Awards Time on the Ides of March: Grammy Results and Oscar Nominations

Janos Gereben on March 16, 2021


Difficult as it may be to do this as usual, the music and film industries are celebrating artists and themselves even for the year that wasn’t. Nominations for the 93rd annual Academy Awards were announced Monday morning, following the 63rd-annual Grammy Awards on Sunday evening.

Trevor Noah introduced the Grammys as a “10-year review,” pointing out what we all know, that 2020 felt like a decade. He also said that there are a stunning one thousand names on the year’s music obituary list.

Conductor Georg Solti, who died in 1997, remains the Grammys champion, with 31 awards; Beyoncé after Sunday is No. 2, with 28 Grammys

The Grammys had a different look this time, with a comedian as host, new executive producer Ben Winston succeeding Ken Ehrlich after his four-decade run, and music-venue staffers presenting awards.

As usual, classical music was way down the list of Grammy Awards, beginning with category #73, in fact, but on the top of the hit parade for us. And so, here are some results of interest from the Grammys Awards night from among all the winners, notable for Beyoncé, whose 28th award set a record for most Grammys by a female artist and by any singer. (NB: “singer” is specified because the champion with the most Grammys ever — 31 — is conductor Georg Solti, as classical as a musician can get. Queen Bey also tied producer/arranger/ composer legend Quincy Jones.)

Best Engineered Album, Classical:

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 13, “Babi Yar” — David Frost and Charlie Post, engineers; Silas Brown, mastering engineer (Riccardo Muti and Chicago Symphony Orchestra)

Producer of the Year, Classical:

David Frost

The LA Phil’s Ives recordings won the Best Orchestral Performance award

Best Orchestral Performance:

Ives: Complete Symphonies — Gustavo Dudamel, conductor (Los Angeles Philharmonic) [MTT’s Copland Symphony No. 3, with the San Francisco Symphony, was among the nominees.]

Best Opera Recording:

Gershwin: Porgy and Bess — David Robertson, conductor; Angel Blue and Eric Owens; David Frost, producer (The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; The Metropolitan Opera Chorus)

Best Choral Performance:

Danielpour: The Passion Of Yeshua — JoAnn Falletta, conductor; James K. Bass and Adam Luebke, chorus masters (James K. Bass, J’Nai Bridges, Timothy Fallon, Kenneth Overton, Hila Plitmann and Matthew Worth; Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra; Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus and UCLA Chamber Singers)

Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance:

Contemporary Voices — Pacifica Quartet

Best Classical Instrumental Solo:

Theofanidis: Concerto for Viola and Chamber Orchestra — Richard O’Neill; David Alan Miller, conductor (Albany Symphony)

Best Classical Solo Vocal Album:

Dame Ethel Smyth: The Prison — Sarah Brailey and Dashon Burton; James Blachly, conductor (Experiential Chorus; Experiential Orchestra)

Best Classical Compendium:

Michael Tilson Thomas: From the Diary of Anne Frank and Rilke Meditations — Isabel Leonard; Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor; Jack Vad, producer

The scene outside Davies Symphony Hall in January 2020 when MTT’s Grammy-winning Rilke Meditations was first performed

Best Contemporary Classical Composition:

Rouse: Symphony No. 5 — Giancarlo Guerrero and Nashville Symphony

Best Music Film:

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice — Linda Ronstadt, Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, video directors; Michele Farinola and James Keach, video producers

Oscars in Waiting

Academy Award Nominations

On top of the Monday announcement of nominees for the April 25 Academy Awards night on ABC are the films vying for Best Picture:

The Father
Judas and the Black Messiah
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Music scores for the following films are nominated:

Da 5 Bloods
The Midnight Sky
News of the World

Nods for Original Song went to:

“Fight for You” from Judas and the Black Messiah
“Hear My Voice” from The Trial of the Chicago 7
“Husavik” from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
“Io Sì (Seen)” from The Life Ahead (La Vita Davanti a Se)
“Speak Now” from One Night in Miami...

According to the Billboard website:

The score for Disney and Pixar’s Soul could secure an Oscar nod after Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, and Jon Batiste picked up the prize at both the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards.

For the original song category, two strong contenders include “Io Sì (Seen)” from The Life Ahead (La Vita Davanti a Se), which earned a Globe for Diane Warren, Laura Pausini, and Niccolò Agliardi, and “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami, which is credited to Sam Ashworth and Leslie Odom Jr. and won the Critics Choice Award in the same category.