe it for a year. It does worry me that we have to stay relevant. Times are changing, very rapidly. Usually what I do when things are changing rapidly is stand still and observe.
OK, but the thing is, Hans, a nomination for “Rango” in the Original Score category wouldn’t have been all about you. For an animated film like “Rango” to land a nod in any other category besides Animated Feature is a pretty big coup, especially for a non-Pixar film. It seems unfortunate to exclude the possibility of this highly entertaining film scoring some recognition beyond the Animated Feature doldrums. After all, couldn’t Zimmer just submit the score but simply refuse to do any campaigning? Zimmer is a big name in the field, after all, and probably could’ve glided through the season on name recognition (plus, you know, the considerable merits of the score) alone. Remember when Mo’Nique won Best Supporting Actress while basically giving no interviews or schmoozing at all? Sometimes the Academy does recognize quality work, regardless of whether you play the game or not.
Anyway, Contenders and Predictions categories have been updated accordingly. Speaking of composers, it was recently announced the Alexandre Desplat will be doing the score for “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” NOT previous Stephen Daldry collaborator Nico Muhly as previously assumed. That gives the ultra-prolific Desplat FOUR dogs in the race this year (assuming that “The Tree of Life” doesn’t get disqualified for its use of pre-existing material, which is probably a horrendously dangerous assumption). Looks like he’s setting himself up pretty nicely to get a nomination for the fourth year running (after “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and “The King’s Speech”). Right now it looks like his best chance is for “The Ides of March,” but we’ll have to see what his work in “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” sounds like (and how that film gets received on the whole).