‘Jackie’ composer Mica Levi is only 5th woman in Oscar history to contend in a score category

Among this year’s five Oscar nominees for Best Original Score is Mica Levi, recognized for her work on Pablo Larrain’s “Jackie,” in which Best Actress nominee Natalie Portman portrays Jacqueline Kennedy.  This marks for the first Oscar appearance for the English composer, also known by her stage name Micachu, who previously garnered critical acclaim for her work on the 2013 film “Under the Skin.” Shockingly, she is only the fifth woman to ever receive an Oscar nomination in the 82-year history of the various score categories at the Oscars and would be just the fourth female winner.

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It took four decades for a score category to even have its first female nominee. That was in 1974 when composer Angela Morley was nominated Best Original Song Score and Adaptation alongside Alan Jay Lerner, Frederick Loewe and Douglas Gambley for the fantasy-musical “The Little Prince.” The quartet lost to Nelson Riddle’s score for “The Great Gatsby.”

Three years later, Morley was back, this time contending in Best Original Song Score and Adaptation alongside Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman for “The Slipper and the Rose” (1977), a live-action musical retelling of “Cinderella.” That trio lost time to eventual EGOT champ Jonathan Tunick who picked up an Oscar for his work on the film adaptation of “A Little Night Music” (1977).

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Morley would go on to greater awards success scoring the small screen, garnering 11 Emmy nominations, including three victories: “Christmas in Washington” (1984); “Julie Andrews: The Sound of Christmas” (1987); and “Julie Andrews in Concert” (1990).

In 1983, the category finally had its first female winner, as lyricist Marilyn Bergman, with co-writer and husband Alan Bergman and composer Michel Legrand, scored the Best Original Song and Adaptation Score Oscar for Barbra Streisand’s “Yentl.” While this marked Bergman’s sole appearance in Best Original Score, she was no stranger to the category of Best Song, ultimately receiving a career 15 nominations to date, including two wins – for “The Windmills of Your Mind” from “The Thomas Crown Affair” (1968) and the title track to “The Way We Were” (1973).

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Morley would go on to greater awards success scoring the small screen, garnering 11 Emmy nominations, including three victories: “Christmas in Washington” (1984); “Julie Andrews: The Sound of Christmas” (1987); and “Julie Andrews in Concert” (1990).

In 1983, the category finally had its first female winner, as lyricist Marilyn Bergman, with co-writer and husband Alan Bergman and composer Michel Legrand, scored the Best Original Song and Adaptation Score Oscar for Barbra Streisand’s “Yentl.” While this marked Bergman’s sole appearance in Best Original Score, she was no stranger to the category of Best Song, ultimately receiving a career 15 nominations to date, including two wins – for “The Windmills of Your Mind” from “The Thomas Crown Affair” (1968) and the title track to “The Way We Were” (1973).

 

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It was 13 years after Bergman’s victory before a woman again contended in a score category. Rachel Portman took home the Best Musical or Comedy Score award for “Emma” (1996), the Gwyneth Paltrow-headlined screen adaptation of the Jane Austen novel. The following year, that category had another female winner as Anne Dudley triumphed for her work on “The Full Monty.”

Portman is the only woman to ever contend in the current category of Best Original Score. She received nominations for her work on  two Best Picture Oscar-nominees, both directed by Lasse Hallstrom – “The Cider House Rules” (1999) and “Chocolat” (2000). She lost in 1999 to John Corigliano for “The Red Violin” and came up short in 2000 to Tan Dun’s music to “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”

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