While the Oscar shortlist gave us just a few snubs (Hans Zimmer for both Hillbilly Elegy and Wonder Woman 1984) it really opened the door for a few film scores no one was predicting: the Latvian war film Blizzard of Souls and Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (which had a banner day).
While we have the Golden Globe and Critics Choice (aka BFCA) nominations as well as the BAFTA longlist to glean from, composers have a few more groups that reward them that we can look at. Hollywood Music in Media gives out multiple awards for film scores in several categories but in the main category – Feature Film – there is crossover with six scores from the shortlist: Da 5 Bloods, The Life Ahead, Mank, The Midnight Sky, News of the World and The Trial of the Chicago 7. Ammonite and Minari showed up in their Independent Film section, Soul in Animated, Tenet in Sci-Fi and The Invisible Man in Horror.
Of those, News of the World won Feature Film, Minari won Independent, Soul won Animated, Tenet won Sci-Fi and The Invisible Man won Horror. Circling back to that surprise inclusion of Blizzard of Souls, it won the HMMA for Independent Film (Foreign Language). Last year’s main feature film winner, Joker, tied with the non-Oscar nominated Ford v Ferrari. Joker went on to win the Oscar.
Then we have the Society of Composers and Lyricists (SCL) who nominated Da 5 Bloods, Mank, News of the World, Soul and Tenet in their Studio Film category and Minari and yep, Blizzard of Souls in their Independent category.
Add all of these together and you start to see where things fit and align. There is always room for surprise Oscar nominations here but in retrospect it’s really a surprise most of the time. Thomas Newman, a 15-time Oscar nominee who’s never won, can easily take a spot with the late-breaking The Little Things (remember him getting in for Passengers?) so it’s never smart to discount him.
Here are my ranked 2021 Oscar predictions in Original Score for February.
Green – moves up ↑; Red – moves down ↓; Blue – new entry this month +; Black – no change ↔
1. Soul ↔ (Disney/Pixar) – HMMA, SCL, GG, BAFTA longlist, BFCA
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste
2. News of the World ↑ (Universal Pictures) – HMMA, SCL, GG, BAFTA longlist, BFCA
James Newton Howard
3. Mank ↓ (Netflix) – HMMA, SCL, GG, BAFTA longlist, BFCA
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
4. Da 5 Bloods ↔ (Netflix) – HMMA, SCL, BAFTA longlist, BFCA
5. Minari ↔ (A24) – HMMA, SCL, BAFTA longlist, BFCA
6. The Trial of the Chicago 7 ↔ (Netflix) – HMMA, BAFTA longlist
7. The Little Things ↑ (Warner Bros) – BAFTA longlist
8. Tenet ↔ (Warner Bros) – HMMA, SCL, GG, BAFTA longlist
9. The Midnight Sky ↓ (Netflix) – HMMA, GG, BAFTA longlist
10. Blizzard of Souls + (Film Movement) – SCL, HMMA
11. Ammonite (NEON) – HMMA, BAFTA longlist
Dustin O’Halloran, Volker Bertelmann
12. Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey + (Netflix)
13. The Life Ahead ↓ (Netflix) – HMMA
14. The Invisible Man (Universal Pictures) – HMMA
15. Mulan (Disney)
Henry Gregson Williams