The Dark Knight came up lame in the first stretch of this year's Oscar marathon, hobbled by the Academy music branch's disqualification of its big, haunting, lugubrious Bat-score. At issue: Credited composers Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard wrote "more than 60%, but less than 70%" of the music, according to documentation sent the Academy's way. This throws our awards-seasons handicapping into complete disarray, but as Variety points out, it might be our own fault for not seeing it coming.Add it to the Dark Knight curse, we suppose: The same scenario torpedoed Batman Begins' Best Original Score hopes in 2005, when Zimmer and Howard were last DQ'd. Yet the duo once again leaned too heavily on collaborations for the Academy's taste, bringing on a third composer, the film's music editor and an "ambient music designer" whose achievement in melodifying Heath Ledger's scenery-gobbling will likely go forever unrecognized beyond the controversial five-person credit list — a/k/a the "cue sheet":
Zimmer said, in an interview with Variety prior to this week's Acad action, that listing multiple names on the cue sheet was a way of financially rewarding parts of the music team who helped make the overall work successful. (Performing-rights societies like ASCAP and BMI use the cue sheet to distribute royalties to composers.) [...] Some members sided with Zimmer and Howard; citing the originality and cutting-edge nature of the music, they urged others to keep the Dark Knight score eligible despite the cue-sheet issue.
And that's not even counting the protests of Hüseyin Kalkan, the embittered mayor of Batman, Turkey, who is expected to argue that his city was singly responsible for the folk tune that inspired the soundtrack's hit instrumental, "Like a Dog Chasing Cars."