I was young once
Bernard Herrmann. Hands down.
I don't know, he wrote Soarin' Over California and the score for The Sum of All Fears after The Mummy and I dig those so I'm glad he was still writing. Granted, they are not LA Confidential, but really not many scores can compete with that one imho.And then there is Goldsmith who is probably the correct answer but I actually wish he had retired sooner. I feel like his legacy is tarnished by taking on movies later in life that would have benefited from a fresher and more modern sound. Stick to LA Confidential and skip The Mummy.
Wow - great story, Nick!There is no best, but as far as raw skill, Michael Kamen was a freak.
He'd watch a scene, ask for a click that hit x and y. Then - without watching - he'd play into the Kurzweil K250 sequencer, make maybe four passes to add some parts, and it would hit x and y (i.e. the film was running in his head). He'd hand that to an orchestrator.
I pissed him off by transcribing a cue with a lot of 64th notes into 3/2 to make them 32nds rather than 3/4 ("Bach would use 3/2 when he was fucking serious!" he said.). So that was it for me. Can't win 'em all. But it was still quite an experience.