sclYesterday afternoon, the Society of Composers & Lyricists (SCL) hosted its annual reception honoring the Oscar-nominated composers and songwriters in the Best Original Score and Best Original Song category, which was held for the second time in a row at Cafe La Boheme in West Hollywood. SCL president Ashley Irwin introduced the nominees who briefly addressed the audience. Four of the five nominated composers in the score category were in attendance, including John Williams, who received his 50th Academy Award nomination for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He thanked the Academy music branch and the other nominees and jokingly singled out Ennio Morricone as an “inspiration to us younger composers.” Morricone, who received his sixth Oscar nomination for his score for Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, also briefly spoke to the audience. His son, Giovanni Morricone, translated his speech to the crowd. Before the presentation, the Italian composer was seated in the cafe’s garden patio having a conversation with Williams and was also spotted talking to another legendary composer, Lalo Schifrin. Thomas Newman, nominated for the 13th time for his music for Steven Spielberg’s Best Picture nominee Bridge of Spies, thanked the SCL and Academy for their continued support. Carter Burwell who received his first nomination for his music for Todd Haynes’ Carol and was inducted as an SCL ambassador in 2012, talked about the honor of being in the same room with Williams, Morricone and Newman. Johann Johannsson, who is nominated for the second time in row, for his music for Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario, was unable attend the event and tonight’s Oscar ceremony, but left a note, which Irwin read to the audience. Among the nominees for Best Original Song, composer/record producer Stephan Moccio represented the nominated song Earned It from Fifty Shades of Grey, performed by The Weeknd, which he co-wrote with Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe  and Jason Daheala Quenneville. J. Ralph, who received his second Oscar nomination and is nominated for the song Manta Ray from the documentary Racing Extinction, thanked the SCL and Academy music branch and mentioned how the recognition helps the awareness of the social causes the documentary focuses on. Pulitzer Prize and Grammy winner David Lang, who received his first Academy Award nomination for Simple Song from Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth, talked about the amount of interviews and Q&As he did during the season in support of the film and how the SCL crowd at their own screening stood out to him as asking relatable questions to him as a musician. Diane Warren, who received her eighth nomination for the song Til It Happens to You from the documentary The Hunting Ground, reflected on the importance of the song to herself and her co-nominee Lady Gaga. Irwin also revealed at the event that Warren has been selected to join the SCL advisory board.


From left to right: Charles Bernstein, J. Ralph, John Williams, Ennio Morricone, Stephan Moccio, Carter Burwell, Diane Warren, David Lang, Thomas Newman, Ashley Irwin //  Photo credit: Dan Goldwasser/

UPDATE (February 29, 2016): Check out a video from the event below.