Oscar Circuit: Best Original Score

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Oscar Predictions

Jóhann JóhannssonOur annual look at the individual Oscar categories. If you miss a piece, click on the tag titled Oscar Circuit 2015. You can also see the official Oscar Predictions page for Best Original Score.

The Nominees Are:

  • Alexandre Desplat, The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Alexandre Desplat, The Imitation Game
  • Johann Johannssen, The Theory of Everything
  • Gary Yershon, Mr. Turner
  • Hans Zimmer, Interstellar

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Alexandre Desplat, The Grand Budapest Hotel

The first of Desplat’s two nominated scores is The Grand Budapest Hotel, which had an extremely strong showing with AMPAS so it’s no surprise the score was nominated. Desplat and Wes Anderson have had many wonderful collaborations and lots of people feel this score is their best. The music, much like the film, gets to move between frenetic pacing and whimsical movements, to more serious beats. If I had to put money on a score to upset in this category, this would be it.

Equation to the Nomination: Choose Your Own Adventure: Desplat score edition Part 1+ Best Picture heat + whimsy and serious issues

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the-imitation-game-whysoblu-3Alexandre Desplat, The Imitation Game

The second of Desplat’s two scores sees him dealing with a much more traditional film with The Imitation Game and the score is very much in line with traditional compositions. Unlike with TGBH, The Imitation Game is much more slick and polished, with the music helping to build on the tension and high emotions (especially the last few tracks).

Equation to the Nomination: Choose Your Own Adventure: Desplat score edition Part 2+ Best Picture heat + serious emotions and tension

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Theory-of-Everything-bannerJohann Johannssen, The Theory of Everything

The man with the similar sounding first and last names, Johann Johannssen, has managed to become the front runner in this category in almost too easy a fashion. The score, in my opinion, is just ok, but it has won several major prizes, including the Golden Globe, one of the few televised chances for composers to be known to the public. With this movie likely to net a Best Actor prize and possibly screenplay, it has certainly been watched by many of the voters, which could help secure the win.

Equation to Nomination: Best Picture nominee + Eddie Redmayne’s Best Actor hopes + nice mix of sweeping orchestral music and simpler tracks + Golden Globe win

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Mr Turner Mike Leigh Petworth 1_905Gary Yershon, Mr. Turner

The only score on this list I’ve yet to hear in full, Yershon seems to have reached this nomiantion in a variety of ways from the Academy liking the technical aspects of Mr. Turner a lot more than we thought they would and the fact that this is his third well regarded turn with Mike Leigh. One of the big things to note is the score’s orchestration, which is a lot simpler than the other nominees in this category, making it stand out amongst the field.

Equation to the Nomination: Unique orchestration + length of the movie (aka MOST music) + narrative for 1st nomination

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interstellar_aHans Zimmer, Interstellar

Of the scores nominated this year, Zimmer’s magnificent work for Interstellar is the only score I’ve come back to listen to time and time again. The music is incredibly epic in production as well as emotional value; you can recall specific moments in the film just by the musical phrases. I don’t think Zimmer will take this prize as the film wasn’t nominated many places and there’s been a lot of controversy surrounding the sound.

Equation to the Nomination: Name recognition + LOUD orchestral music + controversy about said loudness + quality of compositions

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Will Win: Johann Johansson, The Theory of Everything

Should Win: Hans Zimmer, Interstellar

Should Have Been Nominated: Mica Levi, Under the Skin