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WSA nominees

Break down of this year's contenders

Film Composer of the Year

ALEXANDRE DESPLAT (“The Golden Compass”)

Pedigree: Oscar nominee (“The Queen”), Golden Globe winner (“The Painted Veil”), last year’s WSA winner (Film Composer of the Year for both films).

Upside: Ambitious fantasy-film score, composer well respected in international community.

Downside: Film widely considered a disappointment; won last year’s WSA.

JAMES NEWTON HOWARD (“Charlie Wilson’s War,” “Michael Clayton,” “I Am Legend”)

Pedigree: Seven-time Oscar nominee (including “Michael Clayton”), three-time Golden Globe nominee, four prior WSA nods (including “King Kong,” “Batman Begins”).

Upside: Last year’s trio of high-profile, year-end films demonstrates wide musical range. May be his year.

Downside: Perennial bridesmaid at these kinds of award ceremonies. WSA may wait for a blockbuster (“Dark Knight”?).

ALBERTO IGLESIAS (“The Kite Runner”)

Pedigree: Nom’d for both Oscar and Globe for “Kite Runner,” seven-time Goya winner in Spain (including “Volver,” “Talk to Her”), three previous WSA noms (including “Constant Gardener,” “Bad Education”).

Upside: Popular Spanish composer, “Kite Runner” has strong world-music vibe.

Downside: Film not to all tastes.

DARIO MARIANELLI (“Atonement”)

Pedigree: Oscar and Globe winner for “Atonement,” two-time previous WSA nominee (for “Pride & Prejudice”).

Upside: Oscar, Globe wins for same score may seal the deal. Italian-born, London-based composer automatically says “world soundtrack.”

Downside: Least experienced of all nominees may mean he waits until he has a few more credits.

JOHN POWELL (“The Bourne Ultimatum”)

Pedigree: Annie winner (“Shrek”), Grammy nominee (“Happy Feet”), four previous WSA noms (for “The Bourne Supremacy,” “Ice Age: The Meltdown,” “Happy Feet”).

Upside: Respected composer combines orchestral writing with sophisticated electronics.

Downside: “Ultimatum” concluded a trilogy of action films, rarely rewarded for their music.

——–

Best Original Score of the Year

“3:10 TO YUMA, Marco Beltrami

Pedigree: Oscar nominee (“Yuma”).

Upside: Offbeat Western score utilizing period instruments with modern electronic processing.

Downside: Film off most viewers’ radar screen now.

“ATONEMENT, Dario Marianelli

See previous category.

“THE KITE RUNNER, Alberto Iglesias

See previous category.

“THERE WILL BE BLOOD, Jonny Greenwood

Pedigree: Won Broadcast Film Critics Award, Berlin’s Silver Bear, received BAFTA nom for the Paul Thomas Anderson film.

Upside: Much-talked-about score drew praise from many quarters last year.

Downside: Radiohead writer/performer denied Oscar nom in controversy over how much of the score was actually original.

“WALL-E, Thomas Newman

Pedigree: Eight-time Oscar nominee (“Finding Nemo,” etc.), Grammy winner (“American Beauty”), two-time prior WSA nominee (“Road to Perdition,” “Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events”).

Upside: Hugely popular Pixar film, most current of the five nominees.

Downside: Pixar films often nom’d, rarely win music awards, despite the major role music plays in animation.

———-

Best Original Song Written Directly for Film

“DESPEDIDA” from “Love in the Time of Cholera”

Music by Antonio Pinto and Shakira, lyrics by Shakira, performed by Shakira

Pedigree: Golden Globe nominee.

Upside: Folk-style tune with evocative Andean sound featuring charango; folkloric lyrics by popular Latina rock star.

Downside: Poorly reviewed film, forgotten score.

“DOWN TO EARTH” from “WALL-E”

Music by Thomas Newman and Peter Gabriel, lyrics by Gabriel, performed by Gabriel

Pedigree: See above category for Newman. Gabriel: two-time Globe nominee (“Rabbit-Proof Fence,” “Last Temptation of Christ”).

Upside: Popular Pixar film, songwriters popular from two different fronts (one in film, the other in world music).

Downside: Song relegated to end-title sequence, may not be noticed by many.

“DO YOU FEEL ME” from “American Gangster”

Music and lyrics by Diane Warren, performed by Anthony Hamilton

Pedigree: Six-time Oscar nominee (“How Do I Live,” “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” etc.), four-time Globe nominee, Grammy winner (“Because You Loved Me”), previous WSA nominee (song from Disney’s “Atlantis: The Lost Empire”).

Upside: Warren has been collecting lifetime achievement awards lately and this could be her shot in Ghent.

Downside: Mixed reviews for film, denied Oscar nom, voters may have missed it.

“GUARANTEED” from “Into the Wild”

Music and lyrics by Eddie Vedder, performed by Eddie Vedder

Pedigree: Golden Globe winner, Grammy nom for same song; previous Globe nom for “Big Fish.”

Upside: Pearl Jam frontman denied Oscar nom for his soulful “Into the Wild” songs, this might be consolation prize.

Downside: Some felt his songs played better outside of the film than in.

“A HERO COMES HOME” from “Beowulf”

Music and lyrics by Glen Ballard and Alan Silvestri; performed by Robin Wright Penn, Idina Menzel

Pedigree: Ballard and Silvestri’s previous teaming, on “Polar Express,” won a Grammy and noms from Oscars, Globes and WSA. Silvestri also has an Oscar nom for “Forrest Gump.”

Upside: Potent combo of traditional songwriting and pop production, probably the best thing about Robert Zemeckis’ film.

Downside: Silvestri another perennial bridesmaid at awards; film little-seen.

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