Two major figures in pop music, songwriter Diane Warren and Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood, could walk away with their first Academy Awards as a result of today’s nominations in the music categories.
There were no major surprises in the original song race and only one minor surprise in the score category.
Oscar’s music branch confirmed what many pundits predicted going into this morning’s announcement: that “Remember Me” and “This Is Me,” the songs at the emotional core of the animated “Coco” and live-action “The Greatest Showman” respectively, would be nominated.
A win for either on March 4 would give their songwriters a second Academy Award: “This Is Me,” was written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who won for “La La Land’s” “City of Stars” last year; and “Remember Me” was by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, who won for another Disney film, “Let It Go” from 2013’s “Frozen.”
If Pasek and Paul win, it will mark only the third time in Oscar history for back-to-back songwriting wins (after Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer in 1961-62 and Alan Menken in 1991-92).
But if Oscar voters decide to reward someone who hasn’t yet made that celebrated walk to the podium, it could go to veteran songwriter Diane Warren, who received her ninth nomination (so far without a win) for “Stand Up for Something” from “Marshall,” which she co-wrote with Common — who already has an Oscar for co-writing “Glory” from “Selma” in 2014.
Warren has written dozens of movie songs, some of them huge hits including Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” from “Armageddon” and her most recent nominee, “Til It Happens to You” co-written with Lady Gaga for the 2015 sexual-assault documentary “The Hunting Ground.”
The other nominees in the song category are first-timers: Mary J. Blige, Raphael Saadiq and Taura Stinson for “Mighty River” from “Mudbound”; and Sufjan Stevens for “Mystery of Love” from “Call Me By Your Name.” Blige is believed to be the first person to be nominated in the same year in both acting and songwriting categories.
The much-touted candidates who missed out in the song balloting included Taylor Swift for “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” (from “Fifty Shades Darker”), Elvis Costello for “You Shouldn’t Look at Me That Way” (from “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool”), Mariah Carey for “The Star” (from that film), Nick Jonas for “Home” (from “Ferdinand”) and the late Chris Cornell for “The Promise” (from that film).
Four of the five original-score nominees have been to Oscar’s rodeo before. John Williams received his 51st nomination for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” which was the sole semi-surprise in the music categories.
Most observers predicted his nomination would be for “The Post,” the composer’s 28th film for Steven Spielberg, but Oscar’s 305 voting music-branch members instead went for Williams’ eighth score for the galaxy-spanning science-fiction franchise. He won his third of five Oscars for the original “Star Wars.”
Williams holds the record for most nominations in the history of Oscar music, and is Oscar’s most-nominated living individual. Coincidentally, “Dear Basketball,” which contains his first score for an animated short, was nominated in that category (and if it wins, animator Glen Keane and longtime Williams fan Kobe Bryant will undoubtedly acknowledge him from the stage).
Jonny Greenwood’s nomination for “Phantom Thread” makes up for what many observers considered a previous snub, when the score for “There Will Be Blood” was disqualified a decade ago for having too much pre-existing (mostly classical) music.
Both films were directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. “Phantom Thread” is Greenwood’s fourth score for him.
Hans Zimmer received 11th nomination for “Dunkirk,” which is also his third nomination for a Christopher Nolan film (following “Inception” and “Interstellar”); his only Oscar win was for “The Lion King” in 1994. Alexandre Desplat received his ninth nomination; he won for 2014’s “Grand Budapest Hotel.”
And Carter Burwell received his second nomination, for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”; he was previously nominated for “Carol” in 2015.
The other oft-predicted scores that failed to make the cut were Dario Marianelli’s music for “Darkest Hour” and Thomas Newman’s for “Victoria and Abdul.”