Where Is Hans Zimmer?
Zimmer’s got his detractors, and rightfully so: he’s a notorious recycler who has bogged down the last decade in film composition with increasingly similar rising/falling soundscapes. The expectation, however, was to see him get nominated for 12 Years A Slave, riding that film’s Oscar wave. It’s a good thing he didn’t: that composition relies too heavily on overdramatic, reheated Zimmer cues that are at best inappropriate, at worst tone deaf. We would prefer his caffeinated work on Rush, which elevated a nerds vs. jocks narrative into a propulsive high-octane grudge match. And how about some blockbuster love? Zimmer’s Man of Steel is packed with rousing themes and a gorgeously isolated piano portion that nails the essence of Superman in only a few notes better than Zack Snyder could.

All Is Lost For Best Original Score
One of the year’s quieter movies depended greatly on some sort of sonic stimulation to keep audiences from drifting away like a deflated raft. Enter fresh newcomer Alexander Ebert, who also contributed a lovely closing track ("Amen") to JC Chandor’s spartan lost-at-sea narrative. The composers in the Academy should have known what an impossible task it was to both provide suspense for the film while also avoiding distracting the viewer from Robert Redford’s relatively mundane survival techniques. Ebert’s soft hum of a score is both tuneful and insistent, grounding the picture by reminding us of the grace found within despair.

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