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Things We’ve Learned About the Oscar Song and Score Races (Watch Chris Martin Perform Live)

Things We've Learned About the Oscar Song and Score Races (Watch Chris Martin Perform Live)

On Sunday, Universal feted “Unbroken” with a starry luncheon at Fig & Olive in West Hollywood, where director Angelina Jolie, plagued by the chicken pox, was not in attendance. Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, however, did take the stage to play his Best Original Song contender “Miracles” for an intimate industry and Academy crowd. In the audience were “Unbroken” stars Jack O’Connell and Miyavi (who, along with the film, were snubbed across-the-board by the SAG Awards and Globes last week) and cinematographer Roger Deakins, who is in the running for his 12th Oscar nomination. (TOH! interview here.)

Though this rather overwrought, modern-sounding tune closes the otherwise period-based “Unbroken” with a bit of a thud, Martin effectively wooed the audience with his charming stage banter and heartfelt performance. (He was later joined by “Unbroken” star Garrett Hedlund to sing a rocky, but well-meaning and sincere rendition of “White Christmas.” THR’s Scott Feinberg posted a clip on YouTube, below.)

Afterward, we hit up Soho House, where “Gone Girl” Best Original Score contenders Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross were touted by Jimmy Iovine, pictured. These two Oscar winners for 2012’s “The Social Network,” also directed by Fincher, are currently toward the front of the Oscar-running. Their menacing, electro-based “Gone Girl” score is not only a great film soundtrack, but a great album on its own. (Among attendees at the “Gone Girl” mixer were legendary composer Diane Warren, who penned a song for underappreciated “Beyond the Lights,” and cult hermit Vincent Gallo, looking like Rasputin with a long gray beard.)

So who else is building steam in this race?

WATCH Exclusive Video Interview: How Reznor Collaborates with Fincher on ‘Gone Girl’

While the critics’ favorite this year has perennially been Mica Levi‘s haunting, European Film Award-winning “Under the Skin” arrangements—winning LA and Boston prizes and a British Independent Film nomination—it’s unlikely to end up in the Oscar heap. 

Well overdue, six-time Oscar nominee Alexandre Desplat (“Philomena,” “Argo,” “The King’s Speech”) is in the running for both “The Imitation Game,” whose propulsive chamber score has more momentum, and Globes shutout “Unbroken.” While neither score is the lauded French film composer’s best work, the music branch may want to give him career-tipping honors—or will Desplat cancel himself out? He’ll be hard-pressed to land nods for both films. (But his stellar, more-deserving “Grand Budapest Hotel” score is now a Grammy nominee, as are Reznor and Ross for “Gone Girl.”)

READ: How Composer Alexandre Desplat Captures Different WWII Vibes for “Imitation Game” and “Unbroken”

Several erstwhile Oscar score contenders fell out of the race this weekend. On Friday, the Academy dropped its list of eligible scores, excluding Golden Globe nominee Antonio Sanchez‘s drum soundtrack for “Birdman,” which contains snatches of “found” classical music, as well as the also drum-heavy classic “Whiplash” score. Fox Searchlight will cotinue to push Sanchez for a Golden Globe win, however. 

Watch: How “Birdman” Composer Antonio Sanchez Drummed the Score

The other Globe nominees are Desplat for “The Imitation Game,” Johan Johanson for “Theory of Everything,” the “Gone Girl” duo and Hans Zimmer, whose “Interstellar” score could use a boost and may prove too heavy-handed for Oscar voters who lean toward the melody and overall tunefulness of an original score. Though snubbed by the HFPA, watch out for “How to Train Your Dragon 2” composer John Powell, who we think could sneak into the final Oscar five for Best Original Score.

In terms of the Best Original Song race, most shockingly ousted by the Globes was Gregg Alexander’s lovely, acoustic-based “Begin Again” theme song “Lost Stars,” as well as the Mark Mothersbaugh-produced “Everything Is Awesome” from “The Lego Movie,” performed by indie pop sister duo Tegan and Sara.

Gregg Alexander, New Radicals Frontman Turned Oscar Contender, Talks “Begin Again”

Six-time nominee Diane Warren penned “Grateful” for indie sleeper “Beyond the Lights,” which Relativity is putting little weight behind this Oscar season. While hobnobbing at Soho House, Warren revealed that she feels so strongly about the song, and the film, that she’s considering campaigning independently. (Anne Thompson put the film on her 2014 ten best list.)

Another Best Original Song sleeper could be “A Most Violent Year” composer Alex Ebert, whose intense theme “America For Me” reflects the tormented inner life of Oscar Isaac’s immigrant turned guilt-ridden oil tycoon Abel. (Read our interview with Ebert here.)

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