Wed. Sep 23rd, 2020

2020 Oscar Nomination Predictions: ORIGINAL SCORE and ORIGINAL SONG (August)

Last year, the Academy reintroduced the shortlists for Original Score and Original Song for the first time since 1979. This gave us smaller eligibility lists in December from 15 scores qualified for a nomination in Original Score and and 15 songs qualified for a nomination for Original Song. This helped cut out a lot of the guessing games in two of the most difficult categories but I’m sure it also gives studios (and artists) a bit of relief in terms of campaigning if they’re not on the lists. Last year, the shortlists came from 156 scores and 90 songs.

In Original Score, it will come down to eligibility to even get on the shortlist for some. Sometimes all it takes is for one piece of previously used music to overshadow an entirely original score (like Jóhann Jóhannsson’s score for Arrival) to disqualify. This year could see Hans Zimmer not qualify for The Lion King (the legendary composer won his only Oscar for the original 2D animated version) because it’s just a new arrangement of the old one, or Michael Abel’s score for Us, which adapts an existing song as its main theme. Aside from eligibility, outright snubs happen all the time. Last season saw misses for Incredibles 2 and Widows, both from Oscar-winning composers (including Zimmer).

One of the things it does for Original Song, which always seems to have at least one way out of left field choice (RIP “Alone Yet Not Alone”), is that it gives us a clue as to where the music branch is leaning. We know we’ll see songs from multi-nominees like Diane Warren qualify probably every time (if they continue this format) but this is where “When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs made itself known and then went on to earn an Oscar nomination.

We still don’t even have a large sample of original songs to choose from but more will be added (and taken away) with each new set of predictions.

Here are my 2020 Oscar Nomination Predictions in Original Score and Original Song for August 13, 2019.


1. 1917 (Thomas Newman) Universal
2. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (John Williams) Disney
3. Little Women (Alexandre Desplat) Sony/Columbia
4. The Irishman (Robbie Robertson) Netflix
5. Harriet (Terence Blanchard) Focus Features

NEXT UP (alphabetical by film)

The Aeronauts (Steven Price) Amazon
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Nate Heller) Sony/TriStar
The Farewell (Alex Weston) A24
Marriage Story (Randy Newman) Netflix
Jojo Rabbit (Michael Giacchino) Fox Searchlight

OTHER CONTENDERS (alphabetical by film)

Ad Astra (Max Richter) 20th Century Fox
Avengers: Endgame (Alan Silvestri) Disney
Downton Abbey (John Lun) Focus Features
Ford v. Ferrari (Marco Beltrami) 20th Century Fox
The Goldfinch (Trevor Gureckis) Amazon/Warner Bros
The Good Liar (Carter Burwell) Warner Bros
A Hidden Life (James Newton Howard) Fox Searchlight
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (John Powell) Dreamworks
The King (Nicholas Britell) Netflix
The Lighthouse (Mark Corven) A24
Monos (Mica Levi) Neon
Motherless Brooklyn (Daniel Pemberton) Warner Bros
Pain and Glory (Alberto Iglesias) Sony Classics
The Personal History of David Copperfield (Christopher Willis) TBD
The Two Popes (Bryce Dessner) Netflix
Untitled Roger Ailes Project aka Fair and Balanced (Theodore Shapiro) Lionsgate
Untitled Todd Haynes aka Dry Run aka Dark Water (TBD) Focus Features
Waves (Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross) A24


The Lion King (Hans Zimmer) Disney
Us (Michael Abel) Universal


1. Frozen II – “Into the Unknown” (Disney)
2. The Lion King – “Spirit” (Disney)
3. Breakthrough – “I’m Standing with You” (20th Century Fox)
4. Wild Rose – “Glasgow (No Place Like Home)” (Neon)
5. Cats – TBA (Universal)

NEXT UP (alphabetical by film)

Toy Story 4 – “The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy” (Disney)
Aladdin – “Speechless” (Disney)
The Lion King – “Never Too Late” (Disney)
Rocketman – “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” (Paramount)
Motherless Brooklyn – “Daily Battles” (Warner Bros)

OTHER CONTENDERS (alphabetical by film)

Alita: Battle Angel – “Swan Song” (20th Century Fox)
Charlie’s Angels – “Don’t Call Me (Angel) (Sony)
Toy Story 4 – “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away”
Always Be My Maybe – “I Punched Keanu Reeves”
The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part – “Catchy Song”
Missing Link – “Do-Dilly-Do (A Friend Like You)”

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