5. Anna Karenina - Dario Marianelli
4. Skyfall - Thomas Newman
3. Lincoln - John Williams
2. Life of Pi - Mychael Danna
1. Argo - Alexandre Desplat
Analysis: You never really know what this branch is going to do. They could give Marianelli his second Oscar for Anna Karenina, and it is gorgeous work, but perhaps they’d like to like the film more. They could give it Alexandre Desplat, still searching for his first Oscar, and who had a terrific year – along with Argo, he did great work on Moonrise Kingdom, Zero Dark Thirty, Rise of the Guardians and Rust & Bone – but was Argo’s score his best? I’m happy to see Canadian Mychael Danna finally breakthrough for Life of Pi, and he has a song nominated which probably won’t win, so perhaps it’s his time. You can never count out 48 time nominee (and 5 time winner) John Williams – especially for a Spielberg movie. And perhaps they’ll FINALLY give Thomas Newman an Oscar on his 10th nomination, but probably not.Who Will Win: Argo. Alexandre Desplat has had a brilliant career – and year – and hasn’t won yet. This combined with the fact that Argo needs to win SOMETHING to win Best Picture, means this one is probably going to beat Mychael Danna for Life of Pi, who with two nominations this year (the other being for song), who normally be what I would predict.
Who Should Win: Skyfall. Thomas Newman brilliantly paid homage to the Bond of the past, and twisted it. It’s an easy choice since they didn’t see fit to nominate Jonny Greenwood’s assault on the ears score for The Master.
Least of the Nominees: Five very good scores, so it`s to pick one out here, but I`ll say Argo – if for no other reason than because Desplat did better work this year on Moonrise Kingdom.
Original Song5. Chasing Ice – Before My Time
4. Ted – Everyone Needs a Best Friend
3. Les Miserables – Suddenly
2. Life of Pi – Pi’s Lullaby
1. Skyfall – Skyfall
Analysis: In a year that had a number of great choices, the Academy pretty much screwed the pooch on this one. None of the three songs from Django Unchained? Nothing for Mumford and Sons work on Brave? No Fiona Apple or Karen O.? Oh well, they nominated the best song of the year.Who Will Win: Skyfall. They could go for Les Miserables, but something tells me that writing a new song for a beloved 30 year musical will strike many as begging too hard for an Oscar. They may well want to give Mychael Danna an Oscar, so Life of Pi is in play. But really, is there a bigger music star in the world right now than Adele? I think not.
Who Should Win: Skyfall. If not the best Bond song ever, pretty damn close. In a great year in this category, it is still an easy choice.
Least of the Nominees: Chasing Ice – Before My Time. Anyone want a hum a few bars of this one? Thought not.
Sound Editing5. Django Unchained
4. Zero Dark Thirty
1. Life of Pi
Analysis: This one strikes me as one where I wouldn’t be surprised to see it go to any of the nominees. This is one of those categories where they are not afraid to give it to a blockbuster – and the story about Greg Russell and his 16 nominations and no wins is out there, so Skyfall has a shot. But it is the only nominee NOT from a Best Picture nominee. Normally, I would say that Life of Pi would be the winner here, but if Argo is going to win Best Picture, it has to win something else, right?Who Will Win: Life of Pi. Argo is going to push this, but it really isn’t the type of film that wins this award.
Who Should Win: Django Unchained. I think this had the best work of the year – nominated or otherwise.
Least of the Nominees: Argo. Its fine work to be sure, I just don’t see it at the same level as the rest.
Sound Mixing5. Lincoln
3. Life of Pi
1. Les Misérables
Analysis: They very often go with musicals here, even when they aren’t nominated for Best Picture, and Les Miserables is. Plus, with all the talk of capturing the singing live, the work of the sound crew on that movie truly is impressive. I’d be surprised if something could take it away for it.Who Will Win: Les Miserables. Tradition tells us that musicals win this award – but Argo is push hard to win this.
Who Should Win: Les Miserables. It really is impressive work.
Least of the Nominees: Lincoln. Fine work. Not Oscar work.