Music at the Oscars: Writers’ Predictions

Rejoice! The latest (and, some would argue, greatest) instalment of awards season is finally upon us. Ahead of this year’s Academy Awards, our writers discuss who they think should win the prestigious event’s music categories…

Best Original Score

Best Original Score this year is quite clearly a two horse race. The respective scores of Thomas Newman, John Williams and Alexandre Desplat are simply too familiar to their previous works to truly make them worthy of acknowledgement. The competition then boils down to a clash between Her and Gravity. Arcade Fire’s score for Her is an offbeat and sweet affair that embodies a unique musical identity, but I would be inclined to say that Steven Price’s atmospheric score for Gravity is the deserving nominee.

His score skilfully blends in with the exceptional sound design of Cuaron’s space epic, establishing a sense of unnerving threat as to where exactly the sounds we are hearing have originated from: the diegetic or non-diegetic space? It is an incredibly important component to the film’s overall affect on the audience. It is the only score of the nominees that is truly integral to the film as a whole, marking it as the one to beat.

Andrew Gaudion

Best Original Song

The academy has an odd relationship with big musical acts and rock stars when it comes to picking the nominees and winners in the Best Original Song category. Huge artists such as Sting, Bryan Adams and Jon Bon Jovi have been nominated in the past only to win nothing on the night. So in 2014, why U2? 2014 is the year of U2’s comeback following a 5 year gap since their last studio album, ‘No Line on the Horizon’, and beginning the year with an Oscar win might be a good start.

Additionally, the academy understand the issue of timing; following the death of Nelson Mandela in December last year, this song written for the film Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, is a fitting tribute to the legendary legacy left by the anti-apartheid revolutionary. Above all, it’s a great song – Bono delivers a superb performance, masterfully accessing his higher vocal register and the rest of the band provides the classic sonic U2 sound. Nominated in 2002 for ‘The Hands That Built America’, 2014 may be the year U2 earn their award and with the soaring ‘Ordinary Love’, they’ve earned it.

Tom Hemingway


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