The 2018 Emmy for Best Music Composition for a Series could realistically go to any of the six shows nominated. This year’s category, equivalent to Best Original Score at the Oscars, includes the following nominees: “Game of Thrones” (HBO), “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” (Netflix), “Once Upon a Time” (ABC), “SEAL Team” (CBS), “Star Wars Rebels” (Disney XD) and “Westworld” (HBO).
Ramin Djawadi has the honor of being one of few composers in Emmy history to earn two nominations in this category in the same year, for “Game of Thrones” and “Westworld.” Other nominees this year include past Emmy champs like Sean Callery, Mark Isham and W.G. Snuffy Walden.
So which Emmy-nominated composer will prevail? Let’s take a look at all six of this year’s nominated Music Composition submissions.
“Game of Thrones” — Episode: “The Dragon and the Wolf” — Ramin Djawadi
Djawadi’s epic score for “Game of Thrones” has been integral to its success from the jump, enhancing the battle for the throne with poignant gravitas. In the Season 7 finale, “The Dragon and the Wolf,” Djawadi’s score is most felt in the melodic song “Truth” as the secret of Jon Snow’s (Kit Harington) lineage is revealed and in the menacing closing track, “The Army of the Dead,” as the titular army breaks through the Wall. Djawadi was previously nominated for “Game of Thrones” for Season 4.
“Marvel’s Jessica Jones” — Episode: “AKA Playland” — Sean Callery
Callery won an Emmy in 2016 for composing the main title theme music to “Jessica Jones,” and now he’s back with a nomination for his original dramatic score. For the show’s Season 2 finale, “AKA Playland,” the score features the show’s trademark film noir bass, guitar and piano. With much of the episode centering on Jessica Jones’ (Krysten Ritter) relationship with her mother, there are also more emotional cues, particularly when they are together on the Ferris wheel. Callery has won this category three times for “24” and has earned 17 Emmy nominations in total.
“Once Upon a Time” — Episode: “Leaving Storybrooke” — Mark Isham, Cindy O’Connor, Michael D. Simon
Isham, O’Connor and Simon got “Once Upon a Time” its first Emmy nomination since 2014 for composing the music to the show’s series finale, “Leaving Storybrooke.” The musical score is important to the show’s artistry, as a full orchestra transitions from light and fanciful to thumping action to tragic depending on the mood of the scene. All the while, the score is consistently sweeping and epic, beautifully underscoring an episode full of significant character deaths, fateful choices and Regina’s (Lana Parrilla) coronation.
“SEAL Team” — Episode: “Pattern of Life” — W.G. Snuffy Walden and A. Patrick Rose
Walden and Rose’s musical score to this “SEAL Team” episode helps boost excitement and tension. With the episode centered on a delicate operation in Yemen, the composers include a fast-playing lute and pounding drums as the situation escalates, while also utilizing delicate strings during more sensitive moments. While this is the first nomination for Rose, Walden is a TV academy favorite, earning 13 nominations and one win, for composing the theme song to “The West Wing.”
“Star Wars Rebels” — Episode: “Family Reunion – and Farewell” — Kevin Kiner
Much like “Once Upon a Time,” Kiner’s musical score for “Star Wars Rebels” was recognized at the Emmys for the first time for its final season. “Family Reunion – and Farewell,” the series finale, is action-packed as Erza and the rebels battle for the fate of the galaxy, and Kiner’s score enhances the stakes with grand, brassy orchestral music. The score is clearly influenced by the Star Wars film franchise, but it is still very much an original work and is prominently featured in every scene.
“Westworld” — Episode: “Akane no Mai” — Ramin Djawadi
For “Akane no Mai,” the special Shogun World episode of “Westworld,” Djawadi used primarily Japanese instrumentation like koto, shamisen and taiko drums. The “Akane no Mai” track, as named on the “Westworld” Season 2 original score, is a lush melody that blends the show’s swelling orchestral strings with a distinct Shogun variation. Djawadi was nominated last year for composing “Westworld’s” main title theme and earned previous nominations for “Prison Break” in 2006 and “FastForward” in 2010.
Be sure to make your Emmy predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before winners are announced on September 17. Be sure to also predict winners for the Creative Arts ceremonies slated for September 8 and 9. And join in the fun debate over the 2018 Emmy taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.