The fight for Original Score lies squarely with the two names: Hans Zimmer and Jonny Greenwood.
For Zimmer, a win for Dune would mark a very long time coming second win after 1994’s The Lion King, 27 years and a full 10 nominations ago. It feels like a groundswell to finally re-award one of the most prolific and well-known film living composers and he remains the current critics’ leader, but by the slimmest of margins. This is probably Zimmer’s best chance at a win in year’s but an upstart is ready to spoil in a big way.
Greenwood returns to the Oscar race with only his second nomination (his first was for 2017’s Phantom Thread) but with the full force of The Power of the Dog‘s 12 nominations and sitting just behind Zimmer’s 16 critics’ wins with 14 of his own as well as being alongside Zimmer the only ones to score every precursor. The industry awards have only just cracked the surface with Zimmer’s Golden Globe win so the tale is not yet told on this race.
Original Song also now feels like a real race. Billie Eilish’s “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die just celebrated its second year of release last week and the song won a Grammy last year. While this obviously was due to the postponement of the film from April 2020 to October 2021 (including several more moves in between), there is a feeling of staleness even though since its Grammy win it also picked up the Globe and the Hollywood Music in Media Award against its direct Oscar competition.
The soundtrack and songs from Encanto have taken the charts by storm, much to everyone’s surprise, including Walt Disney. Back in November 2021, the studio opted to submit the more traditional “Dos Oruguitas” for Oscar consideration but as of this writing “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” is the #1 song in the U.S., the first Disney song to land that spot in 29 years. Hindsight is always 20/20 but had Disney submitted both songs, not only would both have likely gotten in, we’d probably be looking at the hit song as the next Oscar winner. Regardless, “Dos Oruguitas” is nominated and could easily ride the wave of “Bruno” and win, giving songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda his EGOT.
I’m not counting out Beyoncé’s “Be Alive” from King Richard, one of only two original song contenders from a Best Picture nominee. It has the exact same precursors “Dos Oruguitas” has (Globe, HMMA, CCA, GMA) but has yet to win one.
Sound should be a clear win for Dune. Anything else would be rather surprising, but the upcoming sound guilds could tell a different story.
Precursor Watch: The Society of Composers and Lyricists (SCL) is March 8, BAFTA, Critics’ Choice and Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) are all on March 13, Cinema Audio Society (CAS) is March 19 and the Guild of Music Supervisors (GMS) are March 20. Oscar winner voting is March 17-22.
Here are my ranked 2022 Oscar winner predictions in Original Score, Original Song and Sound for February.
1. Dune (Warner Bros/HBO Max) – GG, CCA, HMMA (Sci-Fi), SCL, BAFTA
2. The Power of the Dog (Netflix) – GG, CCA, HMMA, SCL, BAFTA
3. Don’t Look Up (Netflix) – CCA, HMMA, SCL, BAFTA
4. Parallel Mothers (Sony Pictures Classics) – GG, HMMA (Foreign Language), SCL
5. Encanto (Walt Disney) – GG, SCL
1. “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die (MGM/UAR) – GG, CCA, HMMA, SCL
Music and Lyric by Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell
2. “Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto (Walt Disney) – GG, CCA, HMMA
Music and Lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda
3. “Be Alive” from “King Richard (Warner Bros/HBO Max) – GG, CCA, HMMA
Music and Lyric by DIXSON and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter
4. “Down to Joy” from Belfast (Focus Features) – GG, HMMA (Indie)
Music and Lyric by Van Morrison
5. “Somehow You Do” from Four Good Days (Vertical Entertainment) – HMMA (indie), SCL
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
1. Dune (Warner Bros/HBO Max) – BAFTA, MPSE (3x), CAS
Mac Ruth, Mark Mangini, Theo Green, Doug Hemphill and Ron Bartlett
2. No Time to Die (MGM/UAR) – BAFTA, MPSE (2x), CAS
Simon Hayes, Oliver Tarney, James Harrison, Paul Massey and Mark Taylor
3. West Side Story (20th Century Studios) – BAFTA, MPSE, CAS
Tod A. Maitland, Gary Rydstrom, Brian Chumney, Andy Nelson and Shawn Murphy
4. The Power of the Dog (Netflix) – MPSE, CAS
Richard Flynn, Robert Mackenzie and Tara Webb