7th Annual Guild of Music Supervisors Awards
Can you imagine watching your favorite film or television show with no music? Perhaps…but, it wouldn’t be pretty! Luckily, it’s not a nightmare we have to endure - thanks to the behind-the-scenes heroes of the Guild of Music Supervisors.
On Thursday, February 16, a unique gathering of creatives took place at the beautiful theatre at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles for the seventh annual Guild of Music Supervisors Awards show. The awards celebrated excellent music supervision in 14 different categories.
Presenters included composers - Mark Mothersbaugh (DEVO, The Lego Movie) and Tyler Bates (Guardians of the Galaxy, John Wick 2), recording artist Warren G (Regulate), American Idol host Randy Jackson and music supervisors - Thomas Golubic, Robin Kaye, Liza Richardson and Maureen Crowe among others. There were musical performances by Teamheadkick, Jacob Banks and singer-songwriter Aurora.
“The focus tonight is clearly on the community and all of our achievements from 2016. We’re going to celebrate the best work in film, television, in games, advertising, trailers and documentaries,” John Houlihan, the passionate president of the Guild said. “It’s a very difficult job, it’s a very unique skill set. There’s a story behind that great song that you’ve just seen in a movie that just made you cry. That’s what tonight is all about – celebrating those who make the special magic music moments happen.” John was also a nominee for Deadpool.
Part of the mission of the Guild of Music Supervisors (GMS) is to showcase the indispensable role music plays in Hollywood and beyond. “We used to have to explain to people what the job was, now it’s what everyone wants to be,” said music supervisor Robin Kaye, who just completed 15 seasons of working on American Idol.
Joel C. High, nominee and Co-Producer of the GMS Awards spoke about the origin of the Guild, “We started as an organization over a dinner table basically”. These discussions eventually led to the creation of the GMS, as a way to acknowledge and promote the important work music supervisors do. Joel added, “While we don’t necessarily create the music ourselves, we’ll work with the composers, we’ll find songs and we’ll do the business side as well”.
Winning wasn’t the main focus at the Awards show either, with many supervisors rooting for their friends and colleagues. Thomas Golubic, nominee and supervisor of Breaking Bad and Halt and Catch Fire said, “It’s all my friends who are nominated - they all do great work. It’s always really nice to win, but the truth is, just being nominated is a big deal, coming to the party is a big deal.”
Jojo Villanueva, supervisor on Straight Outta Compton and Sing added, “It’s amazing to be recognized by your peers. We just want to get the word out and celebrate what music supervisors do, and this is a great way to do it.”
The only thing better than winning is winning with your friend. When City of Stars (La La Land) won for ‘Best Song Created for A Film’, Steve Gizicki, La La Land’s music supervisor was thrilled to win alongside composer Justin Hurwitz. “Winning an award with Justin is such an honor. It was a long road and a lot of work together. Sharing the moment with such a dear friend makes it all the more special,” Steve said.
Justin had equally kind words to say. “The glue of the whole department is this guy, Steve Gizicki, who held it all together, and kept everything afloat. Steve has this really great combination of being so incredibly Type A, like the king of spreadsheets, but also so creative.”
Steve also won for ‘Best Music Supervision for Films Budgeted Over $25m for La La Land. Working on La La Land was “the adventure of a lifetime”, gushed Steve. “It feels like a fairy tale. To work on a film like this, as a music supervisor, and as someone that grew up loving musicals - it’s a dream come true…I’m still pinching myself.”
The night’s special honor, the Legacy Award was conferred upon Gary LeMel. He was especially instrumental in shifting pop culture during his stint as President of Music at both Columbia Pictures and Warner Bros. Studios. Some of his renowned works include films such as A Star Is Born, The Big Chill, Ghostbusters, The Bodyguard, The Matrix, The Hangover, the Batman franchise, the Harry Potter and Ocean’s Eleven series and nearly 500 other films. Gary is also known to be an amazing philanthropist, having held leadership positions at the City Of Hope Cancer Hospital, the TJ Martel Cancer Foundation, Phoenix House and the NARAS Musician Assistance Program.
The awards were a culmination of a thoughtful process of carefully considered aspects of music supervision. John Houlihan explains, “Nominations were chosen by different committees within the GMS, then sent out to all the members for final voting. Our committees have a tremendous amount of viewing to undertake; especially in television, there are so many series and films”. He added that for the final round of voting, a secure and anonymous online system was used to create a fair and objective process.
Each Guild member received a unique log in and password to ensure privacy. John explained that each award category included the option of an ‘abstain’ vote “in case the voter is not familiar with all of the nominees- that keeps the voting pool very pure because only those familiar enough to vote will impact who the winner is. The Awards Committee and the Guild Board Of Governors work very diligently to make sure our voting process is fair, comprehensive and the resulting nominees and winners are truly the best of the best as determined by their guild peers.”