"I usually lose stuff," exclaimed a surprised Diane Warren, the seven-time best original song Oscar nominee/bridesmaid as she accepted the prize for best song in a documentary at Wednesday night's sixth annual Hollywood Music in Media Awards, the only awards show specifically devoted to the celebration of music in visual media (film, TV, video games, commercials and trailers).
It was awarded to "'Til It Happens to You," a somber tune Warren co-wrote with Lady Gaga for the doc The Hunting Ground, which chronicles the epidemic of rape on American college campuses. Warren added, "I would like to dedicate this to the survivors — I refuse to call them victims — of sexual abuse. This is for you."
Miriam Cutler's score for the doc also was among the winners at Hollywood's Fonda Theatre. Other film-related honorees included "See You Again" (best original song from a feature film), Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth's chart-topping number from Furious 7 that was written by Andrew Cedar, Justin Franks, Cameron Thomaz and Puth; "Dancing in the Dark" (best original song from an animated film), Rihanna's big number from Home; the scores of Beasts of No Nation (feature), The Peanuts Movie (animated), and Mad Max: Fury Road (sci-fi/fantasy); and 50 Shades of Grey's music supervisors and soundtrack.
The ceremony itself was an endless stream of technical mishaps with many absent winners, but was saved primarily by comedian Ron Pearson, who remained funny and calm throughout; a roster of classy presenters such as Earth Wind and Fire's Verdine White and New Radicals' Danielle Brisebois; and two acapella groups, USC's SoCal Vocals (the group opened the show with Pitch Perfect 2's "Flashlight") and the Clarement colleges' The After School Specials (the group performed "'Til It Happens to You"). YouTube sensation Tiffany Alvord also performed a number.
HMMAs nominees are determined by an advisory board and selection committee that includes journalists, music executives, songwriters and composers. Winners are chosen by select members of the Society of Composers & Lyricists, the TV Academy, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' music branch, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and performing-rights organizations, as well as film-music journalists and music executives.
If last year's voting is any indication, then the HMMAs are as strong a predictor of best original song and best original score Golden Globe and Oscar noms as any of the awards that precede those — all five score nominees last year also were nominated for the corresponding Golden Globe, and the HMMAs was the only notable precursor award to even nominate the song "Lost Stars" (it actually gave it the best original song prize) en route to its Oscar nom.
This year's HMMAs celebration continues on Thursday night with the MIMIpro Mixer at the Redbury Hotel, featuring performances by Tom MacLear, Daniel Minimalia, Katy Rose, Tiffany Ashton, Tarra Layne, Renee Disisto, Dan Schisler and Todd Kramer.