John Williams – The Book Thief
He’s the most Oscar-nominated person ever, but it’s been a good few years since he’s taken an Academy Award home. Not since 1993, in fact, when his score for Schindler’s List emerged triumphant. The Book Thief is, on appearance, similar territory for Williams, and a step away from his usual clients (Spielberg, Lucas, Potter) might be just what the Academy are looking for. By no means a dead cert (perhaps they’ll wait until his Star Wars score in 2015?), but certainly not one to rule out.
Steven Price – Gravity
Steven Price’s mesmerising and inventive score for Gravity took the BAFTA in the same category a few weeks back, which could be a clue as to the Oscars result this weekend. If we were placing bets, this would be a good chance to make some serious money – this one might just sneak in the back door and take the Oscar home, right under the noses of a very strong field.
Listen to our interview with Steven Price here.
William Butler and Owen Pallett – Her
If the Academy is looking for cool points, then Her is the one to go for. The indie credentials of Win Butler from Arcade Fire and fellow hip young gunslinger Owen Pallett are a force to be reckoned with and, though the movie itself is struggling a little with the critics, there’s a definitely a chance of a left field winner this year.
Alexandre Desplat – Philomena
Similarly to John Williams, an Oscar could be well overdue for Alexandre Desplat. Incredibly, despite being nominated six times in the last eight years, he is still yet to win one. The Philomena score is a dainty and sensitive affair, beautifully realised by Desplat, so if this is the one that gets his Oscar tally off the ground we wouldn’t be surprised in the least.
Listen to our interview with Alexandre Desplat here.
Thomas Newman – Saving Mr. Banks
Even more than Desplat, if one composer is due some Academy recognition, it’s Thomas Newman. He’s been nominated in the category a total of 11 times without a win. Last year he managed to take home the BAFTA for his Skyfall soundtrack, but as yet the Academy Award remains elusive… is Saving Mr. Banks the one to turn the tide? He has written better scores over the years, but the Academy might just look at his contribution to the genre as a whole and give him the recognition he deserves. Definitely among the front-runners.