Variety was first out of the gate with an instant analysis of Monday morning’s Oscar nominations for original song and score. The early readings suggest that Hildur Guonadottir’s Joker score and Elton John’s Rocketman song have the inside track, but I am being cautioned that Oscar voters can be unpredictable in these categories and not to count out newcomer Cynthia Erivo for her Harriet song or Thomas Newman (a 15-time nominee so far without a win) for his 1917 score. Voting actually doesn’t begin until Jan. 30, and the Oscars are almost a month away. The original Monday stories, containing more statistical detail, can be found here for score and here for song; the slightly truncated print versions are pictured above.
As the Golden Globe awards were nearing and Academy voters were deciding who to nominate in the music categories, Variety commissioned a final few stories related to songs and scores from calendar year 2019. Chris Willman and I shared a byline as we examined how period films handled music (my portions involved 1917, Ford v Ferrari and Little Women). Then, because Globe voters nominated Taylor Swift and Andrew Lloyd Webber for their new song in Cats, but Oscar voters failed to place it on the shortlist for nomination, I went back through recent Globe history to try and determine the odds of them actually rewarding Swift for a tune in one of the year’s most lambasted films. And finally, the Society of Composers & Lyricists held its inaugural awards, handing out most of its film awards to women, including the now ubiquitous (at award ceremonies, anyway) Icelandic composer Hildur Guonadottir for her Joker score.
This year’s Variety Music for Screens summit featured an entire day’s worth of panels of interest to those active in music for movies, TV, games and elsewhere. I moderated two panels, one of which spotlighted Joker composer Hildur Guðnadóttir (pictured) discussing her much talked-about score, as well as the unique sounds of her Chernobyl miniseries that recently won her an Emmy. The second panel featured composers Amie Doherty (Undone), Michael Abels (Us), Christophe Beck (Frozen II), Nicholas Britell (Succession), Alan Silvestri (Avengers: Endgame) and Siddhartha Khosla (This Is Us).