Craig Armstrong, Ennio Morricone, Timbaland Win Big At ASCAP Screen Music Awards

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Craig Armstrong receives an award from Paul Williams and Oliver Stone.

Oscar-winner Morricone won film score of the year for 'The Hateful Eight' and accepted via video.

Craig Armstrong, best known for composing the scores for Moulin Rouge, The Great Gatsby, Ray and Love Actually, received the Henry Mancini Award on Thursday night at ASCAP’s Screen Music Awards, held at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles.

Director Oliver Stone, with whom Armstrong worked on the upcoming Snowden, as well as three past projects, including World Trade Center and the docu-series The Untold History Of The United States, presented the award, along with ASCAP president Paul Williams. The Calder Quartet performed a selection of Armstrong’s music, while Lindsay Pearce sang “This Love,” written by Armstrong for Cruel Intentions. “Your music glows with a power that’s beyond words,” Stone said of Armstrong, but not before busting on how quiet the Scottish composer is. “I don’t think we’ve ever been out to dinner one time because you’re not very sociable,” Stone joked.

“I think the nice thing about getting an award from ASCAP is it’s from fellow musicians, which quite is an unusual thing,” Armstrong told Billboard at the start of the evening. Of working with Stone, he added, “It’s a slightly different thing in a sense that you’re involved in something that is kind of historically important as well as it’s a work of art.”

Other big winners included the three Composers’ Choice recipients, nominated by a committee of professional composers and industry experts and voted on by ASCAP writer members. Oscar-winner Ennio Morricone won film score of the year for The Hateful Eight and accepted via video. Bear McCreary won TV composer of the year for his work on seven series in 2015, including Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Black Sails, Defiance and The Walking Dead, and Austin Wintory won for video game score of the year for Assassin’s Creed Syndicate.

The awards, formerly called the Film & Television Music Awards, received not only a new name, but a new format with only a handful of awards presented onstage (the majority of awards were given to composers as they arrived). Instead more time was devoted to performing the honored music. David Vanacore played his music from The Apprentice and Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader before accepting the award for Most Performed Themes & Underscore from composing legend Mike Post, who recalled first hearing a young Vanacore play piano in his building and offering him his first composing gig for Steven Bochco’s Renegade.

The Chamber Singers from The Academy of Music and Performing Arts at Hamilton High School sang “Rachel’s Dads” and “Recruits” from Glee before the tunes’ composer, James Levine, received the Top Cable Series award for his work on Rizzoli & Isles. Though not present, Michael Giacchino won the Top Box Office Film award for his score for Jurassic Park, while composers Scott Doherty and Brian Jay won Tom Streaming Series award for Orange Is The New Black.

Timbaland, best known for producing artists like Justin Timberlake, Missy Elliott and Madonna, won the Top Network Series award for his work on Empire. In his gracious acceptance speech he made it clear that he is interested in more screen work. “I’m a newcomer to this film and TV world,” he said. “I love movies more than I probably love music. I want to join some of you great composers. Hans Zimmer is my favorite.”

In a touching segment, ASCAP paid tribute to many of the composers who died in the past year, including Luigi Creatore, Van Alexander, Jimmie Haskell, Ray Charles (organizer and leader of the Ray Charles Singers, not the “Hit The Road, Jack” singer), Ray Colcord, and Oscar-winning composer James Horner.

For a complete list of winners, go here.

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