Alan Silvestri, whose long list of film composing credits include the three Back to the Future movies as well as Forrest Gump and The Avengers, was presented the Icon Award for outstanding career achievement at the 35th annual BMI Film, TV & Visual Media Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Wednesday night (May 10).
It’s been a busy week for the performing rights organization, as their 65th annual Pop Awards took place one night earlier at the same hotel, with Barry Manilow taking home that evening’s Icon Award.
The Wintergarden ballroom was filled with dozens of composers, ranging from those on their first assignments, like Jim Beanz, composer of the Empire TV series, to honored veterans such as Richard Sherman, Danny Elfman, Mike Post, Lalo Schifrin, Randy Edelman, Charles Fox and James Newton Howard.
In his acceptance speech, Silvestri told the assemblage about the serendipity of his first film score. He was 22 in 1972 when he was asked to compose the music for The Doberman Gang. He got the job when someone misread his credits and thought he had experience composing music for movies.
He took the job anyway and went directly to the Pickwick Book shop on Hollywood Blvd. and asked if they had a book that would show him how to score films. He was told there was only one book, and it was titled How to Score Films. He bought it, stayed up all night reading it, and went to work the next morning. “I finished the score in nine days and now I’m a film composer,” he said to much laughter.
The evening was hosted by Mike O’Neill, BMI President and CEO, and Doreen Ringer-Ross, BMI Vice President, Film, TV & Visual Media Relations. Awards to composers of the year’s top-grossing films, top-rated prime time network television series and highest-ranking cable network programs were presented to over 70 productions. The top winner of the night, with five awards, was composer Brian Tyler, who accepted crystal statuettes for scoring the films The Fate of the Furious, Power Rangers, Now You See Me 2 and TV series Hawaii Five-O and Scorpion.