The GRAMMY Awards honor recordings in 108 categories across 32 fields, from rap to classical. To help readers get a better sense of the breadth of the nominees and the wealth of recordings they've created over the last year, GRAMMY.com has prepared these field Roundups, which give quick details on the nominees in an easy-to-read format.
The careers of three musical icons who have left an indelible stamp in American pop culture are celebrated this year through GRAMMY nominations in the BEST COMPILATION SOUNDTRACK ALBUM FOR MOTION PICTURE, TELEVISION OR OTHER VISUAL MEDIA category. James Austin, Stuart Benjamin and filmmaker Taylor Hackford vie for the award as producers of Ray — the soundtrack to the sensitive portrayal of R&B priest Ray Charles that Hackford directed. Also nominated is Phil Ramone for his work in Beyond The Sea, the film that found actor Kevin Spacey paying reverential tribute to the life and work of "Mack The Knife" singer Bobby Darin. And the legacy of the one and only Bob Dylan is at the core of No Direction Home: The Soundtrack — Bootleg Series, Vol. 7, produced by Steve Berkowitz, Bruce Dickinson and Jeff Rosen. The remaining two nominees worked on discs that included songs from a variety of sources. Brian McNelis and Skip Williamson produced the soundtrack to the offbeat comedy Napoleon Dynamite, whereas Gary Calamar, Thomas Golubic and Errol Kolosine are responsible for the eclectic sounds gracing Six Feet Under Volume 2 — Everything Ends, from the cutting-edge HBO television series.
The golden era of legendary film composers such as Bernard Herrmann, Dmitri Tiomkin and Jerry Goldsmith is certainly over, but a new generation of musicians add variety and depth to the field, as evidenced this year in the race for BEST SCORE SOUNDTRACK ALBUM FOR MOTION PICTURE, TELEVISION OR OTHER VISUAL MEDIA. A recurring presence in this category, the prolific John Williams vies for the award on the strength of his dramatic score for Star Wars Episode III — Revenge Of The Sith, the final installment in George Lucas' sci-fi epic. Williams is responsible for every single note of music gracing the entire six-movie cycle. The Sith score includes rousing marches of war illustrating the elaborate action sequences, but also interludes of pastoral beauty that add a velvety touch to the film's quiet moments. Director, actor and lifelong music lover Clint Eastwood is nominated for a GRAMMY for his stark work as composer in the Academy Award-winning Million Dollar Baby. And Craig Armstrong brings his subtle, heavily atmospheric approach to the art of scoring to Ray. Also nominated: Howard Shore for his work on Martin Scorsese's The Aviator; and Michael Giacchino for the tongue-in-cheek humor he brought to the computer-animated spoof The Incredibles.
Picking the right artist to compose a song for a specific movie is no easy task. But the producers of the excellent Hotel Rwanda, about a Rwandan hotel manager who goes to heroic extremes in order to help the victims of his country's 1994 genocide, were certainly inspired when they asked former Fugees leader Wyclef Jean to contribute a haunting ballad to the soundtrack. Titled "Million Voices" and co-written with Jerry Duplessis and Andrea Guerra, the resulting song now boasts a GRAMMY nomination in the BEST SONG WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURE, TELEVISION OR OTHER VISUAL MEDIA category. Here's another winning combination: the quirky screenwriting voice of Hollywood scribe John August and the sheer musical excitement of former Oingo Boingo founder Danny Elfman. Both are regular Tim Burton collaborators, and they now vie for the award on the strength of "Wonka's Welcome Song," a tune they wrote for Burton's modern adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. Few directors are as enamored with popular music as Cameron Crowe, a former Rolling Stone magazine rock reporter who in the '90s became one of the most original filmmaking voices in American cinema. From Jerry Maguire to the autobiographical Almost Famous, music always plays an intrinsic part in Crowe's stories — and Elizabethtown, his most recent opus, is no exception. Culled from its soundtrack, Tom Petty's "Square One" could win a coveted GRAMMY Award. Rounding up the nominations are the Arcade Fire with "Cold Wind," from Six Feet Under Volume 2 — Everything Ends; and "Believe," a ballad off The Polar Express written by Glen Ballard and Alan Silvestri, and performed by pop sensation Josh Groban.