With eight Academy award nominations leading to one win for “The Lion King,” composer Hans Zimmer certainly doesn’t have anything to prove. Prolific and inventive, he’s one of the best in the business, and even with nearly three decades of work tuning up movies, his works remain continually fresh and creative. This year alone has the fifty-four year-old composer taking some fascinating strides, teaming with the Mexican guitar duo Rodrigo Y Gabriela for both “Rango” and “Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.” Of course, we don’t have to tell you that the man behind the excellent scores for (the Oscar nominated) “Inception” and “The Dark Knight” is preparing “The Dark Knight Rises,” and he’s already given a peek behind the curtain, saying that influences as disparate as Verdi and Alison Goldfrapp are playing a role in the composition. But this year, he won’t be making his way to the Kodak Theater.
THR caught up with Zimmer at the Ghent Film Festival where he was on hand for the World Soundtrack Awards concert, and he revealed he’s stepping back from the Oscar race this year with the shocking death of his longtime publicist Ronni Chasen is just one reason he’s decided to take a pause on the awards circuit. “I just want to sit it out,” he said. “I just want to observe for a year. I actually think the Academy is really important, but if you’re in the race you can’t really observe. I just wanted to take a step back and say ‘I’m not in the race.’”
“As soon as you get nominated, and I don’t care who you are — there are certainly people of better character than me — it all goes crazy,” he said. “You get the phone call at five o’clock and after that you have to do the interviews and then do the parties and meet all these people and do all these things. It’s disruptive, and I think it would be more interesting to observe it for a year. It does worry me that we have to stay relevant. Times are changing, very rapidly. Usually what I do when things are changing rapidly is stand still and observe.”
And as Zimmer notes, it’s actually up to the composers themselves, not the studios, to submit their own for Oscar consideration. And while he acknowledges “Rango” could possibly be a contender, his only other work in 2011 — ‘Stranger Tides,’ “Kung Fu Panda 2” and “Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows” — would likely leave him out of the Original Score race anyway. “The studio gives you a little kick, but you actually have to phone up the Academy and say ‘can I have the paperwork?’” he said. “But I think it’s good. And it’s not like I’m not proud of ‘Rango,’ because I think it’s a pretty amazing little movie. But another thing is I don’t really have [original] scores this year because I’ve done sequels.”
So, how does this shake up the Oscar race? It doesn’t really. As Zimmer himself notes — “Rango” aside — he probably wouldn’t have been much of a player this year anyway. However, he can’t help but tease about the stuff he’s currently working on saying, “’Sherlock Holmes’ is choc-a-block full of new material — and ‘Dark Knight’ may be the same.”
So, some minor adjustments to made to the Oscar ballot, but instead of hobknobbing at parties this year, Zimmer is admirably just going to keep his head down and stick to the work.