Here's some news to create a bit of breathing room in an already stacked Oscar race for Best Original Score: whatever happens, nine-time nominee Hans Zimmer will not be in it. The Hollywood Reporter reveals that the German-born composer, nominated the last two years running for "Sherlock Holmes" and "Inception," has opted to sit out this year's derby by refusing to personally enter any of his 2011 scores for consideration -- as Academy rules require hopefuls in the category to do.

That'll come as a surprise to the many pundits who were predicting a nomination for his playful, genre-referencing work on surefire Best Animated Feature nominee "Rango." It also rules out the chance of further recognition for his jangly, gypsy-influenced sounds for the "Sherlock Holmes" franchise. (Ditto "Kung Fu Panda 2," "Pirates of the Caribbean 4" and "The Dilemma," but I don't think the Oscar race is drastically altered for their absence.)

So, why is Zimmer choosing to pass on a potential tenth trip to the ball (and second Oscar statuette)? Well, as he tells the Reporter, he simply doesn't feel up to it:

As soon as you get nominated, and I don’t care who you are — there are certainly people of better character than me — it all goes crazy... You get the phone call at five o’clock and after that you have to do the interviews and then do the parties and meet all these people and do all these things. It’s disruptive, and I think it would be more interesting to observe it for a year. It does worry me that we have to stay relevant. Times are changing, very rapidly. Usually what I do when things are changing rapidly is stand still and observe.

Fair enough, though his stance suggests awards are for individuals, not films -- I'm sure the team behind "Rango," for example, would be glad of any recognition the film can get, so Zimmer's decision seems slightly hard on them. It would, of course, be quite possible to enter one's work in the race and then not campaign at all. (Mo'Nique recently proved that you needn't play the game to reap the rewards.)

Zimmer, in particular, is the kind of esteemed name in the branch who could get away with a silent campaign, though perhaps he doesn't wish to risk being seen as a default nominee either. Anyway, here's hoping he regains his taste for the race by the time "The Dark Knight Rises" (for which, he teases THR, he has composed much new material) rolls around.