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Zimmer, currently at work on Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, said his decision was only partly related to the death last year of his longtime publicist Ronni Chasen, to whom the Ghent fest’s closing night World Soundtrack Awards concert was dedicated.
“I don’t want to make a big thing out of it, but I just thought ‘no Ronni — I’ll take a break,’” he said.
He added that the decision had more to do with a desire to avoid distractions and focus on his upcoming work.
“I just want to sit it out,” he said. “I just want to observe for a year. I actually think the Academy is really important, but if you’re in the race you can’t really observe. I just wanted to take a step back and say ‘I’m not in the race.’”
Zimmer is no stranger to Oscar campaigning. As an eight-time nominee and one-time winner, for 1995’s The Lion King, he has plenty of experience with the obligations that come with Hollywood’s biggest honor.
“As soon as you get nominated, and I don’t care who you are — there are certainly people of better character than me — it all goes crazy,” he said. “You get the phone call at five o’clock and after that you have to do the interviews and then do the parties and meet all these people and do all these things. It’s disruptive, and I think it would be more interesting to observe it for a year. It does worry me that we have to stay relevant. Times are changing, very rapidly. Usually what I do when things are changing rapidly is stand still and observe.”
Zimmer pointed out that in order for composers to be admitted into the Oscar race they have to personally submit their own scores. “The studio gives you a little kick, but you actually have to phone up the Academy and say ‘can I have the paperwork?’” he said. “But I think it’s good. And it’s not like I’m not proud of Rango, because I think it’s a pretty amazing little movie. But another thing is I don’t really have [original] scores this year because I’ve done sequels.”
That said, Zimmer declared that much of his work on the next Sherlock Holmes installment – Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows – is a departure from the first film, and hinted his work on Dark Knight Rises is also mostly new.
“Sherlock Holmes is choc-a-block full of new material — and Dark Night may be the same.”
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London Film Festival