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Oscars 2022: Best Original Score Predictions

Did we get it right? We compare our predictions with the nominated film scores at this year's Academy Awards

Published: February 15, 2022 at 12:57 pm

Film awards season is well and truly underway, with the (somewhat muted) Golden Globes ceremony having taken place in early January. The Globes often provide a good indicator as to what might do well at the Oscars, which take place in March. We've taken a look at this year's Golden Globe winners and combined them with who we believe is going to be in the running for this year's Academy Award for Best Original Score.

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Oscar for Best Original Score: our predictions

Spencer (Jonny Greenwood)

Jonny Greenwood has had a superb year. He might be best known as the lead guitarist in British band Radiohead, but in recent years he's made quite the splash in the film music world. He's already got both an Academy Award and Golden Globe nomination to his name for his work on the 2017 film Phantom Thread, and this year he's certainly going to be in the mix again.

Find out more about Jonny Greenwood's career and film music here.

Dune (Hans Zimmer)

It wouldn't be an Oscars predictions list without a couple of appearances from the Hollywood legend Hans Zimmer. For the epic sci-fi film adaptation of the 1965 novel by Frank Herbert, Zimmer brought together high-octane percussion with a female-heavy choir and electrifying strings. There's bags of drama – plenty of which was attained by creating new instrument sounds with synthesizers. 'We made up a lot of new instruments [with] some crazy synthesizers,' Zimmer told Den of Geek.'There are sounds that are not of humanity. I mean, with some rhythms – there's no way a drummer could play that.'

No Time to Die (Hans Zimmer)

It's not a hugely exciting prediction given its illustrious history, but it's hard to avoid including Hans Zimmer's score for the new James Bond film, No Time To Die. It's the first time Zimmer has been at the helm of the film franchise's music – and he was particularly proud of his involvement. Of all his dozens of other film scores, 'Bond beats them all,' he told reporters at the film's premiere.

It's safe to assume that Billie Eilish's song 'No Time To Die' will definitely feature in the nominations for the Academy Award for Best Original Song. It might have been released a full two years before the film finally hit the big screen, but it captured the world's attention and set the perfect, melancholic, reflective opener for the final Bond film starring Daniel Craig as the eponymous hero.

We named the best scores by Zimmer here and the best James Bond theme tunes here.

Power of the Dog (Jonny Greenwood)

It might be a double triumph for Jonny Greenwood this year. His score for Jane Campion's Western Power of the Dog uses a chamber ensemble of piano, strings, winds and brass to create a brooding, tormented soundworld, providing the perfect backdrop for the psychological unravelling of Benedict Cumberbatch's character Phil Burbank. While it is much smaller in scale than some of the other more grandiose and typically 'cinematic' scores, its racing acoustic guitar motif is not to be underestimated.

A couple that won't make the cut...

Despite its powerful, timeless score Spielberg's Hollywood adaptation of West Side Story will not receive a nomination in this category, due to the fact that eligibility is determined by the fact that the score needs to include 80% new musical material. This was also a stumbling block last year for Einaudi's soundtrack for Nomadland, which featured tracks that had previously been written and published.

This will also be the case for Lin-Manuel Miranda's directorial debut in tick, tick... BOOM!, which sees Jonathan Larson's autobiographical musical adapted for the big screen. It's been a busy year for Lin-Manuel Miranda, who also wrote the original songs for Vivo, this year's animated musical comedy film about a Cuban honey bear's adventure to deliver a song to his owner's long-lost love.

Did we get it right? What has been nominated for Best Original Score?

Honestly, not really. Bit of a shocker. There was only one nomination for Jonny Greenwood in the end, for his score to the Netflix western drama The Power of the Dog. We mentioned Lin-Manuel Miranda's directorial debut tick, tick... BOOM! wouldn't be eligible, but Miranda did end up making the list of Oscar nominations anyway, thanks to his score to Encanto.

Our only other correct prediction was for Hans Zimmer, who is hardly a stranger to the Oscars, having been nominated ten times before for his scores to Rain Man, The Preacher's Wife, As Good As It Gets, The Thin Red Line, The Prince of Egypt, Gladiator, Sherlock Holmes, Inception, Interstellar and Dunkirk. That said, he has only won once before: in 1994, with his score to The Lion King.

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The other scores to make the list of nominations were Parallel Mothers (Alberto Iglesias) and Don't Look Up, which was written by Nicholas Britell, who also penned the iconic theme tune for the hit HBO show Succession.

Authors

Freya ParrDigital Editor and Staff Writer, BBC Music Magazine

Freya Parr is BBC Music Magazine's Digital Editor and Staff Writer. She has also written for titles including the Guardian, Circus Journal, Frankie and Suitcase Magazine, and runs The Noiseletter, a fortnightly arts and culture publication. Freya's main areas of interest and research lie in 20th-century and contemporary music.

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