Wednesday, March 24, 2010

One Category at a Time: Best Original Score (and Song)

I'm not going to spend too much time umm-ing and uhh-ing over these categories (especially Song which is impossible to predict in advance). Without having heard a note of music yet, there's not a lot to go by, but name recognition goes a long way with the music branch. Here are some names I wouldn't be surprised to hear discussed as possible nominees:

Hans Zimmer returned to the Oscar scene for the first time in nine years for his flashy rhythms in Sherlock Holmes. He could be in the mix again if Christopher Nolan's Inception takes off. The music branch may not have gone for Zimmer's work on Nolan's The Dark Knight, but a large part of that had to do with the fact that he co-wrote it with James Newton Howard, and after an initial idiotic disqualification (which was eventually rescinded), the damage was already done. He's composing Inception on his own, so his odds are automatically better.

Speaking of James Newton Howard, he may be in play as well for M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender. He's a frequent nominee, but eternally win-less it seems. Having managed to muster a nod for Shyamalan's poorly received The Villiage, not to mention several other bad films, I'd say the questionable quality of The Last Airbender is moot. Hopefully, it'll actually be good, and Howard's chances will be that much better, but even if the film tanks, never count him out.

Another perennial contender is Alexandre Desplat, often in the hunt simply because of how many movies he scores every year. He's easily the most prolific composer in the biz today, running the gamut from serious drama to comedy to animation to crappy teen horror/romance (you know the one I'm talking about). He has at least four coming out this year, and the horse I'm betting on his Terrance Malick's The Tree of Life, simply because the film may be a major awards contender. Or it could be something else, or (heaven forbid!) nothing at all! We'll just have to wait and see.

As for Dario Marianelli and Eat, Pray, Love, there's really no rhyme nor reason for me to think this one. It's more likely we'll have at least one first-time nominee, but you can never predict who that'll be. Consider this a placeholder for some unforeseen surprise contender.

It took Pixar 10 tries, but they finally won this category with Michael Giacchino's wistful melodies for Up. Can they keep the streak alive with Toy Story 3? I have doubts about the potential success of this movie, especially with Academy voters who may think a third Toy Story film is one too many, no matter how good the first two were. Still, Randy Newman is always a safe bet with the music branch, as his 19 nominations attest. If he also writes an original song for this one, as he has the previous two, consider it a possibility.

While we're on the topic of original songs, the only musical I can see on the horizon this year is Disney's holiday release Tangled, an animated adaptation of Rapunzel featuring an original song score by the one-and-only Alan Menken, one of my all-time favourite composers! The music branch loves him, and for good reason. Whether his work is brilliant (Beauty and the Beast) or only good (Enchanted), this genius melody writer is always in the running for multiple Original Song nominations.

I'll also briefly mention My Own Love Song, whose trailer looks shamefully baity, but advertises music by Bob Dylan, a previous winner for Original Song. Maybe he has another one in the works.

Predicted 5 (Score):
Eat, Pray, Love
The Last Airbender
Toy Story 3
The Tree of Life

Also consider: Gustavo Santaolalla for Biutiful, Alexandre Desplat for Harry Potter, Hans Zimmer for How Do You Know?, Alexandre Desplat for The Special Relationship, Carter Burwell for True Grit, Burkhard von Dallwitz for The Way Back.

Predictions (Song):
My Own Love Song
Toy Story 3


Amir said...

i have really high hopes for 'the tree of life'.
terrence malick is one of my most favorite directors of all time and i think all four of his past movies are masterpieces.
as you said in the other post though, the academy might end up ignoring the film, but i hope at least alexandre desplat finally wins an oscar for this.
he's so deserving, and malick's films always have good music.

The Oscar Nazi said...

A win for Desplat would be nice, but I think I'll wait until I hear the score before saying whether or not he deserves it.

Amir said...

oh yeah, obviously.
i didn't mean to say he deserves to to win for this film,
i was just meaning to say that his filmography is rich and he deserves to have an oscar.
i'll be glad if he wins for anything as good as the painted veil, lust caution, or a prophet, be it this film or another one.

The Oscar Nazi said...

This is true.