Oscar Circuit: Best Original Score

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Steven Price – Gravity

This is the first Oscar nomination for British composer Steven Price, who was recently tapped to score Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man.  (Despite what IMDb’s awards tab for Price says, he did not win a Grammy for Best Album for Adele’s 21; rather, that was Steve Price–no “n”).  As I mentioned earlier, first-time nominees tend to do extremely well in Best Score.  Additionally, Price has won Best Score award from the Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association, Austin Film Critics Association, Broadcast Film Critics Association, and–most importantly–the Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music from the BAFTAs.  Despite his Globe loss to the Oscar-snubbed score of All Is Lost, Price is looking good to win the Oscar this year, underscored by the fact that none of his co-nominees have won a major award in 2013.

What’s great about Price’s Gravity score is how it can be both immersive and so delicate that you hardly notice it.  Many times, the score is the star of the film, like during both satellite disasters.  The score drives Gravity by helping to build excitement and to reflect Dr. Ryan Stone’s despair.  When the score disappears in key moments, the complete and utter loneliness of space is magnified tenfold, which, believe it or not, if a compliment to Price’s work!  Personally, I enjoy the combination of electronic and strings that creates an almost mechanical mania during the disaster sequences.  Perhaps one strike against this score, though, is that many think it was too distracting.  However, oftentimes the most noticeable score wins in this category.