All right, I used up all the cool things I had to say about these categories in June, so let's dive right in:
So, they have just changed the rules in this category once again. Now it will return to a preset number of five nominations. So far, the buzzing bears...
1. Les Miserable - "Suddenly"
2. Brave - "Learn Me Right"
3. Sparkle- "Celebrate"
4. Hunger Games - "Safe and Sound"
5. Brave - "Touch the Sky"
6. Brave - "Into the Open Air"
7. Skyfall - Untitled Adele Song
8. Lawless - "Midnight Run"
9. Paul Williams is Still Alive - "Still Alive"
10. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - ?
My own view is a bit more like this...
1. Les Miserables - "Suddenly"
While not the boldest of predictions, it is the only logical front runner. If composer Schonberg manages to imbue this new number with half of the power he produced in most of the songs in the original version, I don't think it can lose.
2. Skyfall - Untitled Adele Song
Of course, you should never count out the power of a good Bond anthem, especially one written by a ten time Oscar nominee who has yet to take one home, such as Thomas Newman. Having it sung by Adele, who is not only brilliantly talented, but whose voice and stylings are a total throwback to the golden age of 007, is gravy.
3. Lawless - "Midnight Run"
Another Oscar nominated songwriter who has never won, you might know of him, Willy Nelson? Oh, and the Weinsteins are handling distribution on the film and have already announced that the song IS getting a campaign.
4. Brave - "Learn Me Right"
I have not yet seen this year's Pixar offering but even the naysayers seem to think that it is much better than Cars 2. That might not be enough to win it an Oscar, but I'm still expecting it to get at least one nod in this category, if not two.
5. Frankenweenie - "Strange Love"
Composer Danny Elfman has been nominated four times for Original Score, why not an Original Song nod. It could also be used as a consolation to the Burton compound for not giving Dark Shadows any love.
6. Brave - "Touch The Sky"
I am certainly aware that Brave could get two nods here, depending on how tough the competition turns out to be.
7. Sparkle - "Celebrate"
Yes, the song is sung by Whitney Houston, who tragically passed away some months before the film was released, but she didn't write it, the movie is supposed to be awful, and she's not a major icon of FILM anyway. For what? The Bodyguard? Still, sentimentality is as sentimentality does sometimes, so...
8. Hunger Games - "Safe and Sound"
This might be a way for the Academy to throw the film a bone. It was well done and very popular.
9. The Hobbit - ?
Never count out the Jackson compound. It will have to be something that sounds ORIGINAL, though.
10. Ted - "Everybody Needs a Best Friend"
Former buzz rankings are listed in parenthesis following the current ones...
3.(7) Life of Pi
4. Beasts of the Southern Wild
5.(9) The Master
6.(6) Moonrise Kingdom
8.(3) The Dark Knight Rises
9.(4) Anna Karenina
10.(5) The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Leaving the rankings - Lawless
I'm thinking more like...
1. Argo - Four time nominee Alexandre Desplat is one of the most highly respected composers working in film today and the film has gotten a HUGE boost out of Telluride, much of it focused on the score.
2. Beasts of the Southern Wild - Has been previewed, been released, been reviewed, and remains the most viable major player released during the first eight months of the year. Director Ben Zeitlen co-composed with Dan Romer and seems to be set to be perhaps Oscar's first triple nominee in Adapted Screenplay, Director and Score for the same film.
3. The Master - Another film experiencing a huge crest of positive early reviews, the composition is by Johnny Greenwood who has been nominated by BAFTA, but never the Academy. This time Harvey Weinstein is backing him.
4. Rise of the Guardians - Desplat wouldn't be the first person in history to be double nominated in this category, and with Brave seeming less likely to go beyond Animated Feature and Song this year, this recent Hollywood Film Award recipient elect seems like a good bet to step into the place everyone was expecting the former film to hold here.
5. Life of Pi - Composer Mychael Danna is a relative unknown, but the music in the trailer is promising, and I just have a feeling that this film is going to be one of the big ones this year.
6. Moonrise Kingdom - Oh yeah, and Desplat has another film that has garnered a lot of buzz this year.
7. The Dark Knight Rises - Composer Hans Zimmer has been nominated eight times and hasn't won since The Lion King back in 1995. His work is excellent here, but I fear this may be one of the categories where the Academy decides to distance itself from the unfortunate circumstances of the film's premiere.
8. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Howard Shore has already collected three Oscar wins for his efforts in Middle Earth, so this will have to be something really special and different, especially since he just got a nod last year for Hugo.
9. Lincoln - John Williams is the Meryl Streep of the aural techs. He's been nominated over forty times and won FIVE. He doesn't need another Oscar, and I'm not predicting Streep this year either.
10. Flight - As the fields begins to thin, this film seems to be getting a push to fill in some of the cracks. With two time Oscar nominee Alan Silvestri handling music, this category could be one place that it lands (sorry).
Basically the creation and selection of sound effects. Buzz surrounds...
1.(6) The Avengers
2.(1) The Dark Knight Rises
3.(2) Zero Dark Thirty
5.(3) The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
6. Life of Pi
9.(8) Django Unchained
10.(5) Les Miserables
Leaving the rankings - World War Z
My inner voices are telling me...
1. Avengers - A best picture push for this film seems silly, but it WAS pretty good, and it IS one of the highest grossing films EVER, and this seems like one of the sure places that the AMPAS will recognize that fact.
2. The Dark Knight Rises - It's buzz may have slipped a hair here, but it should still make the cut for a nomination easily.
3. Prometheus - I know, I'm not straying far from the buzzometer readings, but mixed reviews for the film have not slowed down its buzz in this category. In fact, it has increased exponentially since the film's release.
4. Life of Pi - I'm not sure why, but it seems like a good possibility, and I've obviously got a feeling about this one.
5. Zero Dark Thirty - With all the borderline combat films we have coming out this year, one will surely be featured here. Either this or Argo.
6. Cloud Atlas - Big sci-fi extravaganzas are right up this branch's alley, and I have high hopes for this film.
7. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Never count this franchise out.
8. Argo - Nuff said.
9. Rise of the Guardians - I'm not really expecting an animated nominee here this year, but this film seems poised to shoot for the gold, so...
10. Django Unchained - It's a violent western from the brilliantly fractured mind of Quentin Tarantino. Quite possible.
Exactly what it sounds like, putting all the pieces together. Buzz read...
1.(1) The Dark Knight Rises
2.(3) Les Miserables
3.(2) Zero Dark Thirty
6.(6) The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
7. Life of Pi
10.(10) Django Unchained
Leaving the rankings - The Amazing Spider-Man
My take on things is VERY similar this time...
1. The Dark Knight Rises - This could be the one consolation prize that the Academy sees fit to bestow upon Christopher Nolan's triumphant finale.
2. Les Miserables - I'm betting strongly on this film, and musicals with multiple nods usually gain one in this category.
3. The Avengers - Slightly less likely than in Sound Editing, but not by much.
4. Life of Pi - Did I mention I have a feeling about this film?
5. Zero Dark Thirty - Pretty much what I said in the last category.
6. Prometheus - The genre is slightly more inclined toward Sound Editing, but this nomination could definitely happen as well.
7. Argo - Especially if Zero fails here.
8. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Always a threat below the line.
9. Django Unchained - The Tarantino compound is formidable and well rounded.
10. Cloud Atlas - A lot of complex elements would seem to be at play here, but it's such a question mark at this point.
And that completes the aural technical categories. Hopefully I'll get the visuals up sometime tomorrow. I'm going to sleep now in the interests of that goal.
Related posts: Awards Season Hits Next Leg, The Dark Knight Transcends, Merchandisers Assemble (Avengers review), June Oscar Buzz and Predictions - The Techs, Feeding the Public Hunger (Hunger Games review)