OSCAR PREDICTIONS 2018: The music and sound categories

(Image: hypable.com)

(Image: hypable.com)


This year returning host Jimmy Kimmel gets to redeem himself and likely make seven or more Moonlight envelope flub jokes for the banner 90th Academy Awards.  With less than a week to go, let’s breakdown predictions.  Throughout the awards season, I’ve been tallying the minor and lead-up award winners in all of the Oscar categories on the 2018 Awards Tracker as a big source of my prognostication data. In this first post, we look at the musical and sound categories that include the original score, original song, sound editing, and sound mixing.  As I say every year, stick with me and I will win you your Oscar pool!


The nominees:  Alexandre Desplat for The Shape of Water, Jonny Greenwood for Phantom Thread, Carter Burwell for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Hans Zimmer for Dunkirk, and John Williams for Star Wars: The Last Jedi

AWARDS TRACKER DATA:  12- Desplat, 9- Greenwood, 4- Zimmer, and four more with one win

Who was snubbed:  The score that impressed me the most in 2017 was Michael Giacchino’s towering trilogy culmination of War for the Planet of the Apes.  It’s a full-bodied score with proper peaks, valleys, and epic themes.  The man’s range is phenomenal.  He could have crashed this category twice with the ethnic punch of Coco.

Happy to be there:  Carter Burwell is a fine composer, but his work on Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was pedestrian and forgettable.  What he should have been nominated for this year was Wonderstruck.  I’m loving the respect paid to Williams and his 51st career nomination.

Who should win:  I wasn’t a fan of Jonny Greenwood’s shrill previous Paul Thomas Anderson work on There Will Be Blood and The Master, but he made me a fan with his sublime orchestrations on Phantom Thread.  He fills the film with tone on top of tone.

Who will win:  This category will be close.  In the end, Greenwood’s work will be passed over for Alexandre Desplat and The Shape of Water.  To me, he nailed great opening credits theme on the film, but little else.  Desplat has previously won an Oscar for The Grand Budapest Hotel where this potential second one squeezes out a first-time win going to Greenwood.  Too many large awards have gone to Desplat and the most-nominated film needs to win a few to keep its credibility.


The nominees:  "Stand Up for Something" from Marshall, "Remember Me” from Coco,  "This is Me" from The Greatest Showman, "The Mystery of Love" from Call Me By Your Name, "Mighty River" from Mudbound

AWARDS TRACKER DATA:  7- "Remember Me,” 2- "Stand Up for Something,” 1- "This is Me,” 1- "It Ain't Far"

Who was snubbed:  As soon as I heard it and saw it performed, both by Dan Stevens in the film and Josh Groban in the end credits, I was wowed by “Evermore” from Beauty and the Beast.  It was a powerhouse moment and I’m surprised the Disney history and clout didn’t make this field.

Happy to be there:  Andra Day’s “Stand Up for Something” from Marshall stands as the film’s lone Oscar nomination.  With the prescient topic of gun violence, the stage performance will be a worthy highlight on Oscar night.

Who should win and will win:  The Greatest Showman has a chance for the upset but Coco’s “Remember Me” is too popular and too damn perfect to lose.  I know I caught the hyperbole bug in my Coco review and called “Remember Me” the best song ever from a Pixar movie, even above “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.” 


The nominees:  Dunkirk, Blade Runner 2049, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Baby Driver, The Shape of Water

AWARDS TRACKER DATA:  2- Dunkirk, 1- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Who was snubbed:  Arguments of preference could be made for films like War for the Planet of the Apes, Wonder Woman, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.  I don’t know which of these final five you would send home though.  

Happy to be there:  All five of these films are extremely worthy.  Judging by the sound work itself, I think the least impactful one on the ear is The Shape of Water.  It’s a step down from the balls-to-the-wall noise of Dunkirk, the enormity of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the smoothness of Baby Driver, and the variety of Blade Runner 2049.

Who should win and will win:  The tight sound work of Dunkirk is on another level compared to the other nominees.  From an editing standpoint, the blend of gunshots, explosions, and Zimmer’s ticking-clock score really stand out.


The nominees:  Dunkirk, Blade Runner 2049, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Baby Driver, The Shape of Water

AWARDS TRACKER DATA:  2- Dunkirk, 1- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Who was snubbed:  The nominees for both sound categories are the same.  Simply repeat what I said the last section for Sound Editing.

Happy to be there:  Repeat this section too.

Who should win:  Mixing is different than editing and no one does that end of sound work better than the folks at Skywalker Sound mashing and smashing on the Star Wars series.  Star Wars: The Last Jedi gets my personal vote of the five.

Who will win:  Picking Dunkirk is bit of me hedging my bets that Christopher Nolan’s film will one at least one of the sound Oscars, if not both.  Last year, I picked the right two winning films but had the categories reversed.  Not this year!