Sunday, February 25, 2018

Oscar Winner Predictions: Best Original Score

The competition: Dunkirk (Hans Zimmer), Phantom Thread (Jonny Greenwood), The Shape of Water (Alexandre Desplat), Star Wars: The Last Jedi (John Williams), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Carter Burwell)

Previous winners: La La Land, The Hateful Eight, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Gravity, Life of Pi, The Artist, The Social Network
My winner: Announcing shortly after the Oscars!

The facts: This category contains three bigwigs and two composers who have been doing great things for the past few years. Williams has a momentous fifty previous nominations, with five wins, including for the original “Star Wars” and most recently for “Schindler’s List” in 1993. This is his fifth nomination for a “Star Wars” film, after the original trilogy and “The Force Awakens.” Zimmer has eleven nominations and one win, for “The Lion King.” Desplat has eight previous nominations and one win, for “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” This is Burwell’s second bid, after “Carol” in 2015, and Greenwood’s first, though his “There Will Be Blood” score would likely have been nominated in 2007 if it had been deemed eligible. In the past two decades, this award has gone to a film not nominated for Best Picture only three times. At the International Film Music Critics Association Awards this year, “Phantom Thread” beat “The Shape of Water” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” for Score of the Year. “The Shape of Water” has won the Golden Globe, the BAFTA, and the Critics’ Choice Award,

Who should win: I can’t quite understand why Williams is able to be nominated for what is essentially an adapted score in “The Last Jedi,” though upon listening to it, I did find it to be quite compelling and exciting, especially since, unlike so many reboots, the music doesn’t stray too far from the classic melodies and sounds like it with enough new cues to make it a bit different. The other four truly capture and define their films’ spirits. “Dunkirk” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” all both deliberately paced and stylized for their stories. “Phantom Thread” is melodic and in keeping with its film’s slow-paced beauty. “The Shape of Water” sounds like the fairy tale that it is, and therefore that’s my pick.

Who will win: While I’m sure that “Dunkirk” and “Phantom Thread” have their fans, there seems to be enough of a consensus that The Shape of Water should take this without too much trouble.

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