Okay, I’m just going to put this out there: I would really, really like Hans Zimmer to get an Oscar nomination for his tremendous score to “The Lone Ranger.” The film may already be a punchline in industry circles — undeservedly so, I think — and the film’s makers haven’t done themselves any favors with their silly complaints of critical conspiracy. But it’s one of the most remarkable crafts showcases Hollywood has produced this year (yes, the production budget is ludicrous, but at least it’s evident), and Zimmer’s elaborate orchestrations are among its foremost virtues.
Few mainstream composers these days do “big” quite as inventively and wittily as Zimmer, whether it’s his booming foghorn soundscape for “Inception” or the wild gypsy-esque clatter of “Sherlock Holmes.” His “Lone Ranger” score, mixing whistling Old West motifs with Golden Age bombast, not to mention the infectious gallop of his robustly arranged take on the William Tell Overture, is right up there with his best work. I wouldn’t expect the Academy’s music branch to agree — not least because they’d probably see fit to DQ it on the basis of that William Tell interpolation.
In any event, there’s no guarantee he’ll even enter the race. Two years ago, he refused to submit his score for “Rango” (also, of course, a Gore Verbinski collaboration) to the Academy, claiming he found awards campaigning “disruptive” and that “it would be more interesting to observe it for a year.” For those keeping score, Zimmer has nine Oscar nods, and won the 1994 Oscar for “The Lion King.”
Anyway, to get to the (very) buried lede, Zimmer will be accepting at least one award this season: the Outstanding Contribution to Music honor at this year’s Classic BRIT Awards in London. The awards, obviously enough, are the classical division of the BRITs — the UK’s answer to the Grammys — and take place on October 2 at the Royal Albert Hall.
This is the third year in a row that the Classic BRITs have given their top career achievement honor to a composer known for his film work: John Williams accepted it last year, and John Barry in 2011. It’s not the first time that Zimmer has been honored at the ceremony, either: in 2009, he and James Newton Howard accepted the Soundtrack of the Year award for their thundering score to “The Dark Knight” — for which they also won a Grammy. (Yes, the same score that was disqualified from the Oscar race, but let us not reopen old wounds.)
Awards committee charmen Dickon Stainer and Barry McCann said of the selection: “We are absolutely delighted to be honouring the outstanding talent of Hans Zimmer with this award. “Hans Zimmer’s recent work, including ‘Inception,’ has been a dominant force for classical music specifically in the digital-download era. It is only appropriate that four years on from his 2009 win for Soundtrack of the Year for The Dark Knight he should receive the Outstanding Contribution to Music at this year’s ceremony.”