February 19, 2006 — Each year, The Sammys recognize the best — and the worst — in film music. This year, respected film music historian and author Roger Hall honored the late Elmer Bernstein with the Lifetime Achievement for Past Film Composer award, citing a number of his favorite scores between 1955 and 1965:THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM (1955), THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956), THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (1960), WALK ON THE WILD SIDE (1962), THE GREAT ESCAPE (1963), HAWAII (1965), THE SONS OF KATIE ELDER (1965), and — Bernstein’s personal favorite — TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1962).
Hall paid respect to a number of the maestro’s later works, including comedies like TRADING PLACES (1983) and GHOSTBUSTERS (1984), and the more serious scores such as for MY LEFT FOOT (1989)and THE GRIFTERS (1990). He adds, “Even though he was probably best known for his rugged outdoor western music, like the John Wayne westerns, Elmer’s ability to compose a subtle score was always evident, as in THE AGE OF INNOCENCE.” His score for FAR FROM HEAVEN was awarded The Sammy for Best Score of 2002.
The Sammy Awards were named for the legendary Sammy Cahn, the most Oscar-nominated songwriter of all time — 26 in total, between 1942 and 1973. The first Sammy Awards were chosen for Best Score and Song of 1988 in honor of Cahn’s 75th birthday.
For a complete list of Sammy Award categories and winners (as well as the history of The Sammy), please visit the American Music Preservation website.