Thomas Newman

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Thomas Newman
Thomas Newman.jpg
Newman at Classic Brit Awards in 2010
Background information
Birth name Thomas Montgomery Newman
Born (1955-10-20) October 20, 1955 (age 59)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Origin Los Angeles, California, United States
Occupation(s) Film score composer

Thomas Montgomery Newman (born October 20, 1955) is an American composer best known for his many film scores.

Newman has been nominated for twelve Academy Awards and three Golden Globes, and has won two BAFTAs, six Grammys and an Emmy Award. Newman was honored with the Richard Kirk award at the 2000 BMI Film and TV Awards. The award is given annually to a composer who has made significant contributions to film and television music.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Born in Los Angeles, California, he is the youngest son of Mississippi-born Martha Louise Montgomery (1920-2005) and composer Alfred Newman (1901-1970). He is a member of a film-scoring dynasty in Hollywood that includes his father Alfred, brother David Newman, sister Maria Newman, uncles Lionel Newman and Emil Newman, cousin Randy Newman (also known as a singer and songwriter), and his nephew Joey Newman. During their upbringing, Martha herded her sons into violin lessons in the San Fernando Valley every weekend.[2] Newman later studied composition and orchestration for two years at the University of Southern California,[3] before moving to Yale University, where he graduated as a Bachelor of Arts in 1977 and a Master of Music in 1978.[4] While at Yale, he met composer Stephen Sondheim, who became an early mentor.[2]

Newman and his wife, Ann Marie, have three children. They reside in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Film scoring career[edit]

At first, Newman was more interested in musical theater than in film composition, working with Sondheim in Broadway plays.[5] Lionel, who succeeded Alfred as music director for 20th Century Fox, gave Thomas his first scoring assignment on a 1979 episode of the series The Paper Chase.[1] In 1983, John Williams, who was a friend of both Alfred and Lionel, invited Newman to work on Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, orchestrating the scene where Darth Vader dies. Afterwards Newman met in New York producer Scott Rudin, who invited him to compose the score for Reckless (1984). Newman said that he thought "it was a tough job, at first" for requiring him to "develop vocabularies and a sense of procedure", only getting comfortable with writing scores "and not fraudulent in my efforts" after 8 years.[6]

In 1992, Newman composed the score to Martin Brest's film Scent of a Woman.

In 1994, he got his first Academy Award nominations with the scores to The Shawshank Redemption and Little Women.[5] He also scored the film The War. In 1996, he scored Diane Keaton's Unstrung Heroes, receiving yet another Oscar nomination. In 1998, he scored Robert Redford's The Horse Whisperer as well as Meet Joe Black. In 1999, Newman composed the score to Sam Mendes' first feature film American Beauty, created using mainly percussion instruments. Newman believed the score helped move the film along without disturbing the "moral ambiguity" of the script, saying "It was a real delicate balancing act in terms of what music worked to preserve that."[7] This was his first collaboration with Mendes, and he would go on to score all of the director's subsequent films except for Away We Go. He received a fourth Oscar nomination for this score, and although he lost again (to John Corigliano for The Red Violin), he did receive a Grammy and a BAFTA.

His critical and commercial success has continued in the following years with his scores for films such as Meet Joe Black, The Green Mile, Erin Brockovich, In the Bedroom and The Salton Sea. He was nominated consecutively for a further three Academy Awards, for Road to Perdition (2002), Finding Nemo (2003), and Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004). However, he lost on each occasion to Elliot Goldenthal (for Frida), Howard Shore (for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King), and Jan A. P. Kaczmarek (for Finding Neverland) respectively.

He was again nominated for an Oscar for scoring Steven Soderbergh's The Good German (2006). At the Oscar ceremony, he appeared in the opening segment by Errol Morris, who jokingly stated that Newman had been nominated for and failed to win an Oscar eight times. Newman replied: "No, I've failed seven but this will be my eighth", and indeed, he again lost, this time to Gustavo Santaolalla for Babel.

His first score since The Good German was for the 2008 animated film WALL-E, collaborating for the second time with director Andrew Stanton (with the first collaboration being Finding Nemo). The film won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature (as had "Nemo"). Newman received two Oscar nominations: one for Best Original Score, and another for Best Original Song for "Down to Earth", which he co-wrote with Peter Gabriel. He was nominated in the Original Score category with two other veteran composers, James Newton-Howard and Danny Elfman, both of whom have also been nominated for several Oscars but each time unsuccessfully. Newman lost both the score and song nominations to A R Rahman for his work on Slumdog Millionaire. He and Peter Gabriel did however win a Grammy for "Down to Earth".

In 2008, Newman scored Towelhead and Sam Mendes' Revolutionary Road and in 2009 he scored Brothers. In 2011 he scored The Help, The Debt, The Iron Lady, and The Adjustment Bureau.[8]

In 2012, Newman scored The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. He also scored the 23rd James Bond movie Skyfall, directed by his longtime collaborator Sam Mendes, which celebrates the film franchise's 50th anniversary.[9] His work on this film earned him his eleventh Oscar nomination and a second BAFTA win. During 2013, he scored Steven Soderbergh's Side Effects and Saving Mr. Banks. The latter score was very well received by film music critics, earning Newman BAFTA and Oscar nominations for the second consecutive year, both of which he lost to Steven Price for Gravity.

Newman's 2014 projects included The Judge and Get on Up. His future scoring assignments include The Good Dinosaur, his third score for a Pixar film, and The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, marking the first time Newman has scored a sequel to a film he also wrote the score for.[10]

Newman likes to vary on the instrumentations for his scores, ranging from full orchestras to percussion-only music. He is also fond of incorporating unusual instruments such as the zither, hurdy-gurdy, psaltery and hammered dulcimer,[1] or unexpected sounds, like Aboriginal chants and the chirping of cicadas. The composer declared that he has "an interest in mundane experimentation."[5]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

1980s[edit]

Year Title Director(s) Studio(s) Notes
1984 Reckless James Foley Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer N/A
Revenge of the Nerds Jeff Kanew 20th Century Fox N/A
Grandview, U.S.A. Randal Kleiser Warner Bros. Pictures N/A
1985 Desperately Seeking Susan Susan Seidelman Orion Pictures Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande. Album shared with Making Mr. Right
Girls Just Want to Have Fun Alan Metter New World Pictures N/A
The Man with One Red Shoe Stan Dragoti 20th Century Fox N/A
Real Genius Martha Coolidge TriStar Pictures N/A
1986 Gung Ho Ron Howard Paramount Pictures First collaboration with Ron Howard
One track released by Milan on the compilation album Ron Howard - Passions & Achievements
Jumpin' Jack Flash Penny Marshall 20th Century Fox Song album with two Newman tracks
1987 Light of Day Paul Schrader TriStar Pictures Song album with one Newman track
The Lost Boys Joel Schumacher Warner Bros. Pictures Song album with one Newman track
Less Than Zero Marek Kanievska 20th Century Fox Song album; no Newman score
1988 The Great Outdoors Howard Deutch Universal Pictures Song album with one Newman track
The Prince of Pennsylvania Ron Nyswaner New Line Cinema N/A
1989 Cookie Susan Seidelman Warner Bros. Pictures N/A

1990s[edit]

Year Title Director(s) Studio(s) Notes
1990 Men Don't Leave Paul Brickman Warner Bros. Pictures N/A
Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael Jim Abrahams Paramount Pictures Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
1991 Career Opportunities Bryan Gordon Universal Pictures Song album with three Newman tracks released by Curb
The Linguini Incident Richard Shepard Academy Entertainment Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
Naked Tango Leonard Schrader New Line Cinema N/A
The Rapture Michael Tolkin Fine Line Features Song album with ten Newman tracks
Deceived Damian Harris Touchstone Pictures N/A
Fried Green Tomatoes Jon Avnet Universal Pictures Song album with three Newman tracks and separate score album, both released by MCA
1992 The Player Robert Altman Fine Line Features Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
Whispers in the Dark Christopher Crowe Paramount Pictures Varèse Sarabande album release cancelled; released by Intrada in 2012
Scent of a Woman Martin Brest Universal Pictures Soundtrack released by MCA
1993 Flesh and Bone Steve Kloves Paramount Pictures Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
Josh and S.A.M. Billy Weber Columbia Pictures
Castle Rock Entertainment
Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
1994 Threesome Andrew Fleming TriStar Pictures Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande. Twinned with American Buffalo
The Favor Donald Petrie Orion Pictures N/A
The Shawshank Redemption Frank Darabont Columbia Pictures
Castle Rock Entertainment
First collaboration with Frank Darabont
Soundtrack released by Sony BMG
The War Jon Avnet Universal Pictures Song album with 12 Newman tracks released by MCA
Little Women Gillian Armstrong Columbia Pictures Soundtrack released by Sony Classical
1995 Unstrung Heroes Diane Keaton Hollywood Pictures Soundtrack released by Hollywood Records
How to Make an American Quilt Jocelyn Moorhouse Universal Pictures Soundtrack released by MCA
1996 Up Close & Personal Jon Avnet Touchstone Pictures Soundtrack released by Hollywood Records
Phenomenon Jon Turteltaub Touchstone Pictures Song album with one Newman track released by Reprise
American Buffalo Michael Corrente The Samuel Goldwyn Company Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande. Twinned with Threesome
The People vs. Larry Flynt Miloš Forman Columbia Pictures Soundtrack released by Angel Records
1997 Red Corner Jon Avnet Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Soundtrack released by EAR
Mad City Costa Gavras Warner Bros. Pictures Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
Oscar and Lucinda Gillian Armstrong Fox Searchlight Pictures Soundtrack released by Sony Classical
1998 The Horse Whisperer Robert Redford Touchstone Pictures Soundtrack released by Hollywood Records
Meet Joe Black Martin Brest Universal Pictures Soundtrack released by Universal Records
1999 American Beauty Sam Mendes DreamWorks Pictures First collaboration with Sam Mendes
Soundtrack released by DreamWorks Records
The Green Mile Frank Darabont Warner Bros. Pictures Second collaboration with Frank Darabont
Soundtrack released by Warner Bros. Records

2000s[edit]

Year Title Director(s) Studio(s) Notes
2000 Erin Brockovich Steven Soderbergh Universal Pictures First collaboration with Steven Soderbergh
Soundtrack released by Sony Classical
Pay It Forward Mimi Leder Warner Bros. Pictures Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
2001 In the Bedroom Todd Field Miramax Films Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
2002 The Salton Sea D. J. Caruso Warner Bros. Pictures Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
Road to Perdition Sam Mendes DreamWorks Pictures
Twentieth Century Fox
Second collaboration with Sam Mendes
Soundtrack released by Decca Records
White Oleander Peter Kosminsky Warner Bros. Pictures Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
2003 Finding Nemo Andrew Stanton Walt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios
First collaboration with Andrew Stanton
Soundtrack released by Walt Disney Records
2004 Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events Brad Silberling Paramount Pictures
DreamWorks Pictures
Soundtrack released by Sony Classical
2005 Cinderella Man Ron Howard Universal Pictures Second collaboration with Ron Howard
Soundtrack released by Decca Records
Jarhead Sam Mendes Universal Pictures Third collaboration with Sam Mendes
Soundtrack released by Decca Records
2006 Little Children Todd Field New Line Cinema Soundtrack released by Silva Screen Records
The Good German Steven Soderbergh Warner Bros. Pictures Second collaboration with Steven Soderbergh
Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
2007 Towelhead Alan Ball Warner Independent Pictures Soundtrack released by Lakeshore Records
2008 WALL-E Andrew Stanton Walt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios
Second collaboration with Andrew Stanton
Soundtrack released by Walt Disney Records
Revolutionary Road Sam Mendes DreamWorks Pictures Fourth collaboration with Sam Mendes
Soundtrack released by Nonesuch
2009 Brothers Jim Sheridan Lionsgate Soundtrack released by Relativity Music Group

2010s[edit]

Year Title Director(s) Studio(s) Notes
2011 The Adjustment Bureau George Nolfi Universal Pictures Soundtrack released by Relativity Music Group
The Help Tate Taylor Touchstone Pictures
DreamWorks Pictures
Score album released by Varèse Sarabande
The Debt John Madden Focus Features
Miramax Films
Soundtrack released by Relativity Music Group, Silva Screen Music
The Iron Lady Phyllida Lloyd The Weinstein Company Soundtrack released by Sony Classical
2012 The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel John Madden Fox Searchlight Pictures Soundtrack released by Sony Classical
Skyfall Sam Mendes Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Columbia Pictures
Fifth collaboration with Sam Mendes
Soundtrack released by Sony Classical
2013 Side Effects Steven Soderbergh Open Road Films Third collaboration with Steven Soderbergh
Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
Saving Mr. Banks John Lee Hancock Walt Disney Pictures
BBC Films
Soundtrack released by Walt Disney Records
2014 Get on Up Tate Taylor Universal Pictures N/A
The Judge David Dobkin Warner Bros. Pictures N/A
2015 The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2 John Madden Fox Searchlight Pictures N/A
The Good Dinosaur[11] Bob Peterson Walt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios
N/A
2016 Finding Dory[12] Andrew Stanton Walt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios
N/A

Television[edit]

Year Title Director(s) Notes
1985 Amazing Stories Various Episode "Santa '85." Soundtrack released by Intrada
1990 Heat Wave Kevin Hooks
1992 Those Secrets David Manson Soundtrack released by Masters Film Music
Citizen Cohn Frank Pierson
2001 Six Feet Under Various
2003 Angels in America Mike Nichols Soundtrack released by Nonesuch
2012 The Newsroom Various Main Theme and Pilot

Additional soundtracks[edit]

Newman has composed music for television as well, including theme music for the series Boston Public and the miniseries Angels in America. His theme music for the television show Six Feet Under won two Grammy Awards in 2003, for Best Instrumental Composition as well as Best Instrumental Arrangement. Newman also wrote a commissioned concert work for orchestra, Reach Forth Our Hands, for the 1996 Cleveland Bicentennial. The Los Angeles Philharmonic has commissioned a new work by Newman to be performed by the Kronos Quartet and Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Leonard Slatkin, during the orchestra's 2009-2010 season.

Awards and nominations[edit]

As of 2014, Newman has received a total of twelve Academy Award nominations, however as of 2013, he has yet to win the award, making him the most nominated living composer to have never won an Oscar, and behind Alex North, who received 14 unsuccessful nominations. Eleven of his nominations are in the Best Original Score category, while one is for Best Original Song.

His first major successes for which he was recognised, came in 1994, when he earned two Academy Award nominations for his scores to Little Women and The Shawshank Redemption; he was the only double-nominee that year, although he lost to Hans Zimmer for The Lion King.

He received his third Academy Award nomination in 1996 for the score to Diane Keaton's comedy Unstrung Heroes, but again lost, this time to Alan Menken for Pocahontas.

He has also received three Golden Globe nominations including one for Best Original Score for 1999's American Beauty and two for Best Original Song, as well as nine Grammy nominations and five wins.

Award Year Category Project Outcome
Academy Award 1995 Best Music, Original Score Little Women Nominated
Best Music, Original Score The Shawshank Redemption Nominated
1996 Best Music, Original Musical or Comedy Score Unstrung Heroes Nominated
2000 Best Music, Original Score American Beauty Nominated
2003 Best Music, Original Score Road to Perdition Nominated
2004 Best Music, Original Score Finding Nemo Nominated
2005 Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events Nominated
2007 Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score The Good German Nominated
2009 Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score WALL-E Nominated
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song (with Peter Gabriel) for "Down to Earth" Nominated
2013 Best Music, Original Score Skyfall Nominated
2014 Best Music, Original Score Saving Mr. Banks Nominated
Annie Award 2004 Outstanding Music in an Animated Feature Production Finding Nemo Won
BAFTA Award 2000 Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music American Beauty Won
2009 Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music WALL-E Nominated
2013 Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music Skyfall Won
2014 Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music Saving Mr. Banks Nominated
Classical Brit Award 2010 Soundtrack of the Year Revolutionary Road Won
Emmy Award 1991 Outstanding Achievement in Main Title Theme Music Against the Law Nominated
2002 Outstanding Main Title Theme Music Six Feet Under Won
Golden Globe Award 2000 Best Original Score - Motion Picture American Beauty Nominated
2009 Best Original Song - Motion Picture (with Peter Gabriel) for "Down to Earth" WALL-E Nominated
2012 Best Original Song - Motion Picture (with Mary J. Blige, Harvey Mason, Jr. and Damon Thomas) for "The Living Proof" The Help Nominated
Grammy Award 1995 Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television The Shawshank Redemption Nominated
1997 Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television Unstrung Heroes Nominated
2001 Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or other Visual Media American Beauty Won
2003 Best Instrumental Composition for Title Theme Six Feet Under Won
Best Instrumental Arrangement for Title Theme Six Feet Under Won
2005 Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media Angels in America Nominated
2009 Best Score Soundtrack Album for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media WALL-E Nominated
Best Song Written for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media (with Peter Gabriel) for "Down to Earth" Won
Best Instrumental Arrangement (with Peter Gabriel) for Score Track, "Define Dancing" Won
2014 Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media Skyfall Won
World Soundtrack Awards 2003 Best Original Soundtrack of the Year Road to Perdition Nominated
2005 Soundtrack Composer of the Year Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events Nominated
2008 Best Original Song Written Directly for Film (with Peter Gabriel) for "Down to Earth" WALL-E Won
Best Original Score of the Year Nominated

American Film Institute[edit]

Newman's scores for American Beauty and The Shawshank Redemption were nominated for AFI's 100 Years of Film Scores.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Richard Kirk Award: Thomas Newman Fulfills the Promise of His Legacy". bmi.com. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  2. ^ a b Groves, Martha (December 3, 2009). "A member of a musical dynasty writes a postcard about the past". Los Angeles Times. 
  3. ^ "OnMusic Dictionary". Music.vt.edu. Retrieved 2014-05-15. 
  4. ^ "YaleNews | Yale Alumni Go to the Oscars". News.yale.edu. 2010-03-01. Retrieved 2014-05-15. 
  5. ^ a b c Wallace, Amy (March 22, 1998). "The Newman Conquests". Los Angeles Times. 
  6. ^ "Oscar Watch: 'Skyfall' Builds Academy Support, Composer Thomas Newman Overdue for Oscar|Thompson on Hollywood". Blogs.indiewire.com. Retrieved 2014-05-15. 
  7. ^ Burlingame, Jon (January 20, 2000). "Spotlight: Thomas Newman". Variety. Retrieved 14 January 2013. 
  8. ^ Burlingame, Jon (December 16, 2011). "Newman: ‘Help,’ ‘Iron Lady’ exhibit contrasting styles". Variety. Retrieved March 2, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Thomas Newman to compose Skyfall score". MI6-HQ.com. 04-01-12.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  10. ^ http://filmmusicreporter.com/2014/04/28/thomas-newman-to-return-for-the-best-exotic-marigold-hotel-2/
  11. ^ Barcomb, James (March 14, 2013). "Film composer Thomas Newman discusses "The Art of Film Scoring"". The Dolphin. Retrieved March 16, 2013. 
  12. ^ Barcomb, James (June 6, 2014). "Thomas Newman to score Finding Dory". The Whale. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 

External links[edit]