Among the lauded composers vying for Oscars this year are the four who landed both Critics’ Choice and Golden Globe Best Score nominations. Challenging never-nominated frontrunner Hildur Guðnadóttir (“Joker”) are two-time Oscar winners Alexandre Desplat (“Little Women”) and Randy Newman (“Marriage Story”), who is dueling with his cousin Thomas Newman, long overdue with 14 nominations (World War I epic “1917”).
Icelandic cellist/composer Guðnadóttir’s unique experimental orchestral score for “Joker” tunes into the inner emotional struggles of the lead character, Arthur Fleck. The composer has been praised not only for inspiring Joaquin Phoenix’s performance, but recently took home an Emmy for her avant-garde score for HBO hit series “Chernobyl.” She’s ninth woman to be nominated for Original Score (Rachel Portman has two nominations, one win), and the fourth to win. So far she has won both the Globe and the CCA.
The sentimental vote went to a Disney entry, John Williams’ score for late-breaking “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” This could mark Williams’ last chance for another Oscar nomination; he may be hanging up his hat at age 87 (at least as far as “Star Wars” is concerned) after five wins and a record 52 Oscar nominations for a living person.
The final five contenders are listed below in alphabetical order; only ones that we have screened will be deemed frontrunners.
Hildur Guðnadóttir (“Joker”)
Randy Newman (“Marriage Story”)
Thomas Newman (“1917”)
Alexandre Desplat (“Little Women”)
John Williams (“Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker”)