Three Americans, an Italian and an Icelandic composer are competing for this year’s original score Oscar. The terrain includes a fact-based spy thriller, a sci-fi epic, a gritty drug-war drama, a forbidden love story and a bloody Western revenge tale.
The scores are as diverse as the subjects, but they all enhance their films by striking the right mood, punctuating the action or adding dimension.
Will Academy members vote for John Williams’ grand-scale, swashbuckling “Star Wars” score, seventh in the series from the most revered name in film music? Or vote for the even more prolific Ennio Morricone, who penned half an hour’s music for “The Hateful Eight” based on the script alone?
Perennial bridesmaid Thomas Newman, pinch-hitting for an ailing Williams on Steven Spielberg’s “Bridge of Spies,” crafted a score that aurally contrasts East with West in Cold-War Germany, while Johann Johannsson’s gray-to-black-hued score for “Sicario” leans more toward sound design. All are very different from Carter Burwell’s delicate, touching music for “Carol.”