Music is its own special brand of craft and artistry, and this year’s nominees for Original Score and Original Song boast a fascinating array of talent and style. Let’s take a closer look at the music categories where veterans and first timers vie for Academy Awards.
Since 2000, only two films have won Original Score without being nominated for Best Picture. They were The Hateful Eight in 2015, and Frida in 2002. This is good news for Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross for Mank, and Emile Mosseri for Minari. And Reznor & Ross are very likely to come away winners this year, but not for Mank. The work they did for Soul, alongside co-nominee Jon Batiste, has had an incredible run up to the Oscars. While Pixar’s work didn’t land a Best Picture nomination, it did manage three, which is rare for an animated film. With wins at BAFTA, the Golden Globes, the Annie Awards, and the Society of Composers and Lyricists, the trio will very likely take home their Academy Awards for Original Score.
Predicted to Win: Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, and Jon Batiste, Soul
Could Win: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, Mank
One of the toughest contests to predict this year is undoubtedly Original Song. Without any big musicals in the mix — unless you count Eurovision Song Contest — and no Disney players either, this batch is tough. If you haven’t taken the chance to listen to this year’s nominees for Original Song, you can find the official videos below.
Twelve-time nominee Diane Warren is looking for her first Oscar for “Io Sì” from The Life Ahead.
Best Supporting Actor nominee Leslie Odom, Jr. also shares a song nomination with Sam Ashworth for “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami.
Daniel Pemberton missed out on Original Score for The Trial of the Chicago 7, but the end credits collaboration with Celeste, “Hear My Voice,” didn’t go unnoticed.
Another group of first-time nominees, H.E.R., D’Mile, and Tiara Thomas are hoping to win gold with their song “Fight for You” from Judas and the Black Messiah.
And then there is “Husavik – My Home Town,” by Savan Kotecha, Fat Max Gsus and Rickard Göransson for Eurovision Song Contest.
This is a tough call to make. These are all good songs with good narratives attached to them. Between the first time nominees, the desire to finally turn Diane Warren into an Oscar winner, and the entire town of Husavik, Iceland campaigning for this one award, it’s especially hard to say which will most easily connect with voters. Only “Husavik” is integral to the plot of its film, which is what the Original Song contest is supposed to be about. It’s beautiful and heartwarming, and while it’s no “Jaja Ding Dong,” people love it. But then, none of the five have been pervasive on the airwaves or among awards shows as we’ve seen in past years, making this the biggest guessing game of the night.
Predicted to Win: “Husavic” from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga; Music and Lyric by Savan Kotecha, Fat Max Gsus and Rickard Göransson
Could Win: “Io Sì” from The Life Ahead; Music by Diane Warren; Lyric by Diane Warren and Laura Pausini