Best Original Score is a bit of a mix between celebrity status and merit. Sometimes the best score among the bunch is passed on for a more popular name, but the disparity, in that case, between the best and the winner isn’t massive.
It’s a bit easy to rule out Carter Burwell for his Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri score and John Williams for his eighth take on Star Wars. Neither won precursors and while there may be fans of Williams’ compositions, neither feel particularly memorable either.
This year, Hans Zimmer’s brutally intense Dunkirk score, one that almost feels like sound design (the supervising music editor was nominated in the Best Sound Editing category), or Jonny Greenwood’s classically inspired yet singularly beautifully work on Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread seem like the two that most obviously deserve it.
However, both Zimmer and Greenwood will likely be passed over for Alexandre Desplat’s work on The Shape of Water. Not only did he win both the Golden Globe and the BAFTA, but he has also apparently been schmoozing in the time prior to voting, a tactic that has worked for other Oscar nominees this year. His score is undoubtedly beautiful, serves the film wondrously and is not the most heinous of the nominees to award. But it is unfortunate that more powerful scores will miss out.
If the Oscars were truly about the best of the year and not just the most popular or most campaigned, Daniel Hart’s A Ghost Story score would’ve been nominated.
Hans Zimmer — Dunkirk
Alexandre Desplat — The Shape of Water
Jonny Greenwood — Phantom Thread
John Williams — Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Carter Burwell — Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
Will win: Alexandre Desplat — The Shape of Water
Could win: Hans Zimmer — Dunkirk
Should win: Hans Zimmer — Dunkirk
Should’ve been nominated: Daniel Hart — A Ghost Story
Featured image via Fox Searchlight Pictures.