Trent Reznor And Atticus Ross Win Academy Award For Best Original Score

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 25: (L-R) Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor attend the 93rd Annual Academy Awards at Union Station on April 25, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Chris Pizzello-Pool/Getty Images)

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Their Oscar is for their music on the Pixar animated film Soul.

Sharing their Oscar win with composer Jon Batiste, Reznor and Ross have been on a hot streak this award season. The duo won Best Original Score—along with Batiste—for Soul at The Golden Globes, The Critics’ Choice Awards, The BAFTA’s, The Annie Awards and The Society of Composers & Lyricists. Tonight’s win marks a return to the Oscar stage for the first time since taking home the statuette for their original score to Fincher’s The Social Network in 2011. 

The duo’s Mank score, meanwhile, was also nominated for a Golden Globe, a BAFTA Award, a Critics’ Choice Award, and an SCL Award for Best Original Score. Reznor and Ross also earned a nomination for Mank for Best Original Song at the SCL Awards for their song, “(If Only You Could) Save Me.”   

Reznor and Ross won numerous regional film critic awards this season on behalf of Soul, including the Boston Online Film Critics Association, Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards, New York Film Critics Association Awards, and the Chicago Film Critics Association Awards, among several others. 

Reznor and Ross’s work on Mank and Soul was also acknowledged at Variety’s 7th Annual Artisans Awards. The Hollywood Critics Association (HCA) also gave them the Artisan Achievement Award for their work on Soul and Mank at the 4th Annual HCA Awards Ceremony last March.  

The soundtrack to Pixar’s Soul won big at the NAACP Awards, with Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Jon Batiste, and Tom MacDougall taking home the prize for Outstanding Soundtrack/Compilation Album. 

Both scores brought Reznor and Ross into territory outside the electronic realm for which they’re most known as members of Nine Inch Nails. The music for David Fincher’s Mank earned them acclaim for its mixture of 1940s big band, period orchestral, and jazz music. Pixar’s Soul further demonstrates their versatility, creating the emotional link between the two worlds depicted in the film. 

Soul is directed by Pete Docter and Kemp Powers and focuses on Joe (Jamie Foxx), a frustrated middle school band teacher who seeks to return to Earth to realize his dreams of performing as a jazz musician after a sudden accident separates him from his body. 

The Netflix drama Mank was directed by Reznor and Ross’s longtime collaborator David Fincher. The film is both a love letter to—and a critique of—Hollywood’s Golden Age, following alcoholic screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman), as he finishes the script for Citizen Kane.  

Last fall, Reznor and Ross earned an Emmy for their work on HBO’s Watchmen, putting them one award away from achieving an EGOT. They were also inducted into the 2020 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

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