Hans Zimmer is as pleased, if not moreso, with his best original score Oscar nomination for "Inception" as any of his past accolades -- "I'm particularly proud of 'Inception," the composer tells Billboard.biz. "So it's nice when it's about something that you really care about."
But Zimmer also says the nomination is "bittersweet" in a way, because his colleagues on the film, director Christopher Nolan and editor Lee Smith, were not recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
"I cannot believe it," Zimmer, who previously won a Oscar for "The Lion King," says. "I just think it's amazing. How could they leave those two guys out? The film really was different, and it really was a different vision."
"Everybody's always harping on, 'Can we do something new that's successful?'" Zimmer continues. "Well, he did something new that was immensely successful. I think...a little something creeps in that if it is successful, it suddenly can't be judged as art anymore."
"Inception" is Zimmer's second collaboration with Nolan, after 2009's "The Dark Knight." "He brings out the best in me, and he does it in a clever and sneaky way," Zimmer says of their dynamic. "He basically tries to always encourage me and encourage my imagination to run riot, and he doesn't encourage my best behavior [laughs]."
Zimmer received an Oscar nomination for "The Dark Knight's" score, but only after contesting the Academy's original decision to disqualify the score for having too many composers. "I've always had a somewhat complicated, shall we say, relationship with the Oscars," Zimmer admits, though he also says that the importance of Hollywood's biggest night cannot be dismissed.
"In a funny way, the Oscars do mean something because it is your peers, you know? And you want all of that to stay relevant and current, so you don't want them to make too many missteps."
Next up for Zimmer is a collaboration with fellow Oscar nominee John Powell on "Kung Fu Panda 2," as well as a reteaming with Nolan for the much anticipated next film in the Batman franchise, "The Dark Knight Rises."
"We've begun plotting, planning, thinking, procrastinating -- the usual good stuff that goes on. I've now spent a couple really concentrated days with Chris already, thinking our way through where we want to go, which is usually where we start," Zimmer says. "In this conversation right now, I'm waking up more because I'm talking about work that we're going to do as opposed to work that's happened in the past. The exciting part is going, 'Woooh, we're going to do this other movie.'"