Oscars: Best Original Score Predictions 2021

Emile Mosseri ("Minari") and James Newton Howard ("News of the World") are challenging current frontrunners Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, and Jon Batiste ("Soul").

Leading the field of top original scores of the year are dual nominees Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, who won the Oscar for “The Social Network” a decade ago. The duo landed both Globe and CCA awards for their New Age score for Pete Docter’s Pixar feature “Soul” — with help from jazz musician Jon Batiste — as well as a second Oscar nod for the very different Bernard Herrmann-tinged orchestral score for David Fincher’s “Mank” (Netflix).

They’re competing against James Newton Howard’s soaring, elegiac music for Paul Greengrass’s post-Civil War western “News of the World,” starring Tom Hanks. Howard has been nominated eight times, including for “Defiance” and “Michael Clayton.” He’s overdue.

Terence Blanchard follows up his first nomination for Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” with his second, for Lee
’s 60s-flashback to Vietnam, “Da 5 Bloods” (Netflix), the film’s only nomination. Also in the running is Emile Mosseri’s BAFTA and CCA-nominated score for Lee Isaac Chung’s ’80s rural Korean-American family drama “Minari” (A24).

"News of the World"
“News of the World”Universal

Here are our Oscar predictions, listed in order of their likelihood to win. No film will be deemed a frontrunner unless I have seen it.

Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste (“Soul,” Disney/Pixar)

Emile Mosseri (“Minari,” A24)
James Newton Howard (“News of the World,” Universal)
Terence Blanchard (“Da 5 Bloods,” Netflix)
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross (“Mank,” Netflix)

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