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2016 Oscar Predictions: Best Original Score

2016 Oscar Predictions: Best Original Score

READ MORE: Indiewire Awards Season Spotlight 

Last year, Alexandre Desplat finally won an Oscar on his 8th nomination in just 9 years (for “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” though he was competing against himself for “The Imitation Game”), but this year he was rejected entirely, despite having quite the illustrious score of “The Danish Girl” in contention. 

Of the current nominees, Carter Burwell’s beautiful work on “Carol” is the absolute standout, but it will be hard for any of these contenders to challenge Ennio Morricone, who has never won an Oscar before. Morricone’s work on “The Hateful Eight” is about the only thing everyone agrees is perfect about the movie (aside from Oscar nominee Jennifer Jason Leigh), and he must just take the win here.

Below is Anne Thompson’s take on how things might shake down in the race for best original score. Check out Thompson on Hollywood’s Oscar predictions pages for more awards season analysis. Click here for more category breakdowns on Indiewire.

“Carol” (Carter Burwell)
“Sicario” (Jóhann Jóhannsson)
“The Hateful Eight” (Ennio Morricone)
“Bridge of Spies” (Thomas Newman)
“Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens” (John Williams)

Predicted Winner: Ennio Morricone, “The Hateful Eight”
Potential Spoiler: John Williams, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
For more insight into the 2016 awards season, visit the Indiewire Awards Season Spotlight homepage here.

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John Williams should be the winner!

Cowboy John



I know that Morricone will win but I think that the score for Sicario may be one of the best original scores ever – I can’t get the Beast out of my head. It is so perfect and really makes the entire film…brilliant

Abdulrahman khan

I still don’t know why Michael Giacchino isn’t nominated for Inside Out. The melody and the tune was very sweet, calm and uplifting. It calms me down everytime. Honestly, John Williams’ score for this SW wasn’t like the previous six movies. He’s better than the rest anyways.


Should win: Carter Burwell (Carol)
Shoulda been here: Michael Giacchino (Inside Out)


Both It Follows and Inside Out should have been nominated here.

Dex Ancel

Ennio Morricone should have already 5 oscars but he’ll finally get one this time.


Those guys from the Oscar are pretty funny… No seriosly… they are driving me insane! Where’s the awesomeness soundtrack form inside out?


Where’s Inside Out? That score was fantastic!

Rai The Noblesse

and agree with many statements here… , even if it was not as musicly hard to compose as orthestra/classic styled music.., Mad Max did have a great OST worth mentioning

Rai The Noblesse

Bridge of Spies OST reminded me too much of some of the slower pieces from the Fable (game) franchise (which had imo better OST) even if I liked the OST in Bridge of Spies, dont think it deserves to win.. and SW7 OST was nothing special (this time, unlike other times…)


Ennio! He’s 87 last chance for Maestro




MAD MAX: FURY ROAD should be at the top of the list, along with BEASTS OF NO NATION which is incredible. Also, I loved Johann Johannsson’s SICARIO score. Everything about Star Wars was lacking, including John Williams’ score, but I don’t feel like that was his fault.

Richard H

It would be a travesty if Morricone comes out of this with anything. If they want to give him a career award, then do it, but this isn’t the right way to do it. The only scores that stayed in my mind were Sicario and the Revenant. Johann Johannson seems to be the new genius on the block.Carol…dull/insipid. Danish girl Desplat wrote it in a week and then phoned it in! Mad Max…fit for purpose and the great JW…how many oscars does a man need for the same film?! Nobody on form here…except JJ


Am I the only one who’s thinking the Creed soundtrack?


Junkie XL won’t win for Mad Max, but I honestly believe he should at least be nominated. Brilliant soundtrack.


Johan Johansson’s score for Sicario is my personal favourite for "The Beast" alone.


^ Exactly! Disasterpeace’s score for It Follows was stunning.


The only soundtrack I bought this year was for Johnny Jewel’s work on Lost River. But I still would probably give the Oscar to Morricone.


J Williams won’t even be nominated…the score is way to dependent on his past Star Wars work.


John Williams!


It’s John Williams vs. Ennio Morricone. I think either could take it, it’s a huge toss-up. If Morricone wins the Golden Globe, he could make it all the way up to the Oscars, but John Williams’ score for The Force Awakens is just wonderful and poses a significant threat.




I’m not sure if it’s because it relies so heavily on the music previously created by Bill Conti, but I would say Ludwig Goransson’s name should be somewhere on this list for Creed. The score of that film is such a vital factor in creating some of it’s best scenes and it is (IMO) executed to perfection. I doubt we’ll see him get a nomination, but it would nice to at least see him in the conversation.


So hard to believe that Thomas Newman still hasn’t won. "Less Than Zero" features his first great score and still one of the best I’ve heard. Shawshank is beautiful. Among his others that you must run to first are "The Player", "Horse Whisperer", "Meet Joe Black", "Unstrung Heroes", "The War", "American Beauty" are gorgeous. "Finding Nemo" and "Wall-E" are among our favorite Pixar movies because of his music. Can’t wait for him to win for something. If not "Bridge of Spies" or "Spectre", he also did "He Named Me Malala" this year, too.


If the music in the Danish girl trailer is the actual score I think it’ll get nominated. Sounds incredible


I think it’s very possible that the late James Horner, who died tragically in a plane crash this year, could be nominated for either "Southpaw" or "The 33."


I mean, if you don’t give it to Ennio, you might aswell go to hell Academy…


I cannot wait to hear The Force Awakens soundtrack. So far the best score is Inside Out.


i think far from madding crowd has a chance to show up in major categories..


Craig Armstrong’s Far from the Madding Crowd must be in the list!


Give Newman an Oscar already! He should have already won for remarkable work in American Beauty, Wall-E and Revolutionary Road. He is absolutely brilliant!


None of the Star Wars prequels were nominated, and sci-fi adventure scores are also rarely nominated so I’d (riskily?) bet Williams is out this year. Besides, no matter the competition Inside Out is too well crafted of a score by a respected composer in a critically lauded movie to not get nominated.


Are you kidding me? Did you HEAR Newman’s score? It was the absolute worst part of an otherwise amazing film!
I feel this is Williams’ year. His strongest scores are always for the Star Wars films, plus he hasn’t won in 22 years.
I’d replace Newman in your predictions with Giacchino for Inside Out, otherwise mine are exactly the same.


If I were voting, the five would be
Harry Gregson-Williams – "The Martian"
Jóhann Jóhannson – "Sicario"
John Williams – "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"
Dario Marianelli – "Everest"

Fifth would be either Michael Giacchino ("Inside Out") or Junkie XL ("MM: Fury Road")

Miguel Parra

And what about Fernando Velázquez for Crimson Peak? The music is awesome! All the film is, I deeple regret not to find it almost in any section.


We have not really heard John William’s soundtrack. I think Bridge of Spies soundtrack sounds very average for the Oscar crowd. I think it comes down to Johann Johannson in Siccario or Alexandre Desplat. But we have not really heard an official Desplat soundtrack, so I have no idea. The rest fall somewhere in the middle. In the end, I think this one goes to Siccario. Very similar to Arcade Fire’s upset at the grammys, His soundtrack is very invoking. You can listen to that soundtrack, without any clerification, and know what tone it is going for. After watching the film it matches the setting and tone impeccably.


It Follows, hands down.


What about AR Rahman?


But I think the best score this year (I have heard is Mad Max: Fury Road)


I would love to see Ennio Morricone’s The Hateful Eight score win because he is a man that should have won an oscar almost 50 years ago


Hans Zimmer and Johnny Marr do it again. For the 3th time in 3 years i’m here to say; Hans Zimmer deserve the oscar even this year.


And here I am just hoping that the five nominees will be as follows:
1. Michael Giacchino – Inside Out
2. John Williams – Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens
3. Alexandre Desplat – The Danish Girl
4. Johann Johannson – Sicario
5. Thomas Newman – Spectre
… with Thomas Newman winning the goddamned award because it about time he did…
PS: I woudn’t mind seeing Tom Holkenborg getting recognition for Mad Max: Fury Road but I just don’t think it’s going to happen.


I agree with Jessie R. It Follows had the best score of any movie I’ve seen in years.

jessie r



Star Wars: TFA will win a bunch of Oscars including best original score. No matter what the Academy will shower Star Wars with Oscars. Nostalgia + John Williams = Oscars


It will come down to Thomas Newman v. John Williams.


Although I love both the score to "Inside Out" and "Mad Max: Fury Road", I don’t know if they’ll make the cut.

My predictions, which could be totally wrong, since some have yet to be released, are as follows:

Alexandre Desplat, "The Danish Girl" or "Suffragette"
Michael Giacchino, "Inside Out"
Ennio Morricone, "The Hateful Eight"
Thomas Newman, "Bridge of Spies" or "Spectre"
WINNER: John Williams, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"

I think it’s fair to say that Desplat had a great year last year, and this year could be very similar. Giacchino is a near-lock for "Inside Out". Only reason I don’t consider it to be a full lock is because not all the scores/films have been released.

Morricone could very well get nominated for "The Hateful Eight", simply due to name recognition. That being said, I have high hopes that his score will be fantastic, as most of his work is.

Thomas Newman could get a nomination for "Bridge of Spies" simply because it’s a Spielberg film, but also because he’s been nominated an outstanding 11 times in the Original Score category, and because his scores are great, too.

I think John Williams will win the Oscar for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" because none of his Star Wars scores are anything less than amazing.

Tom Holkenborg for "Mad Max: Fury Road" would be great, and if he is nominated, I think that Thomas Newman would be the one to get bumped down to spot #6, since he has 2 scores that could be nominated, and he might just cancel himself out.

Hans Zimmer could be nominated for "Freeheld" simply because he’s Hanz Zimmer. If that would be the case, he would either take out Thomas Newman (if Junkie XL doesn’t) or Desplat, who also has 2 scores.

I know that Giacchino is also scoring "Joy", but I doubt that’ll get any traction, due to "Inside Out".

Most of this is based on the composers themselves, rather than the music, as most has yet to be released or heard in some form or another. So all of this could be completely wrong. That being said, the odds of Williams, Morricone, Newman, or Desplat coming out with a sub-par score would be nothing but shocking.

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