Hollywood Contenders – 112 Films are up for Best Original Score

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Late last week, we had another shortlist hit the internet, courtesy of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (or AMPAS, as we all know by now). This one concerned which films were eligible to compete in the Oscar category of Best Original Score. Basically, the Academy decided that 112 movies had scores that met eligibility criteria, so they’re the ones who will be whittled down to the ultimate five Original Score nominees. Obviously, a group as large as this one doesn’t necessarily indicate anything about what Oscar voters might pick, but that won’t stop me from trying to do a bit of analysis, will it? Didn’t think so. So, let’s do it, let’s take a look at the Best Original Score contenders and see what Academy members might be likely to go for…

As a point of reference, here are the most recent winners in the Best Original Score category:

2014 – The Grand Budapest Hotel (Alexandre Desplat)
2013 – Gravity (Steven Price)
2012 – Life of Pi (Mychael Danna)
2011 – The Artist (Ludovic Bource)
2010 – The Social Network (Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross)
2009 – Up (Michael Giacchino)
2008 – Slumdog Millionaire (A.R. Rahman)
2007 – Atonement (Dario Marianelli)
2006 – Babel (Gustavo Santaolalla)
2005 – Brokeback Mountain (Gustavo Santaolalla)
2004 – Finding Neverland (Jan A.P. Kaczmarek)
2003 – The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Howard Shore)
2002 – Frida (Elliot Goldenthal)
2001 – The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Howard Shore)
2000 – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Tan Dun)

Well, as you can see above, it really does help to be a Best Picture nominee when competing in Original Score. Only once since the year 2000 has the winner not been also nominated in Picture. You can get nominations here without Picture, but it’s almost impossible to win. That certainly benefits a handful of 2015 contenders, but it still leaves this as a wide open category, to say the least. Frankly, I think this one is as hard to pin down as any other, especially within the technical fields. As a general rule, the tech categories hold surprises year in and year out, so this one should be no exception.

Even though well over 100 scores are eligible, there’s still some notable ones that aren’t. Love & Mercy and The Revenant are the main snubs here, even if neither were looking like safe bets for nominations either. The latter was more likely than the former, but I was inclined to bet against bother of them, even before this. So, what’s likely to get nominated? Well, right now I hate The Hateful Eight (Ennio Morricone) winning Original Score, with the other nominees being Bridge of Spies (Thomas Newman), Carol (Carter Burwell), The Danish Girl (Alexandre Desplat), and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (John Williams). They’re hardly the only main ones here, and even Burwell could see himself potentially nominated for Anomalisa instead, as just one example. It’s going to be an interesting final five, that’s for sure, so sit tight…

Here are the 112 contenders for Oscar nominations in Best Original Score:

Adult Beginners, Marcelo Zarvos, composer
The Age of Adaline, Rob Simonsen, composer
Altered Minds, Edmund Choi, composer
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip, Mark Mothersbaugh, composer
Anomalisa, Carter Burwell, composer
Ant-Man, Christophe Beck, composer
Beasts of No Nation, Dan Romer, composer
The Big Short, Nicholas Britell, composer
Black Mass, Tom Holkenborg, composer
Bridge of Spies, Thomas Newman, composer
Brooklyn, Michael Brook, composer
Burnt, Rob Simonsen, composer
By the Sea, Gabriel Yared, composer
Carol, Carter Burwell, composer
Cartel Land, H. Scott Salinas and Jackson Greenberg, composers
Chi-Raq, Terence Blanchard, composer
Cinderella, Patrick Doyle, composer
Coming Home, Qigang Chen, composer
Concussion, James Newton Howard, composer
Creed, Ludwig Goransson, composer
The Danish Girl, Alexandre Desplat, composer
The Divergent Series: Insurgent, Joseph Trapanese, composer
Dukhtar, Peter Nashel, composer
The End of the Tour, Danny Elfman, composer
Everest, Dario Marianelli, composer
Ex Machina, Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow, composers
Far From the Madding Crowd, Craig Armstrong, composer
Fifty Shades of Grey, Danny Elfman, composer
5 Flights Up, David Newman, composer
Frame by Frame, Patrick Jonsson, composer
Freedom, James Lavino, composer
Furious 7, Brian Tyler, composer
The Good Dinosaur, Mychael Danna and Jeff Danna, composers
Goosebumps, Danny Elfman, composer
Grandma, Joel P. West, composer
The Hateful Eight, Ennio Morricone, composer
He Named Me Malala, Thomas Newman, composer
Hot Pursuit, Christophe Beck, composer
Hot Tub Time Machine 2, Christophe Beck, composer
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2, James Newton Howard, composer
The Hunting Ground, Miriam Cutler, composer
I Smile Back, Zack Ryan, composer
I’ll See You in My Dreams, Keegan DeWitt, composer
In the Heart of the Sea, Roque Baños, composer
Inside Out, Michael Giacchino, composer
The Intern, Theodore Shapiro, composer
It Follows, Disasterpeace, composer
Jalam, Ouesppachan, composer
Jurassic World, Michael Giacchino, composer
Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, Gabriel Yared, composer
Kingsman: The Secret Service, Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson, composers
Krampus, Douglas Pipes, composer
La Jaula de Oro, Jacobo Lieberman and Leonardo Heiblum, composers
The Lady in the Van, George Fenton, composer
The Last Witch Hunter, Steve Jablonsky, composer
Learning to Drive, Dhani Harrison and Paul Hicks, composers
Legend, Carter Burwell, composer
Little Accidents, Marcelo Zarvos, composer
The Longest Ride, Mark Isham, composer
Mad Max: Fury Road, Tom Holkenborg, composer
The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Daniel Pemberton, composer
The Martian, Harry Gregson-Williams, composer
Max, Trevor Rabin, composer
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, John Paesano, composer
Meru, J. Ralph, composer
Minions, Heitor Pereira, composer
Mr. Holmes, Carter Burwell, composer
Mistress America, Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips, composers
My All American, John Paesano, composer
Nachom-ia Kumpasar, Ronnie Monsorate, composer
99 Homes, Antony Partos and Matteo Zingales, composers
Our Brand Is Crisis, David Wingo, composer
Pan, John Powell, composer
Paper Towns, Son Lux, composer
Paranoid Girls, Javier del Santo, composer
Pawn Sacrifice, James Newton Howard, composer
The Peanuts Movie, Christophe Beck, composer
Pixels, Henry Jackman, composer
Poached, Mark Orton, composer
Pod, Giona Ostinelli, composer
Poltergeist, Marc Streitenfeld, composer
Racing Extinction, J. Ralph, composer
Room, Stephen Rennicks, composer
Salt Bridge, Marciano Telese, composer
San Andreas, Andrew Lockington, composer
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Thomas Newman, composer
Set Fire to the Stars, Gruff Rhys, composer
Shaun the Sheep Movie, Ilan Eshkeri, composer
Sicario, Jóhann Jóhannsson, composer
Southpaw, James Horner, composer
Spectre, Thomas Newman, composer
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, John Debney, composer
Spotlight, Howard Shore, composer
Spy, Theodore Shapiro, composer
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, John Williams, composer
Steve Jobs, Daniel Pemberton, composer
Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans, Jim Copperthwaite, composer
Stonewall, Rob Simonsen, composer
Suffragette, Alexandre Desplat, composer
Taken 3, Nathaniel Mechaly, composer
Ted 2, Walter Murphy, composer
Testament of Youth, Max Richter, composer
The 33, James Horner, composer
Tomorrowland, Michael Giacchino, composer
True Story, Marco Beltrami, composer
Trumbo, Theodore Shapiro, composer
Truth, Brian Tyler, composer
Victor Frankenstein, Craig Armstrong, composer
The Walk, Alan Silvestri, composer
The Water Diviner, David Hirschfelder, composer
Wolf Totem, James Horner, composer
Z for Zachariah, Heather McIntosh, composer

Stay tuned to see which five scores at nominated in Best Original Score at the Academy Awards!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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