Oscar Predictions For Best Original Score

The 95th Oscars ceremony is approaching, and there is some tough competition this time around. I looked into the Best Original Score nominees, watched each of them, and re-listened to the scores from beginning to end. Here are my thoughts and predictions, starting with the most likely to win.

1.“Everything Everywhere All at Once,” composed by Son Lux 

Courtesy of A24.

I may be biased for placing this movie first in my predictions. However, just like the film itself, the score was something I had never experienced before. It is chaotic, whimsical, heart wrenching and beautiful. The fact that Son Lux was able to get Mitski in the soundtrack was a huge deal because her high-pitched vocals meshed perfectly with the intense scenes in the movie (such as songs like “This is a Life”). The film itself is known to be one of the most dynamic in, well, forever. So in that case, the score had to live up to its potential. The film is split into three sections: everything, everywhere and all at once. The score splits perfectly into thirds, and you can tell by just listening to it on its own. It’s an intimidating score, being at 49 songs, but it never loses itself. In fact, you can hear repetitions throughout it for the sake of cohesion. For example, “Clair de Lune” can be heard in both “Deirdre Fight” and  “My Life Without You.” Being able to compose a score as complex as this film is an accomplishment on its own. So winning definitely doesn’t seem too far fetched for Son Lux and “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”

2. “All Quiet on the Western Front,” composed by Volker Bertelmann

Courtesy of Netflix.

This score is eerie for this film, which is something I am always into. I love the heavy brass and percussion aligning with a typical war-centered movie, but in this case, Bertelsmann put a twist on it from his own life and influences. In an interview with Variety, he said the influence for this score was his mother and the “head-banging element” of Led Zeppelin. You can really see this classic rock-esque tone with songs like “Last Combat.” In the movie itself, the music squeezes its way into scenes between the midst of gunshots and war, which allows the movie and score to both speak for themselves at times. This balance between modern and classic, as well as the juxtaposition between silence and uproar leads me to believe “All Quiet on the Western Front” is a close second in the race to win the Best Original Score award. It’s also worth mentioning this film won the BAFTA Award for this exact category. 

3. “Babylon,” composed by Justin Hurwitz

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

Justin Hurwitz took a Golden Globe home on Jan. 10 for “Babylon,” so I might be wrong for putting this in the middle of my list. Hurwitz has worked on other films with reputable scores, such as “La La Land” (2016) and “Whiplash” (2014). I just really didn’t think it exceeded my expectations compared to the two proceeding on my list. Other than more upbeat songs like “Coke Room,” I don’t believe there was enough variety in terms of instruments and sounds. The film is based on the importance of music and jazz, so I expected to hear a modern and innovative spin on 1920s music. And while Hurwitz said in an interview with Variety that he took influences from EDM (which you can hear in “Call Me Manny”), I do believe there could have been more — the EDM-driven songs seem almost too cohesive. Maybe the score just wasn’t my cup of tea.

4. “The Fablemans,” composed by John Williams

Courtesy of Universal Pictures.

The score of this film is drastically shorter than the other nominees, and sometimes it is beneficial to pack a punch in a shorter soundtrack. John Williams is 91, so he has plenty of years of experience and knows what he’s doing. He has created wonderful scores in the past for movies like “Jaws” (1975) and “Saving Private Ryan” (1998). Part of me wants Williams to win just because he has most likely influenced all of these composers at some point in their careers. The score of “The Fablemans” says so much by barely saying anything at all — it has a very retro, classical feel which I admire. But there are no orchestral sounds, making it a fairly quiet yet peaceful score throughout. While I do believe this is an exquisite and seamless score, I don’t think it is as innovative as the rest, leading me to place it at number four. 

5. “Banshees of Inisherin,” composed by Carter Burwell 

Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures.

It pains me to put this last. Making this list was way harder than I thought. The score just wasn’t what I expected for a movie with such Irish influence. Dare I say it was a bit boring? Burwell said he didn’t want to make the score predictable, so he took influence from Indonesian gamelan and Bulgarian music instead of Irish folk music. From most reviews, I read about this score, and even from my own thoughts, the score seemed childlike. I do think it has depth to it, and there is a great thought process behind why Burwell took this route, but I don’t think he delivered enough to win the category against his competitors. 

The 95th Academy Awards ceremony will take place at 8 p.m. EST on March 12 and will be streaming live on ABC.

By Amena Ahmed

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