We continue our look at Thursday's impending Oscar nominations, and my predictions for who will be very happy (and who will be firing their agents) with a perusal of the sound and music categories (if you missed acting, writing/directing, and the visual categories, you know how links work!). These categories are interesting, particularly in the music branch because sometimes the Oscar is totally about one specific thing, and other times he just wants something completely new. As a result, especially in a year this sporadic, it's hard to guess what direction his tastes will go in-let's start with the easiest of the four, shall we?
There is only one rule of predicting the Oscars for Best Score-always go with John Williams. Even if it seems like he can't make it, because he can. Williams record in the past thirty years is astonishing. Only thrice in three decades has Williams somehow missed out on a nomination when he was eligible: 1986's SpaceCamp, 1992's Home Alone 2/Far & Away, and 2008's Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. For comparisons sake, if you look at four of the most nominated people in recent history and only give them three chances to miss (let's say Meryl Streep, Sandy Powell, Roger Deakins, and Rick Baker, all of whom are considered "default" nominees), the best they can do is a decade (Streep and Deakins tie, for the record, though I suspect that will be changing in a couple of days). This is all a fancy way to say that even if he didn't score at the Globes, don't discount John Williams getting his staggering, historic fiftieth nomination for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I don't feel as confident in it as, say, Lincoln a few years ago but Williams always sinks the basket. Joining him will probably be both Golden Globe winner Ennio Morricone (who could finally win a competitive Oscar for The Hateful Eight) and Thomas Newman (Bridge of Spies), who took over for Williams on Spielberg duty, and will likely be amply rewarded (though sadly for Newman, he won't be given the Oscar he's longed for after a dozen nominations). This category is particularly chummy, but if anyone can break the chain it would be Carter Burwell's Carol, who has somehow never been nominated after countless scores, who has the leg up on neophytes like Daniel Pemberton's Steve Jobs and Michael Brook's Brooklyn. For the final slot, bet on someone who has been here before as that's almost always a good strategy. Michael Giacchino's Inside Out, Alexandre Desplat's The Danish Girl, Howard Shore's Spotlight, Patrick Doyle's Cinderella, or even James Newton Howard's Concussion could be part of the discussion, or could easily overpower Burwell as this might be a year no one joins the club. Either way, it would be a massive shock if John Williams somehow didn't show up for yet another go with Oscar.
My Predictions: Bridge of Spies, Carol, The Danish Girl, The Hateful Eight, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
My antipathy toward Lady Gaga and my constant mumblings about her will continue past Thursday, as she seems certain to follow-up her Golden Globe win with an Oscar nomination, though this time it's at least for singing in The Hunting Ground, and could finally net Diane Warren (a 7-time Oscar loser) a trophy to go along with her Grammy and Golden Globe. Their biggest competition seems to be Wiz Khalifa's ode to Paul Walker "See You Again," in Furious 7 and yes I think it's hilarious too that the Fast and the Furious franchise is going to be Oscar-nominated. Even more perplexing may be "Love Me Like You Do," from Fifty Shades of Grey, which was a huge pop hit but comes from a film about S&M, so the branch that went for "Alone Yet Not Alone" may not be about such things. On the opposite end of the spectrum is "Simple Song #3" from Youth, an opera aria that closes the film and netted a Globe nod for the movie-this could be a way for fans of the film to get an in on the Oscars since the film's acting chances have slipped. I know that Sam Smith just won the Golden Globe for "Writing's on the Wall," but Oscar isn't all about James Bond, and more importantly this category has a horrible match rate with the Globes (in the past twelve years seven of the Globe winners for Best Song couldn't even get an Oscar nomination). A better bet may be Carter Burwell's "None of Them Are You" in Anomalisa (Burwell could actually go from zero to two in Oscar citations on Thursday). Finally there's always the possibility they just say 'huh' and go with something truly random like "Phenomenal" from Southpaw or "Flashlight" from Pitch Perfect 2 because this is the music branch, and however rigid they are in Score, they frequently say "what the hell?" in Song and those are two songs that are at least recognizable even if no one in the Academy wants to honor the films.
My Predictions: Anomalisa, Fifty Shades of Grey, Furious 7, The Hunting Ground, Youth
My Predictions: Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Straight Outta Compton
My Predictions: Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Sicario, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Straight Outta Compton
There it is-we'll finish off with the Best Pictures tomorrow, but in the meantime weigh in on who you think is taking the sound and music nominations come Thursday morning!