Sources inside the committee said that the big issue was the fact that five names were listed as composers on the music cue sheet, the official studio document that specifies every piece of music (along with its duration and copyright owner) in the film.
The unanswered question is why does it matter if the Best Original Music Score has 1 composer or 10? The best score is the best score, leave it to the members to decide.
This does matter. Students of film composing look to the past, and a nominee from 30 or 40 years past is far more likely to be studied than an unnominated modest box-office success like There Will Be Blood. We lose something from future composers if we exclude successful scores from the competition.
The “The Dark Knight” most memorable music may be what plays behind Heath Ledger’s monologues. Strings gather into a cluster that then slowly glissandos upward, sort of a super-slo-mo version of those famous strings screeching in the “Psycho” shower scene. Just drawn out much longer, so it’s way scarier.
So delicious…why disqualify it over a couple of names on a cue sheet?
“Academy members, change thy rules!” sayeth the fan!
The music cue starts about 2:30 into this clip: