1983 was a pivotal year for Isham: he released his solo debut on Windham Hill, Vapor Drawings, and scored his first film, the Disney release Never Cry Wolf. The first Windham Hill release to emphasize electronics, Vapor Drawings established Isham as a composer adept at blending synthetic and acoustic timbres and became a progressive electronic classic. Meanwhile, Never Cry Wolf quickly led to numerous other soundtrack assignments, demonstrating Isham's facility with a wide variety of musical styles and instrumental settings. Seeking wider exposure by the late '80s, Isham began recording for Virgin, although he continued to release material on Windham Hill as well. He was nominated for Grammys for Best New Age Performance for his albums Castalia (1988) and Tibet (1989), and finally won for 1990's Mark Isham. In 1992, Isham premiered his first commissioned orchestral work, Five Stories for Trumpet and Orchestra, with the St. Louis Symphony, also serving as the soloist. The same year, he was nominated for an Academy Award for his score for A River Runs Through It, which increased Hollywood's demand for his services even further; among his highest-profile assignments in the years to come were Short Cuts, Quiz Show, Kiss the Girls, Blade, the Grammy nominated Men of Honor, Save the Last Dance, Don't Say a Word, Life as a House, and The Majestic. Isham also won an Emmy for his scoring work on the television show EZ Streets, and earned nominations for Chicago Hope and Nothing Sacred. In 1995, Isham released his first album for Columbia, Blue Sun, which found him moving into full-fledged contemporary jazz. He continued in that direction with his next non-soundtrack project, the In a Silent Way tribute/reinterpretation of Miles Remembered: The Silent Way Project, issued in 1999.