By Kathryn Kalinak
The Oscar for Best Original Score has been in the news recently—and not in a good way. Three excellent film scores have been disqualified for Oscar nomination because in one way or another, all were deemed not “original” enough: Clint Mansell’s score for Black Swan (too much Tschaikovsky) and Carter Burwell’s scores for The Kids Are Alright (too many songs) and True Grit (too dependent on pre-existing music). As a great fan of the western and its film scores, I was truly disappointed by the True Grit disqualification. Burwell’s score is a gem, harking back to the classic western film scores of the studio era while simultaneously updating them.