77 Film Scores Eligible for Oscar

Those who have followed my posts since this time last year may have noticed that I didn’t write about the endless array of precursor critic awards leading up to the Oscar nominations. Frankly, I got bored and decided to forgo it this season. (I can hear the collective hurrah from here.) Ultimately, for those of us who care about all this awards madness, it all comes down to the Academy’s list. The Academy always posts a press release about the eligible songs, but never the scores. Thankfully, Jon Burlingame over at Variety and numerous bloggers have stepped into the void this year. When the ballots were mailed to Oscar voters last week, 77 film scores were on the “reminder” list. From this list will come this year’s batch of nominees.

As always, some scores had already been officially disqualified. Clint Mansell’s BLACK SWAN was deemed ineligible because of its use of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake as was Carter Burwell’s TRUE GRIT because of its reliance on 19th-century hymns. Burwell’s THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT and Michael Brook’s THE FIGHTER were left out of the running because they were “diluted” by the presence of too many songs. In addition, two popular animated scores–Alan Menken’s TANGLED and Randy Newman’s TOY STORY 3–were not submitted, instead choosing to concentrate on the Best Original Song category, where I fully expect both films to be nominated. Other omissions include Alexandre Desplat’s TAMARA DREWE, which he did not submit for consideration; Theodore Shapiro’s delightful DIARY OF A WIMPY KID; and Danny Elfman’s THE WOLFMAN. (I’m not sure what the story is with the last two.)

As to be expected, the remaining list contains the usual suspects and some head scratchers as well. Like the Song category, the Oscar list for Original Score only lists the film titles, without the composer names, “in an effort to avoid votes for familiar or favorite composers,” says Burlingame. I wonder if other categories are set up this way or if it’s just another ridiculous rule by the Music Branch. Either way, I bet money it doesn’t work at all. I also think it’s insulting to the composers whose work is being recognized and probably wouldn’t mind a publicity boost getting their name in front of the 5,755 voting members of the Academy. Since I don’t have to follow Academy protocol, I’ve listed the composers below.

The only score that I think is a lock for a nomination (and the probable winner) is Hans Zimmer’s INCEPTION. Beyond that, you can make arguments for and against nearly every score on this list. We’ll see what happens on the morning of January 25 when the nominations are announced.

(Thanks to Steve Pond over at The Wrap for publishing the actual list.)

  • THE A-TEAM, Alan Silvestri
  • ALICE IN WONDERLAND, Danny Elfman
  • THE AMERICAN, Herbert Groenemeyer
  • ANIMAL KINGDOM, Antony Partos
  • ANOTHER YEAR, Gary Yershon
  • APAPORIS, Alejandro Ramirez
  • BABIES, Bruno Coulais
  • BARNEY’S VERSION, Pasquale Catalano
  • BIUTIFUL, Gustavo Santaolalla
  • BLACK TULIP, Christopher Young
  • BROOKLYN’S FINEST, Marcelo Zarvos
  • CHARLIE ST. CLOUD, Rolfe Kent
  • THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER, David Arnold
  • CLASH OF THE TITANS, Ramin Djawadi
  • CONVICTION, Paul Cantelon
  • CYRUS, Michael Andrews
  • DAYBREAKERS, Christopher Gordon
  • DESPICABLE ME, Heitor Pereira and Pharrell Williams
  • DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS, Theodore Shapiro
  • EDGE OF DARKNESS, Howard Shore
  • THE EXPENDABLES, Brian Tyler
  • FAIR GAME, John Powell
  • FOR COLORED GIRLS, Aaron Zigman
  • FRANKIE & ALICE, Andrew Lockington
  • GET LOW, Jan A.P. Kaczmarek
  • THE GHOST WRITER, Alexandre Desplat
  • HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART 1, Alexandre Desplat
  • HEREAFTER, Clint Eastwood
  • HOW DO YOU KNOW, Hans Zimmer
  • HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, John Powell
  • HOWL, Carter Burwell
  • THE ILLUSIONIST, Sylvain Chomet
  • INCEPTION, Hans Zimmer
  • INSIDE JOB, Alex Heffes
  • IRON MAN 2, John Debney
  • JUST WRIGHT, Lisa Coleman and Wendy Malvoin
  • THE KARATE KID, James Horner
  • THE KING’S SPEECH, Alexandre Desplat
  • THE LAST AIRBENDER, James Newton Howard
  • LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS: THE OWLS OF GA’HOOLE, David Hirschfelder
  • LET ME IN, Michael Giacchino
  • LOVE & OTHER DRUGS, James Newton Howard
  • MADE IN DAGENHAM, David Arnold
  • MAO’S LAST DANCER, Christopher Gordon
  • MARMADUKE, Christopher Lennertz
  • MIDDLE MEN, Brian Tyler
  • MORNING GLORY, David Arnold
  • MOTHER AND CHILD, Edward Shearmur
  • NEVER LET ME GO, Rachel Portman
  • THE NEXT THREE DAYS, Danny Elfman
  • OCEANS, Bruno Coulais
  • 127 HOURS, A.R. Rahman
  • PERCY JACKSON & THE OLYMPIANS: THE LIGHTNING THIEF, Christophe Beck
  • THE PERFECT GAME, Trevor MacGregor
  • PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME, Harry Gregson-Williams
  • PURE COUNTRY 2: THE GIFT, Steve Dorff
  • RABBIT HOLE, Anton Sanko
  • RAMONA AND BEEZUS, Mark Mothersbaugh
  • REMEMBER ME, Marcelos Zarvos
  • ROBIN HOOD, Marc Streitenfeld
  • SALT, James Newton Howard
  • SECRETARIAT, Nick Glennie-Smith
  • THE SOCIAL NETWORK, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
  • THE TEMPEST, Elliot Goldenthal
  • TOOTH FAIRY, George S. Clinton
  • THE TOURIST, James Newton Howard
  • THE TOWN, Harry Gregson-Williams and David Buckley
  • TRON: LEGACY, Daft Punk
  • THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE, Howard Shore
  • VAMPIRES SUCK, Christopher Lennertz
  • WAITING FOR “SUPERMAN,” Christophe Beck
  • WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS, Craig Armstrong
  • THE WAY BACK, Burkhard Dallwitz
  • WILD GRASS, Mark Snow
  • WINTER’S BONE, Dickon Hinchliffe
  • WRETCHES & JABBERERS, J. Ralph
  • YOGI BEAR, John Debney

Composers with multiple scores eligible:

  • 4 scores–James Newton Howard
  • 3 scores–David Arnold, Alexandre Desplat
  • 2 scores–Christophe Beck, Bruno Coulais, John Debney, Danny Elfman, Christopher Gordon, Harry Gregson-Williams, Christopher Lennertz, John Powell, Howard Shore, Brian Tyler, Marcelo Zarvos, Hans Zimmer

9 comments

  1. This is silly. The problem in recent years has not been awarding composers because of their familiar names, but awarding scores because of the critical popularity of their corresponding films. Listing only the film names would seem to exacerbate that.

    1. I agree wholeheartedly, Tim. And if the Song category is any indication, this is a practice that has been going on for years. It sucks.

  2. The problem is, that they nominate movies in categories that they shouldnt be nominated to begin with just to add “numbers”. example: The Hurt Locker getting nominated for Original Score last year. Slumdong Millionaire winning Best Sound over Wall-E. I’m convinced Babel won for score just to throw a bone at the movie. Technical awards should not be considered as “consolation prizes”, dammit. Hopefully though,

  3. Categories like this have been noticeably political since 2001….or maybe I just gained enough sophistication to notice that year :) It’s not that I didn’t think that their sound or scores weren’t worthy candidates, it just seemed (at least to me) given undo attention. I think that, as someone said, Hurt Locker is there to push a political agenda. Seeing as how the DOD gives money and resources to the industry, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see them “nudge” the Academy from time to time.

    1. I think the awards (and nominations) have always been political. I was shocked at HURT LOCKER’s nomination last year in the Score category. I appreciate what Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders were doing but it’s not a score I would have chosen for recognition. It rode in on the coattails of that vastly overrated film. So we’ll see what happens this year. I’m happy if they usually get two out of the five right. Beyond that it’s gravy. :)

  4. This is a question you have probably ranted and raged over for a long time, but do you have insight on why great composers in the past, such as Alex North, never won an Oscar for a film, and Jerry Goldsmith just one? This is another way of asking, who are the nitwits who vote? Are they often motivated by envy of genius? I know, Peter O’Toole and Alfred Hitchcock never got Oscars for films either, but I would be curious what you think.

    1. I’m going to respond to your comment and Bizarro Pedro’s below in a separate post. My thoughts are too long-winded for the comment section. LOL So thanks for the inspiration for a new post.

  5. looks like Social Network is winning alot for score. i still think itd be a little too “ambient” for the oscars though.

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