By Kat Kramer
I had the good fortune to be invited to a fabulous afternoon reception in Beverly Hills the day before the 83rd Academy Awards. The Society of Composers and Lyricists, along with the Music Branch of the AMPAS presented the annual pre-Oscar cham-pagne reception that honored the 2011 Academy Award nominees in score and song. It was hosted by AMPAS Governor Charles Bernstein and SCL President Dan Foliart. Most all of the nominees were in attendance, including the eventual winners for Best Score, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for The Social Network, and top composers and nominees Alexandre Desplat, John Powell, A.R. Rahman, and one of my all-time favorites and a nominee for Inception, Hans Zimmer. This was the group nominated for Achievement in Music for Best Original Score. The nominees for Best Original Song were also in attendance, including A.R. Rahman, Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, Tom Douglas, Troy Verges, and Hillary Lindsey. Ironically, the only nominee not in attendance was the great Randy Newman, who won the Academy Award the next night for Toy Story 3.
There were quite a few music and film industry big-wigs mingling around, and I chatted briefly with legendary composer Arthur
Hamilton and Richard Sherman, one half of the legendary Sherman Brothers songwriting team. All of the nominees got a special goodie bag, and everyone drank a toast in honor of the late, great publicist Ronni Chasen, who always attended this annual reception, as her clients were always nominated. Her associate Jeff Sanderson represented Reznor and Ross, who won. Charles Bernstein made brief remarks, and reminded the exclusive attendees how the Academy Awards became known as the “Oscars.” Apparently, the veteran Academy Award winning Best Actress Bette Davis, who was on the board of AMPAS in its earliest days, had an uncle named Oscar, and suggested that the coveted award be named in his honor. And so it was to be called the “Oscar.” And it was a delightful bit of trivia and a day to rub elbows with some of the finest music makers in the business.