Prisoners For Best Original Score
The Oscar chances for Denis Villenueve’s haunting drama slowly faded as the film slowly exited theaters this fall but the hope still burned bright that the industry would honor this gorgeous piece of music. Johann Johansson is the composer, and his first time out he delivered a series of compositions of both overwhelming dread and a sliver of hope. The film is two and a half hours long and loaded with dead spots, but the viewer is never bored because of Johansson’s sonic experimentation. Hollywood owes Johansson in a way: it’s used his music to sell their product frequently, with Johansson’s original work popping up in trailers for blockbusters like Battle: Los Angeles and Edge Of Tomorrow. Maybe some other time.

Coldplay’s Atlas For Best Original Song
It’s said that Academy voters are immediately biased against end-credit tunes, as most of them have already left the theater by then. But clearly some of the voting branch are devoted listeners: how else to explain them nominating the title track from Alone Yet Not Alone, a movie that, anecdotally, none of us have EVER heard of. Good for that small film for getting exposure. We’d hate for this to be a David and Goliath situation, but if the Oscars can select a subpar U2 tune, they can at least consider this track from Coldplay, which ends the year’s biggest movie, Hunger Games: Catching Fire, on a triumphant, but muted, note.

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