Test Your Oscar IQ: 25 Fun Facts About Oscar-Winning Scores

Marvin Hamlisch, Prince and John Williams
Getty Images; Design by Jenny Regan 

Marvin Hamlisch, Prince and John Williams

As we look ahead to the 92nd annual Academy Awards on Feb. 9, let's take a look back at record-setters for best original score (and previous scoring categories). The Academy introduced the category, then called music (scoring), in 1934.

Through 1937, the awards and nominations went to the music departments at the film studios. In 1938, they started going to the composers.

Most scoring wins: Alfred Newman (nine). Only two other individuals have won as many as nine Oscars in competition: Walt Disney (22) and art director Cedric Gibbons (11).

Most scoring nominations: John Williams (47). Williams has also received five noms for best song. His overall total of 52 noms puts him second among individuals only to Walt Disney, who amassed 59 career noms.

Most scoring nominations without a win: Alex North and Thomas Newman (14 each). North received an honorary Oscar in 1985. Newman is nominated this year for 1917. If he wins, North will again hold this dubious distinction by himself.

Youngest winner of a scoring award: Prince was 26 when he won original song score for Purple Rain (1984).

Oldest winner of a scoring award: Ennio Morricone was 87 when he won original score for The Hateful Eight (2015).

Only composer to win three music Oscars the same year: Marvin Hamlisch (1973), who won original dramatic score for The Way We Were, adaptation score for The Sting and best song for "The Way We Were."

Family that has received the most Oscar nominations: The Newmans, with 92 noms and counting. The first generation consisted of brothers Alfred (43 noms), Emil (1) and Lionel (11). The second generation consists of Randy (21), David (1) and Thomas (15).

Composer with the longest span of scoring awards: Alfred Newman, 30 years. His awards stretched from Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938) to Camelot (1967).

First film to win for both best song and original score: The Wizard of Oz (1939).

First electronic score to win original score: Midnight Express by Giorgio Moroder (1978). Two more electronic scores have won in that category: Slumdog Millionaire by A. R. Rahman (2008) and The Social Network by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (2010).

Only band to win for scoring: The Beatles for Let It Be (1970). They were credited as The Beatles, not under their individual names, even though they had broken up a year before they won the Oscar for original song score.

Only composers to receive nominations for films released in six different decades: Elmer Bernstein (1950s through 2000s) and Williams (1960s through 2010s).

Most consecutive years with nominations in a music category: Alfred Newman (19 years). He was nominated in a scoring category and/or best song every year from 1938-1956.

Most consecutive years with nominations in a scoring category: Max Steiner (13). He was nominated every year from 1938-50. The streak included such classic scores as Gone with the Wind (1939) and Casablanca (1943).

First female to be nominated in a scoring category: Angela Morley, who was nominated for adaptation score for The Little Prince (1974) and The Slipper and the Rose (1977). Morley, who was born male, had sex reassignment therapy in 1972. She is the first openly transgender Oscar nominee in any category.

First female to win in a scoring category: Lyricist Marilyn Bergman for Yentl (1983), which won in the original song score category.

First female composer to win best original score: Rachel Portman for Emma (1996). She won for original musical or comedy score. Portman is also the female with the most nominations in a scoring category (three).

First African-American to be nominated in a scoring category: Duke Ellington for Paris Blues (1961). Nominated for scoring of a musical picture.

First African-American to win in a scoring category: Prince for Purple Rain (1984). Won for original song score. Herbie Hancock won original score two years later for Round Midnight.

Only teams that won two scoring Oscars: Johnny Green & Saul Chaplin and Alfred Newman & Ken Darby.

First posthumous winner of a scoring award: Victor Young for Around the World in 80 Days (1956). Young died on Nov. 10, 1956, after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage. Four months later, he won music score of a dramatic or comedy picture.

Only composer to receive two posthumous scoring nominations: Bernard Herrmann, who was nominated posthumously for original score for Obsession and Taxi Driver (both 1976). He died on Dec. 24, 1975.

Only brothers to collaborate on a winning score: Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman for Mary Poppins (1964). Won for music score-substantially original.

First composer to win two years in a row: Ray Heindorf for Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) and This Is the Army (1943). Both awards were for scoring of a musical picture.

Only composer to win three years in a row: Roger Edens for Easter Parade (1948), On the Town (1949) and Annie Get Your Gun (1950). All three awards were for scoring of a musical picture. (Edens was never nominated again.)

2020 Academy Awards


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