‘No Time to Die,’ ‘Encanto’ Wins Society of Composers & Lyricists Awards
In a possible glimpse of what could bring home the Oscars for music, ‘No Time to Die’ songwriters Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell and ‘Encanto’ songwriter Germaine Franco took home the Society’s awards. of Composers & Lyricists on Tuesday night at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles.
Franco’s Colombian-flavored music for “Encanto” won the award for Outstanding Original Score for a Studio Motion Picture, topping scores for “Dune” and “The Power of the Dog,” among others, in the ballot. Daniel Hart’s medieval sounds for “The Green Knight” won Original Score for an Independent Film. “Encanto” is an Oscar nominee, while Hart was shortlisted for the Oscar but didn’t make the final five.
During her acceptance speech, Franco asked all female composers to stand, honoring her colleagues on International Women’s Day.
Billie Eilish’s Bond theme won Outstanding Original Song for a Drama or Documentary, while “Just Look Up” – by Ariana Grande, Nicholas Britell, Kid Cudi and Taura Stinson, of “Don’t Look Up” – won in the Original Song category for a Musical or Comedy.
Eilish and O’Connell sent a video message thanking SCL and noting how proud they were to be recognized by “some of the great composers and lyricists of our time”. “No Time to Die” is favorite to win on March 27, having already won a Grammy and a Golden Globe, and the SCL honor may be an indicator of voter leanings. “Just Look Up” was shortlisted but did not receive an Oscar nomination; Stinson agreed on behalf of his team.
The score for HBO’s “The White Lotus,” by Cristobal Tapia de Veer, won Outstanding Original Score for Television (beating shows such as “Succession” and “Loki”), while the music for “Battlefield 2042” by Hildur Guðnadóttir and Sam Slater, won the award for Outstanding Original Score for Interactive Media. It was Guðnadóttir’s third SCL victory.
A new award for “emerging talent,” named after legendary composer David Raksin (“Laura”), has been presented to Stephanie Economou, who recently composed the music for Netflix’s “Jupiter’s Legacy.”
Host Aloe Blacc kicked off the evening with a snark directed at the Academy’s controversial decision to award the Oscar for original score in pre-recorded and edited form: “Welcome to such a brave, audacious, we actually honor composers live during the event and not on pre-recorded nonsense.
SCL President Ashley Irwin slammed the Academy’s decision as part of a “disappointing trend among decision-makers around the world…. We won’t sit idly by while our art form is put on hold.” aside as some sort of disposable commodity. He cited SCL’s initiatives including “fighting for copyright reform, fair streaming royalties, proper credits and yes, even the return of the ‘best score’ original “to the main event of the Oscars”.
The annual Spirit of Collaboration Award, presented to a team of composers and filmmakers, was presented to Carter Burwell and her longtime partners Joel Coen and Ethan Coen. Burwell also took the time to talk about the Academy’s decision. Explaining that he was a New Yorker who traded politeness in favor of frank honesty, he simply said, “Fuck the Academy.”
Burwell composed the music for 17 of their films, including the most recent “The Tragedy of Macbeth” by Joel Coen, with earlier titles such as “Fargo”, “The Big Lebowski” and “No Country for Old Men”. Burwell led a small ensemble of musicians in a suite of Coen Brothers film scores.
Other SCL candidates also spoke to Variety on the Academy’s decision, including Taura Stinson (“Don’t Look Up”), Christophe Beck (“WandaVision”), Jeymes Samuel (“The Harder They Fall”) and Diane Warren (nominated for “Somehow You Do” from “Four Good Days” and “(Never Gonna) Tame You” from “The Mustangs: America’s Wild Horses”). without music.
This was SCL’s third annual award, given by the organization that represents professional composers, songwriters and music professionals active in the media and music industry. The evening also featured performances by Grammy-winning Judith Hill and Grammy-nominated singer-songwriters Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear (“The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical”).
Sasha Urban contributed to this story.