Fri. Aug 7th, 2020


From left: If Beale Street Could Talk; A Star Is Born

There aren’t a lot of categories this year where I’m letting my heart lead the way instead of my head. In fact, Original Score might be the only one. If there’s a category to do it, this is it. It’s the only non-short category where none of the five nominees have a precursor win. First Man won both the Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice then got snubbed at the Oscars. BAFTA uses an ‘Original Music’ category where A Star Is Born was nominated and won. So with that, I’m going with If Beale Street Could Talk.

While prevailing logic points to the fact that Best Picture nominees usually win Original Score over non BP-nominees there are examples of it happening (2015’s The Hateful Eight, 2002’s Frida, 1999’s The Red Violin – the latter over the Best Picture winner, no less). With If Beale Street Could Talk only earning three Oscar nominations, passionate supporters of the film who were hoping for a Best Picture nomination for it might go all in where it is nominated and I think that could be enough to push it over. Beale Street director Barry Jenkins has been in tow with composer Nicholas Britell (who was nominated for Jenkins’ Best Picture winner Moonlight) at Q&As and interviews all during the Oscar voting period.

That doesn’t mean I don’t realize that BlacKkKlansman and Black Panther (which just won the Grammy for its score, but overlap isn’t there) probably have better shots here. A win for either of them won’t be a surprise and a win for Mary Poppins Returns would give Marc Shaiman his EGOT but if there’s a film this year that seems to have a lack of passion behind it it’s MPR.

Original Song should be one the easiest calls of the night with “Shallow” but stranger things have happened. In fact, they happened to Lady Gaga in this very category just a few years ago when she was bested by Sam Smith. But this year her song is from a Best Picture nominee and she’s a Best Actress nominee herself. This is locked. Diane Warren will just have to keep waiting.


1. IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK – Nicholas Britell
2. BLACKkKLANSMAN – Terence Blanchard
3. BLACK PANTHER – Ludwig Goransson
5. ISLE OF DOGS – Alexandre Desplat


1. A STAR IS BORN “Shallow” by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt and Benjamin Rice (BAFTA, BFCA, GG, GMS)
2. BLACK PANTHER – “All The Stars” by Kendrick Lamar, SZA
3. MARY POPPINS RETURNS – “The Place Where Lost Things Go” by Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman
4. THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS – “When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch
5. RBG – “I’ll Fight” by Diane Warren, Jennifer Hudson
BAFTA – British Film Academy Awards
BFCA – Broadcast Film Critics Association (Critics Choice)
GG – Golden Globes
GMS – Guild of Music Supervisors
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