Film Music Review












The Sammy Film Music Awards (SFMA) are the longest-running awards chosen exclusively for film music recordings.

For the past twenty-five years, they have been chosen by Roger Lee Hall, an ASCAP composer, film music critic, author of the popular book, A GUIDE TO FILM MUSIC (now in its 5th edition), and Managing Editor of Film Music Review. He is also a member of the


IFMCA: the International Film Music Critics Association



Click on these links:


Words by Sammy Cahn

A Guide To Film Music

Sammy Cahn Centennial Concert

25th Annual Sammy Film Music Awards

Previous Best Album Producers

Lifetime Achievement Awards



If you would like to list the Sammys and exchange links, write to:

The Sammy Awards


Words by Sammy Cahn

He certainly deserved the honor. Sammy received four Oscars for co-writing these songs:

  • "Three Coins in the Fountain" from
    THREE COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN (1954) -- music by Jule Styne
  • "All the Way" from
    THE JOKER IS WILD (1957) -- music by James Van Heusen
  • "High Hopes" from
    A HOLE IN THE HEAD (1959) -- music by James Van Heusen
  • "Call Me Irresponsible" from
    PAPA'S DELICATE CONDITION (1963) -- music by James Van Heusen

Sammy also received an Emmy for his lyrics to "Love and Marriage" from the television production of OUR TOWN in 1955.

All five songs were recorded by Frank Sinatra, who was a longtime friend and an admirer of Sammy's lyrics.

-- Roger Hall

Many of Sammy's popular movie songs are included
in this great collection...

New Sammy Cahn Songbook

Read Sammy's frank and witty autobiography...

I Should Care: The Sammy Cahn Story

I Should Care: The Sammy Cahn Story

Help Support The Sammy Film Music Awards!

If you donate to help support The Sammy Awards you will receive a copy of a multimedia DVD with the revised 5th edition of a film music guide with bonus audio from Oscar music tributes by Roger Hall on WGBH radio with announcements of the Sammy Awards from 1989 to 1995. The book and bonus features are included on the DVD, playable on any computer, and titled,

On the 25th anniversary you can help support The Sammy Film Music Awards with a donation of $25 and you will receive A GUIDE TO FILM MUSIC on DVD, or for $20 you will receive the CD,
"Oscar Meets Sammy: Film Music Awards On Radio."

For a donation of $40 you will receive
both the DVD and CD with Free Shipping.

You can donate by credit card payable to PineTree Productions,
through safe and secure PayPal.

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See the

Sammy Cahn Centennial Tribute




The Sammy Film Music Awards

25th Anniversary!

"What really makes the Sammy Awards worth checking out is the irregular addition
of irreverent and praiseworthy categories."

-- Timothy Sexton (read the full story on the Yahoo Network)

10 February 2013

By Roger Hall

You probably know about the Oscars but have you heard of the Sammys?

The Sammys have no connection to the Oscars, BAFTA, Golden Globes, or any other awards and are given in only one category -- film music .

They are based on the quality of film scores and songs on CDs.

These awards are named in honor of Sammy Cahn, who was Oscar-nominated more than any other songwriter – 26 times in all between 1942 and 1973.  

The first Sammy Awards were chosen for best score and song of 1988 – the year of Sammy Cahn’s 75th birthday.  When notified, Sammy said he was “flattered and honored" to have these awards named after him.

For many years, I was a guest on the popular radio program, "Music America," in Boston, hosted by Ron Della Chiesa. Some of these radio shows are included on the special CD: Oscar Meets Sammy - Film Music Awards On Radio.

The awards are based on CDs released or reviewed in 2012. This year, there is a return of Best Film Song category since it was discontinued five years ago. For the past few years film songs have been mostly forgettable.

And it was a good year for film soundtracks, especially the older ones. I have already chosen the ones I believe are superior, listed under the Best Film Music Releases of 2012, and they make up the nominees for this year's Sammy Awards.

This year there is a new category reflecting the increasing popularity of video games and interactive media.

Categories for the 25th Annual Sammy Film Music Awards:

As Sammy Cahn would say with words from one of his Oscar-winning songs, they are the CD nominees...

Now, here are my choices of new and vintage film scores for the...


25th Annual Sammy Film Music Awards



Best New Film Score

music by Alexandre Desplat
(Varese Sarabande CD)

Following in the tradition of memorable fantasy scores by John Williams, this is a fast-paced and highly inventive score by the prolific Alexandre Desplat, now among the first rank of film composers.

Honorable Mention: LINCOLN - music by John Williams


Best New Film Score
for Video Game or Interactive Media

music by Austin Wintory
(Sumthing CD)

A powerful and highly memorable score
by this most promising young film composer.


Best New Film Song


"Still Dream"
music by Alexandre Deplat/lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire
(Varese Sarabande CD)

A stunningly beautiful song with music by Alexandre Desplat and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire, superbly sung by Renee Fleming. It has the best elements (beautiful melody and lyrics) to make it a classic movie song.


Most Overrated New Film Score CD




music by Thomas Newman
(Sony Classical CD)

Thomas Newman is a good film composer who has composed some fine scores in the past but I don't think this is one of them. To my ears this soundtrack is mostly a bunch of repetitive themes which don't make a worthwhile soundtrack and there are none of the memorable themes like the John Barry scores for Bond films. SKYFALL is also much too LOUD. Often when the volume is turned up, it sounds like an overblown music video which is also how the film itself frequently looks.

Best Golden Age CD Release
(1930s - 1950s)

music by Max Steiner
(Tribute Film Classics 2 CD box set)

Honorable Mention: BEN-HUR - Complete Soundtrack Collection
5 CD Box Set (Film Score Monthly)




Best Silver Age CD Release
(1960s - 1970s)

SHIP OF FOOLS - Music by Ernest Gold
(Monstrous Movie Music CD)


Best Bronze Age CD Release
(1980s - 1990s)

music by John Barry
(Film Score Monthly, 2 CDs)

Best Newly Recorded
Vintage Film Score CD Release

music by Miklos Rozsa
(Prometheus Records 2 CDs)




Special Preservation Award:
Best Album Producers

This year's recipients are a husband and wife team

David Schecter and Kathleen Mayne
(Monstrous Movie Music)

who have been producing high quality CDs
of vintage music for may years,
mostly for popular and less familiar 1950s sci-fi films, like

THE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS (music by Walter Greene)

As well as other films, such as

THE McCULLOCHS (music by Ernest Gold)




Lifetime Achievement Award
For A Past Film Composer


Since 1988, there have been 19 past film composers/ arrangers and 6 songwriters and lyric writers named for this Lifetime Achievement Award, each of them have made significant accomplishments in film music.

The composers and arrangers are (in the order of their listing):

Bernard Herrmann, Henry Mancini, Alfred Newman, Max Steiner, Miklos Rozsa, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Dimitri Tiomkin, Franz Waxman, Victor Young, Hugo Friedhofer, Johnny Green, Bronislau Kaper, Alex North, Elmer Bernstein, Jerry Goldsmith, Ken Darby, Aaron Copland, John Barry, and David Raksin.

The songwriters and lyricists are (in order of their listing):

Sammy Cahn, Johnny Mercer, James Van Heusen, Harry Warren,
Jay Livingston and Ray Evans.

This year the Lifetime Achievement Award for a past film composer, is chosen on the 100th anniversary of his birth. His name is...

Jerome Moross (1913-1983)

The Sammy Lifetime Achievement Award was given to his daughter, Susan Moross Tarjan...


The Sammys are listed in this national directory:

Chase's Calendar of Events of 2013

See also:

ASCAP Playback


The Sammys have been listed in previous years at these sites:

Cinema Retro

Elmer Bernstein - The Official Site

Film Score Monthly

Film Score Click Track (article by Jim Lochner)



John Williams Fan Network





Previous Special Preservation Sammys
For Best Album Producers

Nick Redman (2012)




Robert Townson (2011)






John Morgan, William Stromberg, Anna Bonn (2010)



James Fitzpatrick (2009)




Douglass Fake (2008)



Lukas Kendall (2007)




Sammy Lifetime Achievement Awards
For Past Composers and Songwriters


David Raksin, 1912-2004


John Barry (1933-2011)



Aaron Copland (1900-1990)



Ken Darby (1909-1992)



Jerry Goldsmith (1929-2004)



Jay Livingston (1915-2001)
and Ray Evans (1915-2007)



Elmer Bernstein (1922-2004)


Sammy Cahn, 1913-1993








Are you a fan of classic films?

If you enjoy music from older films, this DVD is highly recommended. It is hosted with great candor by John Mauceri and includes music by
Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Alfred Newman, David Raksin, Max Steiner,
Dimitri Tiomkin, and Franz Waxman.

Click on this link to order:

Music for the Movies: The Hollywood Sound

Music from Hollywood

Also recommended is this CD from a 1963 television program, with the Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra and music conducted by these film composers: Alfred Newman, David Raksin, Alex North, Franz Waxman, Johnny Green, Bernard Herrmann, Dimitri Tiomkin, and Miklos Rozsa.

Music From Hollywood


The Sammy Awards (1988-2011)

The Sammy Awards (Home page)



If you have comments or questions, write to

The Sammy Awards



Best Film Music CDs of 2012




Select your favorite movie songs and scores from the past at this link:

Film Music Web Poll


Do you think all film critics think alike?

See Jim Lochner's extensive list of film music awards at his great site,

Film Score Click Track




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