CONTENDERS:
William Butler and Owen Pallett are first-time honorees for Her, and this is one of those cases where Her heads will support the score, and those who have never heard of Butler’s Arcade Fire will just wonder what Butler and Pallett are responsible for. It’s a rock score in a conventional sense, with sweetly strumming guitars, piano solos and a decidedly pop bent. It’s more immersive and obtrusive than the other scores in this category, as if it’s an additional character in director Spike Jonze’s world, and therefore the acceptance of the music is more about an acceptance of this sterile utopian world where people fall for their computer systems. Older voters need not apply.

There’s no Oscar royalty quite like John Williams. The man has collected 49 nominations, the most of anyone outside of Walt Disney, and his five wins in this category stand out amongst his competitors. These days it takes a lot to get the formerly-prolific Williams out of bed, given that he almost exclusively works with Steven Spielberg and hasn’t won a trophy in twenty years, so it was a surprise to see him lacing them up for The Book Thief, an Oscar-bait film that excited no one. A vote for this score is a vote for Williams, since opinions on the film were lukewarm and it’s likely that those who saw it weren’t eager to fire up Williams fishing through his greatest hits once again. Williams hasn’t won since Schindler’s List, but if there’s anyone not hurting for a little gold man, it’s him.

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