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'Gravity', 'The Great Gatsby' and 'Kamasutra 3D' (!) Among 141 Eligible for Original Score

Was 2013 a weak year for film scores? I feel like it was. At least in terms of the scores that Oscar's music branch would pay attention to. I mean, four of my favourite scores of the year aren't even eligible! They would be Great Expectations (Richard Hartley), A Touch of Sin (Giong Lim), Lore (Max Richter - my no. 1 from 2012, but not released in US until this year), and Only God Forgives (Cliff Martinez). Also not eligible for whatever reasons are Lone Survivor (Stephen Jablonsky), Frozen, Inside Llewyn Davis (T-Bone Burnett), and Nebraska (Mark Orton) - sorry Anne Marie!

I'm sure there is plenty of excellent music featured amongst this year's 141 (the documentary win this year's bragging rights, then) eligible scores, but Oscar will only look at about 10 or 12. Sorry Joseph Bishara - your abrasive strings on Insidious: Chapter 2 and The Conjuring just won't factor despite their effectiveness. Sorry Daniel Hart - your clapping melodies on Ain't Them Bodies Saints just aren't going to get enough ears listening. Sorry Sreejith Edavana and Saachin Raj Chelory - your score for Kamasutra 3D (!!!) will not be considered, but boy am I intrigued!?!?


Out in front are Gravity (Stephen Price), 12 Years a Slave (Hans Zimmer) and Philomena (Alexandre Desplat - the moment I saw his name in the credits I though "instant nomination!"), with Saving Mr Banks (Thomas Newman), The Book Thief (John Williams) rounding out Nathaniel's own predictions and both feel like likely nominees. But what of newcomer Alex Ebert and All is Lost, a globe nominee yesterday. Musicians might be inclined to reward the way he kept a film with one actor who barely talks interesting. There'a also Mark Heffes' Globe nominee for Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

One to keep an eye out for too is Craig Armstrong for The Great Gatsby. I figured it would be deemed not significant enough given the film's preference to songs, but there it is and he's already been cited by several places including the Grammys. Henry Jackman should also be on the Oscar watch radar for Captain Phillips, likewise Hans Zimmer (again) for Rush, Randy Newman for Monsters University, Danny Elfman for Oz: The Great and Powerful and Howard Shore for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. I may not necessarily be fans of those scores (I haven't seen The Hobbit sequel), but those names should never be discounted.

I doubt Oscar will spread itself beyond those names, as much as I'd like The Missing Picture (Marc Marder), Mud (David Wingo), The Place Beyond the Pines (Mike Patton), Stoker (Clint Mansell), and The Wind Rises (Joe Hasaishi) to show up. Lastly, and perhaps of interest to nobody but myself, some of Danny Elfman's best work in years from Errol Morris' The Unknown Known is not included on the long list. However, given the likes of The Armstrong Lie and Tim's Vermeer are included it's not for the reasons that Errol Morris seems to think. Curious.

See the full list after the jump.

  • Admission, Stephen Trask 
  • Ain't Them Bodies Saints, Daniel Hart 
  • All Is Lost, Alex Ebert
  • Alone Yet Not Alone, William Ross 
  • The Armstrong Lie, David Kahne 
  • Arthur Newman, Nick Urata 
  • At Any Price, Dickon Hinchliffe
  • Austenland, Ilan Eshkeri
  • Before Midnight, Graham Reynolds 
  • The Best Man Holiday, Stanley Clarke 
  • The Book Thief, John Williams 
  • The Butterfly's Dream, Rahman Altin 
  • The Call, John Debney 
  • Captain Phillips, Henry Jackman 
  • Closed Circuit, Joby Talbot 
  • The Company You Keep, Cliff Martinez 
  • The Conjuring, Joseph Bishara
  • Copperhead, Laurent Eyquem
  • The Counselor, Daniel Pemberton 
  • The Croods, Alan Silvestri
  • Despicable Me 2, Heitor Pereira 
  • Elysium, Ryan Amon
  • Ender's Game, Steve Jablonsky
  • Enough Said, Marcelo Zarvos
  • Epic, Danny Elfman
  • Ernest & Celestine, Vincent Courtois
  • Escape from Planet Earth, Aaron Zigman 
  • Escape from Tomorrow, Abel Korzeniowski
  • Evil Dead, Roque Baños
  • 47 Ronin, Ilan Eshkeri
  • 42, Mark Isham 
  • Free Birds, Dominic Lewis
  • Free China: The Courage to Believe, Tony Chen 
  • Fruitvale Station, Ludwig Goransson
  • G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Henry Jackman
  • Gangster Squad, Steve Jablonsky
  • Gravity, Steven Price
  • The Great Gatsby, Craig Armstrong
  • The Hangover Part III, Christophe Beck
  • Hansel & Gretel Witch Hunters, Atli Örvarsson
  • Haute Cuisine, Gabriel Yared 
  • Her, William Butler and Owen Pallett
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Howard Shore
  • Hollywood Seagull, Evgeny Shchukin
  • Hours, Benjamin Wallfisch
  • How Sweet It Is, Matt Dahan
  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, James Newton Howard 
  • Identity Thief, Christopher Lennertz
  • The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, Lyle Workman 
  • Insidious: Chapter 2, Joseph Bishara
  • Instructions Not Included, Carlo Siliotto 
  • The Internship, Christophe Beck
  • The Invisible Woman, Ilan Eshkeri 
  • Iron Man 3, Brian Tyler
  • Jack the Giant Slayer, John Ottman
  • Jobs, John Debney
  • Kamasutra 3D, Sreejith Edavana and Saachin Raj Chelory 
  • Labor Day, Rolfe Kent
  • Lee Daniels' The Butler, Rodrigo Leão 
  • Live at the Foxes Den, Jack Holmes
  • Love Is All You Need, Johan Söderqvist 
  • Mama, Fernando Velázquez
  • Man of Steel, Hans Zimmer
  • Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Alex Heffes 
  • The Missing Picture, Marc Marder
  • Monsters University, Randy Newman
  • The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Atli Örvarsson 
  • Mud, David Wingo
  • Murph: The Protector, Chris Irwin and Jeff Widenhofer
  • Now You See Me, Brian Tyler
  • Oblivion, Anthony Gonzalez and Joseph Trapanese 
  • Oldboy, Roque Baños
  • Olympus Has Fallen, Trevor Morris 
  • Oz The Great and Powerful, Danny Elfman
  • Pacific Rim, Ramin Djawadi
  • Pain & Gain, Steve Jablonsky 
  • Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, Andrew Lockington 
  • Philomena, Alexandre Desplat 
  • The Place Beyond the Pines, Mike Patton 
  • Planes, Mark Mancina 
  • Prisoners, Jóhann Jóhannsson
  • R.I.P.D., Christophe Beck
  • Reaching for the Moon, Marcelo Zarvos 
  • Romeo & Juliet, Abel Korzeniowski
  • Runner Runner, Christophe Beck 
  • Rush, Hans Zimmer
  • Safe Haven, Deborah Lurie 
  • Salinger, Lorne Balfe
  • Saving Mr. Banks, Thomas Newman 
  • The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Theodore Shapiror 
  • Short Term 12, Joel P. West 
  • Side Effects, Thomas Newman 
  • The Smurfs 2, Heitor Pereira 
  • The Spectacular Now, Rob Simonse 
  • Star Trek Into Darkness, Michael Giacchino
  • Stoker, Clint Mansell
  • Thor: The Dark World, Brian Tyler
  • Tim's Vermeer, Conrad Pope
  • Trance, Rick Smith 
  • Turbo, Henry Jackman 
  • 12 Years a Slave, Hans Zimmer
  • 2 Guns, Clinton Shorter 
  • The Ultimate Life, Mark McKenzie
  • Unfinished Song, Laura Rossi
  • Wadjda, Max Richter
  • Walking with Dinosaurs, Paul Leonard-Morgan
  • Warm Bodies, Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders 
  • We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks, Will Bates
  • We're the Millers, Theodore Shapiro and Ludwig Goransson 
  • What Maisie Knew, Nick Urata 
  • Why We Ride, Steven Gutheinz 
  • The Wind Rises, Joe Hisaishi 
  • Winnie Mandela, Laurent Eyquem 
  • The Wolverine, Marco Beltrami 

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Reader Comments (11)

I figured The Great Gatsby wouldn't be eligible, but now I wonder if it's winning. The soundtrack was a much bigger deal than the movie itself, if I remember right. I assume Gravity will show too. Plus, isn't Her's score coming from Arcade Fire? If The Social Network is any indication, that might be a selling point.

Can I say 12 Years should lose because I swear, there are whole segments taken straight from Inception? It took me right out of the movie when I heard them. Zimmer's wonderful usually, but that was a little annoying.

December 13, 2013 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

NEBRASKA!?!?!? WHERE ARE YOU!?!?!? HELP!?!??!?

December 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

At this stage I'd say GRAVITY takes it, but don't be shy on PHILOMENA. If it gets nominated for Best Picture (which, considering its audience, isn't entirely unlikely) I'd give it the edge. They've used this category before to give BP nominees their only win (ATONEMENT and FINDING NEVERLAND) and it's Desplat who has never won and GATSBY will surely take either costume and/or Production Design. That movie doesn't feel like it has the gas to take more than those two.

But, hey, stranger things have happened.

December 13, 2013 | Registered CommenterGlenn Dunks

I second that, John!

December 13, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Great to see Joe Hisaishi on the list. I really hope he gets recognized one of these years.

December 13, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterajnrules

Well, my horse is out of the race. I thought Only God Forgives had a qualifying run. I don't think I could take the heartbreak of switching all my affection back to Stoker and seeing the film ignored in all categories as I anticipate it will be.

December 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

Robert G -- only god forgives did get a regular (thus qualifying) theatrical run so they must have eliminiated it for other reasons.

glenn -- agreed on philomena. i dont know if it has the 'oomph' to win as a score but a nomination seems at least semi-likely

December 14, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Is Original Score a category you have to submit to?

I know Cliff Martinez wrote all new music, including all new Thai karaoke songs, for Only God Forgives. There was a wonderful feature on the DVD that was 15-20 minutes of Cliff talking about how Nicholas Winding Refn basically told him the score, not the screenplay, would tell the story and to fix the film. Very strange.

December 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

Nebraska isn't new music. They liked the temp music so much they kept it.

December 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJake D

Indeed. The music from NEBRASKA was actually the music from a *actual* independent movie, I want to say... SWEETGRASS? But that doesn't sound right. Anyway, it was deemed ineligible.

December 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

I think the five nominees will come from the following 15 or so. And since I would definitely agree it was kind of a weak year for film scores, I think the more memorable (read: loud) are gonna be the ones people mark on their nomination ballot. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Gravity ultimately snatches this one up in the end during its tech sweep. And unless the music branch decided to really embrace some exciting new blood in a big deserving way (eyeroll) I suspect this category will feel like a wasteland. Too bad about those deemed ineligible since most of those were heavily raved about.

All Is Lost, Alex Ebert
The Book Thief, John Williams
Captain Phillips, Henry Jackman
Ender's Game, Steve Jablonsky
Epic, Danny Elfman
Gravity, Steven Price
The Great Gatsby, Craig Armstrong
Her, William Butler and Owen Pallett
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Howard Shore
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, James Newton Howard
Man of Steel, Hans Zimmer
Oz: The Great and Powerful, Danny Elfman
Philomena, Alexandre Desplat
Rush, Hans Zimmer
Saving Mr. Banks, Thomas Newman
Star Trek Into Darkness, Michael Giacchino
12 Years a Slave, Hans Zimmer

Based on acclaim/serviceability for the work itself, film success and/or composer prestige/familiarity, those seem the most plausible.

It pains me to take out Elysium, Stoker and Pacific Rim - all excellent within their respective films - but I can't imagine they'd really go for any of those three. I originally included them but they seemed too far-fetched when lined up with the others.

December 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark The First

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