Best Original Score Predictions

Current Predictions (10/13/11):
John Williams, War Horse
Alexandre Desplat, The Ides of March
Ludovic Bource, The Artist
Alberto Iglesias, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Hans Zimmer, Rango

Best Score Notes: Where 2011 has the potential to be the “year of Spielberg” in most categories, the Original Score category also has potential to be the “year of Alexandre Desplat.” What with three viable pieces in contention, there’s no reason to believe the four-time nominee isn’t on the fast track for a win. That is except for the fact that none of his scores may actually stand out amongst the crowd. Tree of Life was beautiful but it wasn’t necessarily driving or stand out. Additionally, with a major amount of mixed formats, there is a good chance this one will be disqualified. The score for Harry Potter will probably be seen as “been there, done that” seeing as it’s riffing on already established themes. A solid score, but not a particularly memorable one. That leaves Ides of March. Personally, I adored the music. Yes, it’s over the top and leading, but that’s precisely what the film called for. Like the best noir films, the music strengthened the narrative by working with it’s intentions. Will voters find it too trite? I fear they might.

I strongly doubt (or at least strongly hope) that John Williams will double up on nominations, thus giving him 47 nominations for his career.  It’s not that I have any issues with Williams (surely his scores are some of the most memorable ever) but his music rarely surprises me anymore. If he doesn’t do something spectacular then one can only hope that he share the wealth a little. The question will hinge, like in so many categories, on how much people fall in love with Spielberg’s two late 2011 releases – War Horse and The Adventures of Tintin. I have a sense that War Horse will have more readily accessible music than Tintin. Look for Williams to get in for the more sweeping sound.

The Artist is going to be virtually carried by it’s music. The movie will be anchored by the ebbs and flows of its rythym from the opening credits to the closing credits. With such a present musical quality, I doubt the Academy will be able to pass this one up. If The Artist really blows up the way many anticipate then this might be an easy victory for Ludovic Bource come awards night. If any score could be called a favorite at this point, this one would be it.

Hans Zimmer has a lot of Oscar love and his scores, unlike Williams’, are always daring and exciting. He seems to be taking more chances as his fame increases. Rango was surprising in almost every way, not least of which it’s adult score. The music was fun, suspenseful, and always very amusing. I don’t think Zimmer wins but there are too many gems on the Rango soundtrack for voters to leave it off altogether.

The final spot could go to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo or it could go to Alberto Iglesias for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Reznor has the name recognition and the score will no doubt be incredibly innovative. The few cuts that have already surfaced have that same Raznor bite while beginning to tell a wholly different story. Reznor’s knack for narrative specifics is impressive for an untrained composer. However, Reznor  and Ross won last for The Social Network. With it’s dark undertones, look for Dragon Tattoo to be seen as more of the same by voters. The fact that they went so dark once was probably enough of a stretch to last them a few years. Iglesias’ score doesn’t seem any less dark but it’s at least fresh and somewhat regal. There will be a startling sense of tension in the music that will be hard to pass up. Either choice would be a great one but I’m going Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy for now.

Good Bets:
John Williams, War Horse
Ludovic Bource, The Artist

Strong Possibilities:
Alexander Desplat, The Ides of March
Alberto Iglesias, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Hans Zimmer, Rango
Trent Reznor + Atticus Ross, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Nico Muhly, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Hans Zimmer, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Howard Shore, Hugo
John Williams, The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
Thomas Newman, The Help
Howard Shore, A Dangerous Method

Wishful Thinking:
Alexandre Desplat, The Tree of Life (word on the street is it will get disqualified)
Mark Isham, Warrior
Jonny Greenwood, We Need to Talk About Kevin

Bad Bets:
Jónsi, We Bought a Zoo
Mychael Danna, Moneyball
Alexander Desplat, A Better Life
Michael Giacchino, Super 8
Alexandre Desplat, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt 2
Cliff Martinez, Contagion

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