OSCAR PREDICTIONS 2017: The music and sound categories

(Image: hypable.com)


On February 26th, Jimmy Kimmel will host the 89th Academy Awards and its time to make predictions. On this website, I've been tabulating all of the minor and lead-up award winners in all of the Oscar categories since last November on my 2017 Awards Tracker.  Those results have been my data trends to predict these winners.  In this first post, we look at the musical and sound categories that include original score, original song, sound editing, and sound mixing.  Stick with me and I will win you your Oscar pool!


The nominees:  Mica Levi for "Jackie," Justin Hurwitz for "La La Land," Dustin O'Halloran and Hauschka for "Lion," Nicholas Britell for "Moonlight," Thomas Newman for "Passengers"

AWARDS TRACKER DATA:  22- Hurwitz, 5- Levi, and 1 for Johann Johannsson for "Arrival"

Who was snubbed:  The absence of Johannsson’s powerful and arresting score for “Arrival” is a glaring omission in a strong year for music.  Other excellent nominees could have been Alexandre Desplat’s work on “The Light Between Oceans” or Dario Marinelli’s fine work on “Kubo and the Two Strings.”

Happy to be there:  “Passengers” stands as one of the weakest, wimpiest, and worst Thomas Newman scores of his career.  This was beneath him and lesser carbon copy of his “WALL-E” score.

Who should win: I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but Mica Levi’s haunting tones for “Jackie” are out this world for creating a fractured atmosphere of loss while still painting hues of American patriotism with flutes and piccolos.  It was the most creative use of score I heard in a film all last year.  

Who will win:  Let the parade for “La La Land” begin with Justin Hurwitz.  The movie musical is going to win the musical categories with ease.  Hurwitz’s work has nice range from the sweeping to the peppy.  


The nominees:  “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)" from “La La Land,” “Can’t Stop the Feeling" from “Trolls,” “City of Stars" from “La La Land," “The Empty Chair" from “Jim: The James Foley Story," “How Far I’ll Go" from “Moana”

AWARDS TRACKER DATA:  8- "City of Stars,” 2- "Can't Stop the Feeling,” 1- "Drive It Like You Stole It" from "Sing Street,” 1- "Audition (The Fools Who Dream),” 1- "Victory" from "Hidden Figures"

Who was snubbed: The indie crowd will tell you that “Sing Street” was robbed of equal movie musical respect in the year of all things “La La Land.”  Between that, the “Hidden Figures” song “Victory,” and a second “Moana” song, there were options to be had here.

Happy to be there:  Sting’s “The Empty Chair” from “Jim: The James Foley” is complete outclassed by the multiple potential songs that could have emerged from both “La La Land” and “Moana”

Who should win:  “City of Stars” is the interwoven and repeated theme throughout “La La Land,” but the film’s biggest musical moment comes from Emma Stone’s solo performance of “Audition (The Fools Who Dream).”  Quality should win over quantity.

Who will win:  There’s just about no conceivable way “City of Stars” doesn’t win on Oscar night.  It’s the signature piece from the most popular nominee.


The nominees:  “Arrival,” “Deep Water Horizon,” “Hacksaw Ridge,” “La La Land,” “Sully"

AWARDS TRACKER DATA:  1- "Hacksaw Ridge," 1- "Arrival"

Who was snubbed:  Unless you get creative and look into the comic book films and blockbusters, no single film stands out as a big loss to this field.

Happy to be there:  This is lone Oscar nomination for “Deepwater Horizon,” so they get to receive the “Oscar nominee” clip art or sticker on their future DVD/Blu-ray packaging.

Who should win:  Editing is the foley work that centers on sound effects.  The unique verbal and linguistic alien landscape of “Arrival” is nothing without memorable and creative work in this area.  Every other nominee has sounds we’ve heard before only done better than usual.

Who will win: This is one of those dartboard categories where it’s a guessing game.  The betting odds websites favor “Hacksaw Ridge,” so I’ll follow the money for the official prediction.  Don’t be surprised in “La La Land” steals favor.


The nominees:  “Arrival,” “Hacksaw Ridge,” “La La Land,” “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi"

AWARDS TRACKER DATA:  2- "Hacksaw Ridge,” 1- "La La Land,” 1- "The Jungle Book"

Who was snubbed:  The Cinema Audio Society, the official guild of movie sound mixers, traded “13 Hours” and “Arrival” for “Sully and “Doctor Strange.”  There’s your pillow fight of snubs.

Happy to be there:  Like the Sound Editing category, this is the only nomination for the awful “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.”  It gets to brag that is has the same number of Oscar nominations as Martin Scorsese’s “Silence.”

Who should win:  Mixing is in the recording on site and the rerecording for layers.  The best audio cornucopias are always the “Star Wars” films.  I’d give my vote to “Rogue One” with their buffet of sound combinations.

Who will win:  The few awards precursors, most particularly the Cinema Audio Society, favors this spot going to “La La Land.”  It’s hard to argue and bet against.