Oscar Music Nominees Honored, and Drenched, at Society of Composers and Lyricists Event

A still from Spike Jonze's "Her"

The heavy rains that pummeled Southern California on Saturday (march 1) created a divide between the film music industry at the annual Society of Composers and Lyricists champagne reception for Oscar nominees.

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Less than an hour after the afternoon event began at a Beverly Hills home, a tarp connecting the house to an enormous tent in the back yard gave way, dumping gallons of rain water onto a porch that started gushing into the house. Inside stood nominee Alexandre Desplat, his manager Laura Engel and Sony Picture president of music Lia Vollack. Outside was "Her" director-screenwriter-songwriter Spike Jonze, his composers Will Butler and Owen Pallett, and Warner Bros. Pictures president of music Paul Broucek.

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More than a few jokes were cracked that once John Williams arrives, somehow the sun will breakthrough.

Despite the drenching -- publicist Ray Costa got the worst of it as he worked to keep the water outside and create a gangplank connecting the two areas -- the SCL was able to introduce the nominated composers and get their thoughts on their work and Oscar week.

"This is fantastic moment of benevolence," said Desplat, the "Philomena" composer who will spend the next two weeks recording music for Warner Bros.' "Godzilla" at Sony.

Charles Bernstein, an SCL board member and one of the organization's founders, noted that this would be known as "the year of the deluge" before handing over the podium to SCL president Ashley Irwin. He brought to the stage, situated on temporary flooring over a swimming pool that much of the crowd walked on nervously, "Gravity's" Steven Price, "Saving Mr. Banks'" Thomas Newman, the "Frozen" songwriters Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Williams, Pallett and Butler, and Desplat.

"We're strangers in a strange land ... we're from Brooklyn," Anderson-Lopez said of her experiences during the "Frozen" Oscar campaign. "But we feel we've made a family out here."

Much of the afternoon's chitchat focused on Oscar plans, the wide-open races and the success of the first-ever Oscar concert held Feb. 27 at Royce Hall produced by Academy music branch members Charles Fox, also an SCL board member and Arthur Hamilton, both of whom were on hand. And nearly everyone turns into a fan when given the opportunity to meet or pose for photos with "Mary Poppins" songwriter Richard Sherman, Arcade Fire's Win Butler and Regine Chassagne and Jonze.

The film music teams of the PROs were out in force: ASCAP's Michael Todd, Jeff Jernigan, Shawn Lemone and Jennifer Harmon, BMI's Anne Cecere and Ray Yee, and SESAC's Erin Collins were among the attendees. The always packed event event brings out a wide variety of composers, publicists, agents and executives, and this year's crowd ran a unique gamut: "World of Warcraft" composer Jason Hayes, composer Pinar Toprak, Capitol Studios director Paula Salvatore, and Curt Sobel, who has been supervising the on-screen performances of the James Brown biopic "Get On Up."

And if anyone is wondering where Thomas Newman will be after the score award is handed out, he told the crowd he will be at the bar at the Dolby Theater. He'll take a bourbon.