Since it is awards season, I decided it was time to return to my annual series Let’s Go to the Oscars, where I continue my journey to highlight all of the film composers who have been honored with an Academy Award for Best Original Score (and the many different names that award has taken over the decades). For example, you see in the title how I refer to Maurice Jarre’s win as “Music Score-Substantially Original”? It sounds like a mouthful but that’s what the award was called that year.
In this entry, at the 35th Annual Academy Awards, Ginger Rogers (longtime dance companion of Fred Astaire) presents the Oscar for “Music Score-Substantially Original” to Maurice Jarre (the award is accepted by Morris Stoloff on Jarre’s behalf) for his work on Lawrence of Arabia. This is preceded by host Frank Sinatra telling some simply awful jokes (at least I think they’re meant to be jokes).
This Oscar was one of seven that the epic film ultimately received (it was nominated for ten), the others being: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography (Color), Best Art Direction (Color), Best Film Editing and Best Sound Mixing.
Jarre (who died in 2009) was a French composer who won 3 Academy Awards over the course of his career out of 9 nominations (the other wins being for Doctor Zhivago (1965) and A Passage to India (1984)). Some consider Lawrence of Arabia to be one of Jarre’s greatest scores (and I’m inclined to agree). The film recounts the story of T.E. Lawrence (the titular “Lawrence of Arabia”) and his work in the Arabian Peninsula during World War I. It is considered to be one of the most influential films ever made (and certainly high up on the list of “films you must see at least once before you die.”)
I’m a little disappointed that Maurice Jarre wasn’t there to accept his award in person, since it’s always interesting to hear what the composer has to say, however briefly, about their accomplishment. At any rate, I hope you enjoyed this look back at the Oscars in the early 1960s (I can’t help but point out once again how much simpler and shorter the ceremony used to be). If you’ve seen Lawrence of Arabia, what did you think of the film and Jarre’s score? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below 🙂
For more Let’s Go to the Oscars, see also:
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