Oscar Artists: Herrmann, Bernard–Composer’s Oscar Nominations and Awards

The Academy is reluctant to bestow the Oscar Award posthumously. Some suggest that the Academy’s reluctance stems from its belief that the awards should affect the careers of practicing artists. In some categories, such as the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award for distinguished producers, and the Honorary Oscars, the rules state explicitly that the awards “shall not be voted posthumously.”

Posthumous awards and nominations are rare in most categories. Cult composer Bernard Herrmann, best-known for his dark and haunting Hitchcockian scores, such as “Vertigo” and “Psycho,” received two posthumous nominations in the same year, 1976, for Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver” and for Brian De Palma’s “Obsession;” the latter film was a tribute to Hitchcock’s masterpiece, “Vertigo.” It was a fitting swang song for Hermann’s distinguished career, though the Academy decided to honor Jerry Goldsmith for “The Omen,” which happened to be another Hitchcock-inspired thriller.

Bernard Herrmann Oscar Record

Herrman was nominated for five films, winning one Oscar, though not for his best work.

1941: Citizen Kane; All That Money Can Buy (two nominations)
1946: Anna and the King of Siam
1976: Obsession and Taxi Driver (two nominations)

In 1941, Herrmann, competing with himself for “Citizen Kane,” won the Oscar in his first film as a composer. In 1946, the winner was Hugo Friedlander for “The Best Years of Our Lives,” which swept most of the Oscars. In 1976, Jerry Goldsmith for “The Omen.”