James Newton Howard
An incredibly prolific and versatile composer, James Newton Howard scored a dizzying array of popular and critically acclaimed films, beginning with "Pretty Woman" (1990), "The Prince of Tides" (1991), "The Fugitive" (1993) and "Wyatt Earp" (1994), through "The Sixth Sense" (1999) "Batman Begins" (2005), "King Kong" (2005) and "I am Legend" (2007). Howard - who first sat down at a piano at age two - went on to earn a degree in music and orchestration from the University of Southern California's School of Music, and could have, theoretically, dove right into movie scoring - except for a midstream diversion as a remarkable pop musician in the 1970s, playing keyboards for Elton John, Cher and Toto, among others. Inspiring the loyalty of many prominent filmmakers, Howard enjoyed ongoing working relationships with Lawrence Kasdan, M. Night Shyamalan and sometime director, Kevin Costner. With sweeping scores drawing upon his early exposure to Beethoven and Bach, and melodies informed by his brief but potent career in pop rock, Howard's scores literally resonated with millions of moviegoers, even if household name recognition continued to elude him. But with his stated growing interested in more ambitious themes and unusual arrangements - coupled with his Oscar-nominated score for the George Clooney legal thriller "Michael Clayton" (2007) - many in the industry believed his best work was still yet to come.