1969

In Tune: Anthony Asquith Award introduced
Though not a composer himself, filmmaker Anthony Asquith had a flair for using music to bring both emotional and narrative meaning to his work, Pygmalion (1938) and The Importance of Being Earnest (1952) among them.

Writing in Asquith’s memorial programme, film critic Dilys Powell recalls him appearing “at a time when this country’s films looked like being overlaid by Hollywood. The talkies were about to revolutionise the art and industry of the screen; fresh creative talents were desperately needed. Two arrived. One was Hitchcock; the other was Asquith.”

When he died in 1968, a Memorial Fund was established in his name, enabling the creation of the Anthony Asquith Award for Original Music to honour the most ‘apt and imaginative use of music in film’. Continuing a relationship with Wedgwood, a sage green jasper plaque depicting Asquith in profile was designed as the trophy, presented with an award of £1000, to be shared by the film’s composer and director.

The inaugural winner was John Barry for The Lion in Winter (1968) – the first of three nominations for Barry before he received the Fellowship in 2005 after a distinguished career that included scores for Goldfinger (1964), Out of Africa (1985) and Dances With Wolves (1990). The award for Original Music (in film) is still presented in Asquith’s name.

Image: Wedgwood sculptor in the process of designing the Anthony Asquith Award. The award was designed by Wedgwood craftsman Eric Owen (1903-1974)



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Video: Rod McKuen presents the Anthony Asquith Award for Original Film Music at the 1976 awards (Source: ITV Studios).