[Article - SCL Oscar Reception 2002]

Every year, the Society of Composers and Lyricists host a reception to honor the Academy Award nominees in the music categories. This past Saturday (March 23, 2002), at the home of composer John Cavacas in Beverly Hills (formerly Zeppo Marx's house!), the annual reception was attended by over 200 people, including composers, the press, studio executives, and a few celebrity guests. Executive Producer Andrew Stanton, Producer John Lassiter and actor James Coburn joined Best Original Score and Best Song nominee Randy Newman to celebrate his work on Monsters, Inc.. Also in attendance was composer Howard Shore, who was nominated for his work on Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and director Arthur Hiller who would be receiving the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award the following evening.

Absent from the reception were fellow Best Original Score nominees John Williams and James Horner, as well as Best Song nominees Dianne Warren, Sting, Paul McCartney, and Enya. As we all know, though, in the end the statues went to Shore and Newman - congratulations to them both!

Everyone seems to want to know what the deal is with an "expanded" release of Howard Shore's Oscar-winning score to Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings. I had a chance to talk with Howard about this very issue the day before he won his award, and I will attempt to sum it all up here:

The Fellowship of the Ring will be released on DVD this August, in the original theatrical version. Then in November, the Special Edition DVD will be released, including an expanded version of the film. Some areas of expansion include the prologue, the opening Hobbiton sequence, the Lothlorien scenes, and other areas of the film. For this expanded edition, Shore will be doing three different things:

  1. Writing new music. Some scenes were never assembled, and therefore were never scored. Shore will be writing new music for those scenes.
  2. Expanding current cues. Some sequences, that already have underscore, will be expanded for the special edition - and therefore the existing cues need to be reworked to fit the picture.
  3. Recording previously written music. While working on the score, there were a number of scenes that Shore wrote the music for (including the gift-giving scene in Lothlorien) but because the scenes were edited out of the film before the score was recorded, the music has never been heard. (Although it was already written.) Shore will finally record these passages, and they will be integrated into the film.

In addition to that, Shore has been adapting his score into a concert suite, which will be performed this August by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, conducted by John Mauceri, with a childrens and adult choir. That piece will also be expanded into an hour-long concert version, to be performed in February 2003 in London. Chances are quite good that this expanded concert will feature music from the expanded edition of FOTR.

So how does this all relate to an expanded FOTR cd? The news is mixed. Howard has always said that the original CD release was a "condensed" version of the score, and he's quite happy with it. But it would be great to release a more complete work, which would make a lot of people happy. However, at what point to do that? That is the key issue. If an expanded FOTR release came out this summer, it would probably not include the "Expanded Edition" material. People would undoubtedly complain, and then there would be another release. (Can anyone say Phantom Menace?) Compound that with the reasonable possibility that Shore might be asked to do the very same thing he's doing now (new music for the DVD) for the next two films (The Two Towers, The Return of the King), and the logical answer starts to take shape.

Unless something happens to really push it through, it's probably safe to assume any major expanded score release of The Lord of the Rings will not show up until the trilogy is completed, and on DVD. In that event, though, expect a significant box set comprising of the scores from all three films (potentially totalling a staggering eight or nine-hours!) plus a recording of the concert version - which in itself, if adapted for all three scores, could run three hours long.

If you can't wait, and want to get the expanded score released sooner than 2004, feel free to add your name to the following petition. Otherwise, just hang tight. There are no guarantees (are there ever?), but you never know what might come through.

Very special thanks to Ray Costa at Costa Communications. Photos by Dan Goldwasser.