In the late 1970s, Abbey Road Studios faced a dilemma. Classical music had fallen out of vogue with the mainstream listener. As a result, Studio One – the largest purpose-built recording space in the world, and the go-to location for classical recordings, stood largely empty.
The rise of the guitar band in the ‘60s meant the majority of acts coming through the doors at Abbey Road no longer had any requirement for such a huge, cavernous room. The artists dominating popular music at the time favoured Studios Two and Three. Studio Manager at the time, Ken Townsend, had a difficult decision to make, either close Studio One as it existed, or innovate and find a way of allowing the studio to stand.
Fortunately, Townsend chose the latter, and seeing the rising popularity of film scoring and the industry’s need for a space just like Studio One, he opened Abbey Road’s doors to the film making community, who embraced Abbey Road as eagerly as he had hoped.
Abbey Road has since become the premier destination for film scoring, with award-winning titles such as The King’s Speech, Gravity and The Lord of the Rings trilogy being recorded within the walls of Studio One.
And this year’s awards ceremonies have stood as a testament to this legacy, further cementing Abbey Road’s reputation in the film scoring community with a number of award-winning and nominated scores being recorded and mixed at the Studios.
Between the Golden Globes, Oscars & BAFTAs – Alexandre Desplat’s The Shape of Water made an exceptional impression winning Best Original Score at the Golden Globes and Oscars, and Best Original Music at the BAFTAs.
Desplat is no stranger to Abbey Road, having already recorded multiple award-winning scores within the studios’ walls with The Grand Budapest Hotel and The King’s Speech both earning him the Best Original Music award at the BAFTAs and a Best Original Score award for The King’s Speech at the Oscars.
The film itself brought in an almost-record-breaking 13 Oscar nominations too, whilst scoring Best Director Award at all three major awards ceremonies, and winning the coveted Best Picture award at the Oscars.
Desplat’s score for The Shape of Water was recorded in Studio One and the session was engineered by Peter Cobbin and assisted by John Barrett and George Oulton.
The awards season has also been laden with accolades for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, another film that had its original score, composed by Carter Burwell, recorded within Studio Two.
Despite missing out on Best Original Music at the Golden Globes to Desplat, Three Billboards went home from the ceremony with Best Motion Picture, along with Best Screenplay and both Best Actor and Best Actress performances in a motion picture – winning the latter at the Oscars also.
Burwell’s original score was recorded in Studio Two and was assisted by Matt Mysko.
The BAFTAs also proved equally as fruitful for Three Billboards, with the film winning Best Screenplay, Outstanding British Film, Best Supporting Actor, Best Leading Actor and Best Film.
Johnny Greenwood’s original Score for Phantom Thread, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, also earned nominations for Best Original Score at the Golden Globes and Oscars and Best Original Music at the BAFTA’s, making it the Radiohead guitarist’s first nomination at each ceremony. The session was engineered by John Barrett at Abbey Road.
With the Oscars bringing award season to a close, Abbey Road is extremely proud to have played a role in some of the incredible films that have been acknowledged by the awards committees and the wider public.
Their recognition, while a seismic achievement for the winners and teams involved in the films, is further affirmation of Ken Townsend’s decision to embrace the film industry and evolve and adapt as a studio.
The Shape of Water Award Wins
- BAFTA – Best Film Music, Best Director, best Leading Actress
- Oscars – Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Score, Best Production Design
- Golden Globes – Best Director, Best Original Score
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri Award Wins
- BAFTA – Best Supporting Actor, Best Leading Actress, Best Film, Best British Film, Best Original Screenplay
- Oscars – Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor (Best Original Score Nominee)
- Golden Globes – Best Drama Motion Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Actress in a Drama Motion Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Director (Best Original Score Nominee)
Phantom Thread Award Wins
- BAFTA – Best Costume Design (Best Film Music Nominee)
- Oscars – Best Costume Design (Best Original Score Nominee)
- Golden Globes – (Best Original Score Nominee)