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Oscars 2012 Update: Best Original Score

Hooray, more Oscar stuff.

I’ve been patiently awaiting all of the guilds to announce. We’re almost a month away from Oscar nominations, so I’m looking for all the little things to tide me over until they’re announced. At least with the guilds, I can use them to be like, “So is this what they’re gonna nominate?” They haven’t even announced BAFTA yet.

But until then — I have another “shortlist,” if that’s what we’re calling it. Apparently 97 scores have qualified to be nominated for Best Original Score. I really have no better way to do this, so I’m just gonna list them all and then read through them all as I do. And then I’ll immediately throw off the absolute “never gonna happens,” which will probably be a good, I don’t know, two-thirds, hopefully, and then from there, gauge each one’s chances. Hopefully I’ll be able to whittle it down to “strong contender, definite, possible, long shit” lists. Let’s see what we get.

Here’s a list of all 97 eligible scores:

(Oh, also, if you see one crossed out, that means it’ll never happen in a million years.)

“The Adventures of Tintin,” John Williams, composer
“African Cats,” Nicholas Hooper, composer
“Albert Nobbs,” Brian Byrne, composer
“Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked,” Mark Mothersbaugh, composer
“Anonymous,” Thomas Wander and Harald Kloser, composers
“Another Earth,” Phil Mossman and Will Bates, composers
“Answers to Nothing,” Craig Richey, composer
“Arthur Christmas,” Harry Gregson-Williams, composer
“The Artist,” Ludovic Bource, composer

“@urFRENZ,” Lisbeth Scott, composer
“Atlas Shrugged Part 1,” Elia Cmiral, composer
“Battle: Los Angeles,” Brian Tyler, composer
“Beastly,” Marcelo Zarvos, composer
“The Big Year,” Theodore Shapiro, composer
“Captain America: The First Avenger,” Alan Silvestri, composer
“Cars 2,” Michael Giacchino, composer
“Cedar Rapids,” Christophe Beck, composer
“Conan the Barbarian,” Tyler Bates, composer
“The Conspirator,” Mark Isham, composer
“Contagion,” Cliff Martinez, composer
“Coriolanus,” Ilan Eshkeri, composer
“DAM999,” Ousepachan, composer
“The Darkest Hour,” Tyler Bates, composer
“The Debt,” Thomas Newman, composer
“Dolphin Tale,” Mark Isham, composer
“Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark,” Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders, composers
“Dream House,” John Debney, composer
“The Eagle,” Atli Orvarsson, composer
“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,” Alexandre Desplat, composer
“Fast Five,” Brian Tyler, composer
“The First Grader,” Alex Heffes, composer
“The Flowers of War,” Qigang Chen, composer
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, composers
“The Greatest Miracle,” Mark McKenzie, composer
“Green Lantern,” James Newton Howard, composer
“Hanna,” Tom Rowlands, composer
“Happy Feet Two,” John Powell, composer
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2,” Alexandre Desplat, composer
“The Help,” Thomas Newman, composer
“Hop,” Christopher Lennertz, composer
“Hugo,” Howard Shore, composer
“I Don’t Know How She Does It,” Aaron Zigman, composer
“The Ides of March,” Alexandre Desplat, composer
“Immortals,” Trevor Morris, composer
“In Search of God,” Rupam Sarmah, composer
“In the Land of Blood and Honey,” Gabriel Yared, composer
“In Time,” Craig Armstrong, composer
“Insidious,” Joseph Bishara, composer
“The Iron Lady,” Thomas Newman, composer
“J. Edgar,” Clint Eastwood, composer
“Jane Eyre,” Dario Marianelli, composer
“The Lady,” Eric Serra, composer
“Like Crazy,” Dustin O’Halloran, composer
“Margaret,” Nico Muhly, composer
“Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” Michael Giacchino, composer
“Mr. Popper’s Penguins,” Rolfe Kent, composer
“Moneyball,” Mychael Danna, composer
“Monte Carlo,” Michael Giacchino, composer
“New Year’s Eve,” John Debney, composer
“Norman,” Andrew Bird, composer
“One Day,” Rachel Portman, composer
“Puss in Boots,” Henry Jackman, composer
“Rampart,” Dickon Hinchliffe, composer
“Real Steel,” Danny Elfman, composer
“Rebirth,” Philip Glass, composer
“Red Riding Hood,” Alex Heffes and Brian Reitzell, composers
“Restless,” Danny Elfman, composer
“Rio,” John Powell, composer
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” Patrick Doyle, composer
“The Rite,” Alex Heffes, composer
“The Rum Diary,” Christopher Young, composer
“Sanctum,” David Hirschfelder, composer
“Sarah’s Key,” Max Richter, composer
“Senna,” Antonio Pinto, composer
“Shame,” Harry Escott, composer
“The Skin I Live In,” Alberto Iglesias, composer
“The Smurfs,” Heitor Pereira, composer
“Snow Flower and the Secret Fan,” Rachel Portman, composer
“Super 8,” Michael Giacchino, composer
“Take Shelter,” David Wingo, composer
“The Thing,” Marco Beltrami, composer
“Thor,” Patrick Doyle, composer
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” Alberto Iglesias, composer
“Tower Heist,” Christophe Beck, composer
“W.E.,” Abel Korzeniowski, composer
“War Horse,” John Williams, composer
“Warrior,” Mark Isham, composer
“Water for Elephants,” James Newton Howard, composer
“The Way,” Tyler Bates, composer
“We Bought a Zoo,” Jon Thor Birgisson, composer
“We Need to Talk about Kevin,” Jonny Greenwood, composer
“Win Win,” Lyle Workman, composer
“Winnie the Pooh,” Henry Jackman, composer
“X-Men: First Class,” Henry Jackman, composer
“Young Adult,” Rolfe Kent, composer
“Your Highness,” Steve Jablonsky, composer

That was quite a few. There are even more I can take off, but I want to explain myself for them. So what we’re gonna do now, is go and, from that list, take off the ones I think are really, really, really longshots to make it on. And either you’ll understand instinctively why, or I’ll tell you why.

“Anonymous,” Thomas Wander and Harald Kloser, composers — because it’s not a bigger film, and the score would have to be really, really good in order to make it on. I’d call it a 2% chance that this gets on, without hearing a bar of music. Of course, if the score is solid, the percentage is higher. But we’re a ways out, and I’m pretty sure there’s a guild for this that’ll announce and make all our lives easier. Now is literally paring down from gut reaction.

“Another Earth,” Phil Mossman and Will Bates, composers — Because I don’t know how much of a score this is. I certainly don’t remember one. So it’s probably low key and indie, which usually is not the way to get nominated in this category.

“Arthur Christmas,” Harry Gregson-Williams, composer — animated films always have a shot, but I don’t think this is classy enough to get nominated.

“The Conspirator,” Mark Isham, composer — it has no intangibles. If it gets on, it’s because the score is great. For other films (The Help), they have a better chance just being who they are. It’s kind of like trying to break into Hollywood and being a poor black woman, or being the child of a famous director. You know?

“Contagion,” Cliff Martinez, composer — I don’t remember a score, to be honest with out. Films like this generally don’t have Oscar-nominated scores.

“Coriolanus,” Ilan Eshkeri, composer — basing it solely on the film.

“The First Grader,” Alex Heffes, composer — no idea what this is. But I’ve seen it pop up somewhere, which is why I gave it some chance. Still, highly doubtful.

“Hanna,” Tom Rowlands, composer — loved the film, no idea what the score is. I’d assume it to be a never, but I really liked the film, so, that bumped it to here. Still, almost no shot. (Oh wait, The Chemical Brothers did this. No way this will ever get nominated. Oscar doesn’t do stuff like this at all.)

“The Lady,” Eric Serra, composer — I’ve heard of the film, which is why I won’t entirely discount it. But I’d say this is a 1/200 chance that this gets on.

“Margaret,” Nico Muhly, composer — just because I know nothing about it. This could be a random nomination that gets on there. I doubt it, but I’ll at least mention it, just because I know the film is sort of hanging around in relative obscurity, but also relative acclaim from some people.

“Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” Michael Giacchino, composer — again, sometimes action films, but this is #4 in the series. If any film that’s several into a franchise is going to be nominated, it’s Potter. Giacchino holds weight, but not for this.

“Puss in Boots,” Henry Jackman, composer — not the kind of film that normally gets nominated. I’d be shocked if this got on.

“Real Steel,” Danny Elfman, composer — I liked this score, but I don’t think it’ll get on. It’s not flashy enough for them. Plus there are a lot of actual songs in the film. That hurts its chances quite a bit.

“Take Shelter,” David Wingo, composer — indie. Highly unlikely, but has to be mentioned. There is a nice bit of score at the end. I do remember that. So, that gives this some kind of chance. Not a great one, but something.

“Warrior,” Mark Isham, composer — just because the film has been popping up in weird places, awards-wise. Other than that, I’d say absolutely no chance in hell.

“Water for Elephants,” James Newton Howard, composer — Period piece. There’s always a chance. I haven’t heard it, so I don’t know. I’m assuming not, based on pedigree alone.

“We Need to Talk about Kevin,” Jonny Greenwood, composer — I don’t remember a score. It’s possible, but highly unlikely.

“Winnie the Pooh,” Henry Jackman, composer — again, lovely film, and animated films generally can get on, but usually that’s either Disney or Pixar, and high profile Disney or Pixar. This is not high profile.

“X-Men: First Class,” Henry Jackman, composer — sometimes an action film gets on, so there’s always a chance. But — a sequel, and a score that I’m guessing is just standard action — longer than long shot.

“Young Adult,” Rolfe Kent, composer — just because, do you remember a score? That and Reitman’s films have never really been “score” films. So this is a really long shot, close to zero.

– – – – –

So that stuff’s off. What are we left with?

“The Adventures of Tintin,” John Williams, composer
“Albert Nobbs,” Brian Byrne, composer
“The Artist,” Ludovic Bource, composer

“Cars 2,” Michael Giacchino, composer
“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,” Alexandre Desplat, composer
“The Flowers of War,” Qigang Chen, composer
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, composers
“Happy Feet Two,” John Powell, composer
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2,” Alexandre Desplat, composer
“The Help,” Thomas Newman, composer
“Hugo,” Howard Shore, composer
“The Ides of March,” Alexandre Desplat, composer
“In the Land of Blood and Honey,” Gabriel Yared, composer
“The Iron Lady,” Thomas Newman, composer
“J. Edgar,” Clint Eastwood, composer
“Jane Eyre,” Dario Marianelli, composer
“Moneyball,” Mychael Danna, composer
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” Patrick Doyle, composer
“Shame,” Harry Escott, composer
“The Skin I Live In,” Alberto Iglesias, composer
“Super 8,” Michael Giacchino, composer
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” Alberto Iglesias, composer
“W.E.,” Abel Korzeniowski, composer
“War Horse,” John Williams, composer
“We Bought a Zoo,” Jon Thor Birgisson, composer
“Win Win,” Lyle Workman, composer

26. Not bad. Took off 70.

Well, let’s be practical about this.

Cars 2 and Happy Feet are sequels. The first movies in both franchises did not get nominated for score. So they’re off. The Flowers of War — that just seems like one of those random films that gets on. I don’t know if it will, but I guess I’ll take it off until someone else nominates it. Either Land of Blood and Honey or W.E. got nominated for Score at the Globes. I think it was W.E., and I think that was because of Madonna. So let’s just throw off both until someone else decides to nominate it. The Skin I Live In — I doubt it. They usually don’t go for thrillers if it’s a foreign language film score. And Win Win is indie. I know it’s got some people championing it, but if anything that’s like an Original Song nominee. Personally I don’t see it getting any nominations at all. So let’s take that off too. And Shame — yeah, I don’t think that’s got much of a score to be nominated for. That’s just a blind guess. So now let’s see what we got:

“The Adventures of Tintin,” John Williams, composer
“Albert Nobbs,” Brian Byrne, composer
“The Artist,” Ludovic Bource, composer

“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,” Alexandre Desplat, composer
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, composers
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2,” Alexandre Desplat, composer
“The Help,” Thomas Newman, composer
“Hugo,” Howard Shore, composer
“The Ides of March,” Alexandre Desplat, composer
“The Iron Lady,” Thomas Newman, composer
“J. Edgar,” Clint Eastwood, composer
“Jane Eyre,” Dario Marianelli, composer
“Moneyball,” Mychael Danna, composer
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” Patrick Doyle, composer
“Super 8,” Michael Giacchino, composer
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” Alberto Iglesias, composer
“War Horse,” John Williams, composer
“We Bought a Zoo,” Jon Thor Birgisson, composer

18 scores. Doable.

Also, I can tell you right now: The Artist is on. Tintin and/or War Horse is on. No way they don’t nominate John Williams. Hugo is on. Dragon Tattoo, probably on. Reznor won this two years ago, and they’d have to really be feeling buyers remorse to not nominate him again. So that’s either your entire category or 4 nominees right there. Probably. With such a relatively tight area for other nominees, you can probably throw off some of the weaker ones left, like We Bought a Zoo, Albert Nobbs, Super 8, Jane Eyre — it’s a pretty strong year for scores in relation to other Oscars. Then again, maybe I’m putting too much emphasis on film first, score second. Maybe I should listen to them. We’ll see. I won’t do it now. It’s like 3 am here.

Let’s stick with — those are all the shortlisted scores, and I can pretty much guarantee you with about 90% accuracy that all five nominated film scores will come from that abbreviated list of 18 at the bottom. That’s a start.

(P.S. No Drive or Tree of Life. The Academy is pickier about eligibility than a vegan at a barbecue.)

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One response

  1. Yasha

    I suggest you listen to Alex’s The First Grader. You will be pleasantly surprised

    December 25, 2011 at 4:29 am

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