OSCAR FORECAST: Best Original Score 2013

Best Original Score Predictions (as of 10-31-12):
, John Williams 
Argo, Alexandre Desplat
Cloud Atlas, Tom Twyker/Reinhold Heil

Life of Pi, Mychael Danna
Anna Karenina, Dario Marianelli

Every year Oscar contenders come and go, but one constant remains: John Williams. Coming off his 45th and 46th nominations last year, with Lincoln he’s ripe to pick up another. Lincoln has all the scope that Williams has made his forte, while also possessing seriousness, a darker undercurrent if you will, that reflects the psychological conditions that the film takes on. From what I’ve hear, this seems like a slightly toned back iteration on his familiar conceits. Williams has a penchant for the sappy, though voters never seem to care all too much. Lincoln gives Williams an opportunity to do something slightly different. Slightly edgier. He hasn’t won since 1993. As of today, I’d bet this will be his year again.

Cloud Atlas’score is nothing short of a masterpiece. There are running threads, such as the haunting pinwheel sounds, that weave through each song, creating a varied, but integrated, quilt; much like the movie itself. The film plays like a grand musical composition, with uplifting undertones and dark corners. The score reflects all the inventive concepts while being inventive on its own. To me, great music doesn’t simply reinforce what the scenes are already giving us. Listening to a score should provide an imaginary story that runs parallel to the motion picture. Cloud Atlas best defines this approach. I could see this one being left out if the voters are sour on the movie. Bad box office numbers have the potential to hurt, too. There’s so much imagination here that it would be an awful snub.

Alexandre Desplat doesn’t seem to ever stop working. This year he has numerous films, such as Moonrise Kingdom, Rise of the Guardians, and Rust and Bone, in the running for Best Original Score. It feels like blasphemy to say that I find him a tad boring, but alas, I do. Not that I didn’t find the scores for Argo and Kingdom to be very fitting for the movies, or to create the moods effectively, but that nothing new ever seems to spawn from his sounds. In contrast to something like Cloud Atlas, Desplat’s work doesn’t surprise me. That said, the composer has a way of being lush and elegant. His sounds are silky. They seep into the edges of his pictures. Because Argo’s a frontrunner and Desplat’s become a household name, this one will likely get in.

My favorite score from last year was Mychael Danna’s probing work in Moneyball. Like the cinematography of that film, I thought the score elevated what could have easily been a standard baseball movie. Life of Pi looks like a favorite to pick up multiple tech awards. If it plays as strongly as people think then this will be a sure bet. Similarly, Karenina’s lavish design and music might get attention even if the film as a whole gets pushed to the side. Both Life of Pi and Anna Karenina could be knocked out here, but for now they are each solid bets.

There’s no point in trying to guess all the strange rules and restrictions that might disqualify some scores. Because of the There Will Be Blood debacle, many are writing off Jonny Greenwood’s music for The Master. Honestly, even if eligible, Greenwood’s work will likely be considered too esoteric, or otherwise off-the-cuff, to compete.The dark horse in this category will be previous winner Gustavo Santaolella
 for his complex, elegiacal tunes in On The Road. If the Academy goes “different” they tend to go for these kinds of exotic flavors.Also look out for Zero Dark Thirty (also Desplat), Skyfall, and The Impossible.

Safe Bets:
, John Williams 
Argo, Alexandre Desplat

Strong Possibilities:
Cloud Atlas, Tom Twyker/Reinhold Heil

Anna Karenina, Dario Marianelli
Life of Pi, Mychael Danna

Other Possibilities:
Silver Linings Playbook, Danny Elfman

The Master, Jonny Greenwood

On the Road, Gustavo Santaolella

Beasts of the Southern Wild, Benh Zeitlin/Dan Romer
Rise of the Guardians, Alexandre Desplat
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Howard Shore
Zero Dark Thirty, Alexandre Desplat
Moonrise Kingdom, Alexandre Desplat
The Impossible, Fernando Velazquez

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4 Responses to OSCAR FORECAST: Best Original Score 2013

  1. Pingback: Variety’s Ten Greatest Scores | YARDS OF GRAPEVINE | Movies, Oscars + More

  2. Sorensen says:

    Howard Shore’s The Hobbit score is clearly the best soundtrack of 2012. Lincoln was good, but it really doesn’t beat The Hobbit in this race… not even close.

  3. Cash Advance says:

    impartial view site…

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