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At the top of a long list of 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 not only with himself (“Toy Story 4”) but his cousin Thomas Newman, long overdue with 14 nominations (World War I epic “1917”).
Icelandic cellist/composer Hildur 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 would be the sixth woman to be nominated for Original Score (Rachel Portman has two nominations, one win), and the fourth to win.
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“You Could Drive a Person Crazy” in “Marriage Story”
But even these masters are not locks for nominations. The Globes, but not the CCA, went for Daniel Pemberton’s sumptuous jazz score for Edward Norton’s “Motherless Brooklyn,” while the CCA nominated the haunting strings for “Us,” Michael Abels’ return to collaborating with “Get Out” director Jordan Peele.
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2018’s “Black Panther” marked the first superhero movie to win the Oscar for Best Original Score, for first-time nominee, composer...
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