Oscar Predictions: Best Original Score – John Williams Could Be the Oldest Nominee in Any Category’s History for ‘The Fabelmans’

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Variety Awards Circuit section is the home for all awards news and related content throughout the year, featuring the following: the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and Tony awards ceremonies, curated by Variety senior awards editor Clayton Davis. The prediction pages are Davis’ assessment of the current standings of the race and do not reflect personal preferences for any film or performance. Like any organization or body that votes, each individual category is fluid and subject to change. Predictions are updated every Thursday.

LAST UPDATED: Sept. 22, 2022

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2023 Oscars Predictions: Best Original Score

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CATEGORY COMMENTARY: Composer John Williams is a legend in every facet of the music world. Aside from winning 25 Grammys and five Oscars, he is undoubtedly the most important musical artist living today. Tapped for Steven Spielberg’s personal semi-autobiographical film “The Fabelmans,” he adds another great composition to his already impressive resume. If nominated, at 90 years old he would surpass costume designer Ann Roth and documentarian Agnes Varda as the oldest nominee, of any competitive Oscar category, in history.

There are other big names and Academy favorites surrounding him including many with multiple scores. Two-time winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (“The Social Network” and “Soul”) have two delectable creations with Sam Mendes’ “Empire of Light” and Luca Guadganino’s “Bones & All,” both worthy of the lineup. Oscar-winner Hildur Guðnadóttir (“Joker”) has a sure-fire bet for “Women Talking” and will hopefully qualify for “TÁR.”

We’ll continue to cross our fingers that the Music Branch has enough sense to recognize one of the best scores of the year with “The Batman” from former winner Michael Giacchino (“Up”). While also having “Lightyear,” his work on the superhero film is one of his single best efforts yet.

See the latest film predictions, in all 23 categories, in one place on Variety’s Oscars Collective.

To see the ranked predictions for each individual category, visit Variety’s Oscars Hub.

ALL AWARDS CONTENDERS AND RANKINGS:

And The Predicted Nominees Are:

Rank

Film

Composer(s)

Distributor

1

“The Fabelmans”

John Williams

Universal Pictures

A semi-autobiography based on Spielberg’s own childhood growing up in post-war Arizona, from age seven to eighteen.

2

“Women Talking”

Hildur Guðnadóttir

MGM/United Artists Releasing

A group of women in an isolated religious colony as they struggle to reconcile their faith with a string of sexual assaults committed by the colony’s men.

3

“Empire of Light”

Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross

Searchlight Pictures

“Empire of Light” is a love story set in and around a beautiful old cinema on the South Coast of England in the 1980s.

4

“The Batman”

Michael Giacchino

Warner Bros.

When a sadistic serial killer begins murdering key political figures in Gotham, Batman is forced to investigate the city’s hidden corruption and question his family’s involvement.

5

“The Woman King”

Terence Blanchard

Sony Pictures

A historical epic inspired by the true events that happened in The Kingdom of Dahomey, one of the most powerful states of Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Next in Line

6

“TÁR”

Hildur Guðnadóttir

Focus Features

Set in the international world of classical music, the film centers on Lydia Tár. widely considered one of the greatest living composer/conductors and first-ever female chief conductor of a major German orchestra.

7

“Strange World”

Henry Jackman

Walt Disney Pictures

The legendary Clades are a family of explorers whose differences threatened to topple their latest and most crucial mission.

8

“Babylon”

Justin Hurwitz

Paramount Pictures

Set in Hollywood during the transition from silent films to talkies, focusing on a mixture of historical & fictional characters.

9

“The Son”

Hans Zimmer

Sony Pictures Classics

Peter as his busy life with new partner Emma and their baby is thrown into disarray when his ex-wife Kate turns up with their teenage son, Nicholas.

10

“She Said”

Nicholas Britell

Universal Pictures

New York Times reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor break one of the most important stories in a generation — a story that helped launch the #MeToo movement and shattered decades of silence around the subject of sexual assault in Hollywood.

Other Top-Tier Contenders

11

“RRR”

M.M. Keeravaani

Variance Films

12

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”

Ludwig Göransson

Marvel Studios

13

“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio”

Alexandre Desplat

Netflix

14

“Avatar: The Way of Water”

Simon Franglen

20th Century Studios

15

“The Banshees of Inisherin”

Carter Burwell

Searchlight Pictures

16

“Nope”

Michael Abels

Universal Pictures

17

“Bones & All”

Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross

MGM/United Artists Releasing

18

“The Whale”

Rob Simonsen

A24

19

“White Noise”

Danny Elfman

Netflix

20

“Vengeance”

Finneas O’Connell

Focus Features

Also In Contention

21

“Spirited”

Benj Pasek, Justin Paul

Apple Original Films

22

“Bardo (or False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths)”

Bryce Dessner, Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Netflix

23

“Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Son Lux

A24

24

“My Policeman”

Steven Price

Amazon Studios

25

“Blonde”

Nick Cave, Warren Ellis

Netflix

26

“Turning Red”

Ludwig Göransson

Pixar

27

“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”

Nathan Johnson

Netflix

28

“The Inspection”

Animal Collective

A24

29

“Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies”

Brian H. Kim

Focus Features

30

“The Pale Blue Eye”

Howard Shore

Netflix

All Contenders Listed (Unranked-Alphabetical)

“Amsterdam”

Daniel Pemberton

20th Century Studios

“Avatar: The Way of Water”

Simon Franglen

20th Century Studios

“Death on the Nile”

Patrick Doyle

20th Century Studios

“Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Son Lux

A24

“The Inspection”

Animal Collective

A24

“The Whale”

Rob Simeonsen

A24

“After Yang”

Aska Matsumiya, Ryuichi Sakamoto

A24

“Aftersun”

Oliver Coates

A24

“Bodies Bodies Bodies”

Disasterpiece

A24

“Close”

Valentin Hadjadj

A24

“Marcel the Shell with Shoes On”

Disasterpiece

A24

“Men”

Ben Salisbury, Geoff Barrow

A24

“Pearl”

Tyler Bates, Tim Williams

A24

“The Inspection”

Animal Collective

A24

“Causeway”

Alex Somers

A24/Apple Original Films

“Argentina, 1985”

Pedro Osuna

Amazon Studios

“Catherine Called Birdy”

Carter Burwell

Amazon Studios

“Good Night Oppy”

Blake Neely

Amazon Studios

“Master”

Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe

Amazon Studios

“My Policeman”

Steven Price

Amazon Studios

“Thirteen Lives”

Benjamin Wallfisch

Amazon Studios/MGM

“The Greatest Beer Run Ever”

Dave Palmer

Apple Original Films

“Cha Cha Real Smooth”

Este Haim, Chris Stracey

Apple Original Films

“Luck”

John Debney

Apple Original Films

“Spirited”

Benj Pasek, Justin Paul

Apple Original Films

“TÁR”

Hildur Guðnadóttir

Focus Features

“Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies”

Brian H. Kim

Focus Features

“Armageddon Time”

Christopher Spelman

Focus Features

“Brian and Charles”

Daniel Pemberton

Focus Features

“TÁR”

Hildur Guðnadóttir

Focus Features

“The Northman”

Robin Carolan, Sebastian Gainsborough

Focus Features

“Vengeance”

Finneas O’Connell

Focus Features

“Am I OK?”

St. Vincent, Craig Wedren

HBO Max

“Happening”

Evgueni Galperine, Sacha Galperine

IFC Films

“Corsage”

Camille

IFC Films

“I Love My Dad”

Jeremy Bullock

Magnolia Pictures

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”

Ludwig Göransson

Marvel Studios

“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”

Danny Elfman

Marvel Studios

“Women Talking”

Hildur Guðnadóttir

MGM/United Artists Releasing

“Bones & All”

Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross

MGM/United Artists Releasing

“Three Thousand Years of Longing”

Junkie XL

MGM/United Artists Releasing

“Decision to Leave”

Jo Yeong-wook

Mubi

“All the Beauty and the Bloodshed”

Soundwalk Collective, Dawn Sutter Madell

Neon

“Broker”

Jung Jae-il

Neon

“Crimes of the Future”

Howard Shore

Neon

“Bardo (or False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths)”

Bryce Dessner, Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Netflix

“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio”

Alexandre Desplat

Netflix

“White Noise”

Danny Elfman

Netflix

“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”

Nathan Johnson

Netflix

“The Wonder”

Matthew Herbert

Netflix

“The Pale Blue Eye”

Howard Shore

Netflix

“All Quiet on the Western Front”

Volker Bertelmann

Netflix

“Blonde”

Nick Cave, Warren Ellis

Netflix

“Hustle”

Dan Deacon

Netflix

“The Good Nurse”

Biosphere

Netflix

“Wendell and Wild”

Bruno Coulais

Netflix

“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio”

Alexandre Desplat

Netflix

“Athena”

Hugh Martin, Ralph Blane

Netflix

“Till”

Abel Korzeniowski

Orion/United Artists Releasing

“Babylon”

Justin Hurwitz

Paramount Pictures

“Top Gun: Maverick”

Lorne Balfe, Harold Faltermeyer, Hans Zimmer

Paramount Pictures

“Lightyear”

Michael Giacchino

Pixar

“Turning Red”

Ludwig Göransson

Pixar

“As They Made Us”

Kevin Besignano

Quiver

“Call Jane”

Isabella Summers

Roadside Attractions

“Empire of Light”

Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross

Searchlight Pictures

“The Banshees of Inisherin”

Carter Burwell

Searchlight Pictures

“The Menu”

Colin Stetson

Searchlight Pictures

“Chevalier”

Kris Bowers

Searchlight Pictures

“The Banshees of Inisherin”

Carter Burwell

Searchlight Pictures

“The Menu”

Colin Stetson

Searchlight Pictures

“A Man Called Otto”

To be announced

Sony Pictures

“Bullet Train”

Dominic Lewis

Sony Pictures

“Devotion”

Chanda Dancy

Sony Pictures

“Lyle, Lyle Crocodile”

Matthew Margeson

Sony Pictures

“Where the Crawdad Sing”

Mychael Danna

Sony Pictures

“The Son”

Hans Zimmer

Sony Pictures Classics

“Living”

Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch

Sony Pictures Classics

“The Woman King”

Terence Blanchard

TriStar Pictures

“The Fabelmans”

John Williams

Universal Pictures

“She Said”

Nicholas Britell

Universal Pictures

“Bros”

Marc Shaiman

Universal Pictures

“Ambulance”

Lorne Balfe

Universal Pictures

“Beast”

Steven Price

Universal Pictures

“Nope”

Michael Abels

Universal Pictures

“She Said”

Nicholas Britell

Universal Pictures

“The Fabelmans”

John Williams

Universal Pictures

“Holy Spider”

Martin Dirkov

Utopia

“RRR”

M.M. Keeravaani

Variance Films

“Strange World”

Henry Jackman

Walt Disney Pictures

“Don’t Worry Darling”

John Powell

Warner Bros

“Black Adam”

Lorne Balfe

Warner Bros

“DC League of Super Pets”

Steve Jablonsky

Warner Bros

“Elvis”

Elliott Wheeler

Warner Bros.

“The Batman”

Michael Giacchino

Warner Bros.

2023 Academy Awards Predictions

BEST PICTURE | DIRECTOR | ACTOR | ACTRESS | SUPPORTING ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTRESS | ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY | ADAPTED SCREENPLAY | ANIMATED FEATURE | PRODUCTION DESIGN | CINEMATOGRAPHY | COSTUME DESIGN | FILM EDITING | MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING | SOUND | VISUAL EFFECTS | ORIGINAL SCORE | ORIGINAL SONG | DOCUMENTARY FEATURE | INTERNATIONAL FEATURE | ANIMATED SHORT | DOCUMENTARY SHORT | LIVE ACTION SHORT

The 95th Oscars ceremony will be held at the Dolby Theatre and televised live on Sunday, March 12, 2022, on ABC.

2022 category winner: "Dune" (Warner Bros.) - Hans Zimmer

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Variety's unmatched coverage gives its readership unbeatable exposure in print and online, as well as provides inside reports on all the contenders in this year's awards season races. In addition to predictions, the section includes -- Awards Circuit Column, a weekly analysis dissecting the trends and contenders in the race; Awards Circuit Podcast, a weekly series featuring interviews with the top contenders in the awards race and an expert roundtable discussion with Variety's leading editors and columnists; Awards Circuit Predictions Video Series, a deep dive into specific categories, led by the leading pundits.

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