Michael Abels is having a banner month. Eight days after winning the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Music along with collaborator Rhiannon Giddens for their opera Omar, Abels won the Composers’ Choice award for film score of the year at the 2023 ASCAP Screen Music Awards. The awards were presented at an invitation-only party in West Hollywood, Calif., on Tuesday (May 16).
The Composers’ Choice award winners are chosen by the ASCAP composer and songwriter community. Abels won for his score to Jordan Peele’s film Nope. His score was shortlisted for an Oscar for best original score in December but failed to make the final five.
Abels, 60, has scored all three of Peele’s film to date as a director – Get Out (2017), Us (2019) and Nope (2022), plus other films. He received two Primetime Emmy nods two years ago for his work on the HBO film Allen v. Farrow.
Cristobal Tapia de Veer was a double Composers’ Choice winner for his work on the HBO series The White Lotus. He took television theme of the year and shared the award for television score of the year with Kim Neundorf. de Veer won two Primetime Emmys in September for his work on the show.
Bear McCreary took video game score of the year for God of War Ragnarök.
There was a tie for documentary score of the year. The winners were Amanda Jones for Super/Natural and Jeff Cardoni for Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off.
Those five Composers’ Choice awards were part of the full slate of 2023 ASCAP Screen Music Awards, which honored music written for films, TV series and video games.
Simon Franglen won top box office film of the year for his score to the James Cameron blockbuster Avatar: The Way of Water. Franglen’s score was shortlisted for an Oscar for best original score, but like Nope, failed to make the final five.
Among the top streaming films winners, John Debney was honored for his score to Hocus Pocus 2 while Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, Khiyon Hursey, Mark Sonnenblick and Sukari Jones were celebrated for their collaborative work on the hit musical comedy Spirited.
Top streaming series winners include Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein for the Netflix series Stranger Things, Natalie Holt for the live-action Star Wars project Obi-Wan Kenobi and Siddhartha Khosla for Hulu’s hit comedy-drama Only Murders in the Building. Khosla received two Primetime Emmy nods last year for his work on the show.
David Vanacore was named the most-performed themes and underscore winner for his work on shows including Survivor, The Kardashians and The Daily Show. Composers Matthew Hawkins, Maurice “m.0.” Jackson and Neil Martin won top network television series for their main theme for NCIS, while John Sereda received top cable television series for his music in the historical drama When Calls the Heart.
The complete list of winners is available on the ASCAP website.