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The Academy disqualifies scores for Arrival, Manchester By The Sea, and Silence

(Photo: Paramount)

The scores for Arrival, Manchester By The Sea, and Silence won’t be getting Oscar nominations this year because the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences disqualified them all, according to a report in Variety.

This seems most egregious in the case of Jóhann Jóhannsson, whose music for Arrival has already earned recognition in the form of nods from the Critics Choice Awards and the Golden Globes. However, the movie prominently features Max Richter’s “On The Nature Of Daylight” at its beginning and end. Essentially, the Academy figured that voters wouldn’t realize that piece—which differs wildly in tone from the alien sounds that color the rest of the film—wasn’t the work of Jóhannsson. Thus, it was deemed unable to compete because of a rule, which states that: “A score shall not be eligible it has been diluted by the use of pre-existing music, or it has been diminished in impact by the predominant use of songs or any music not composed specifically for the film by the submitting composer, or it has been assembled from the music of more than one composer.”


Lesley Barber’s work on Manchester By The Sea was nixed for similar reasons, given that director Kenneth Lonergan also used selections from the classical canon, including some from Handel’s Messiah. Barber told Variety in a statement: ”While I understand that this might be confusing to Academy members in their consideration of what is mine, it was obviously not the basis upon which music was chosen for the film. While I accept the Academy’s decision, I also support my director’s decision to use these pieces and I’m also very proud of the substantial contribution (referenced correctly in many reviews) that the original score made to the film as well.”

Variety doesn’t have as many details for why Kathryn Kluge and Kim Allen Kluge’s material for Martin Scorsese’s Silence was scrapped from consideration, simply saying it wasn’t considered “substantial.” Still, we have to wonder if perhaps the Academy got confused by the title of the film.

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