A few years ago, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ music branch — the approximately 400 composers, songwriters and music editors who decide the Oscar nomination slate for songs and scores — returned to an old practice: the “shortlist,” a way of winnowing down the vast number entered (this year, 147 scores and 82 songs) to a manageable few. I follow this process closely and chronicle it for Variety. Here is an early prediction of the score lineup, looking at 22 possibilities; here is my exclusive on the score and song disqualifications; here’s a full list of the songs that were eligible; and here is a quick analysis of the shortlists themselves, announced on Dec. 21. (I had earlier investigated the idea that the Doja Cat song in Elvis might be disqualified — and it was.)
Every year at this time the Academy announces its “shortlists” in music (and other specialty areas including visual effects, makeup, documentaries, short subjects, etc.). This year, 170 scores and 75 songs qualified under the rather stringent Oscar rules. My initial story, a Variety exclusive, detailed the six major scores (including Captain Marvel, A Hidden Life and The Irishman) and one song (“One Little Soldier” from Bombshell) that were either disqualified, not entered, or entered too late. My second story was one of those instant-analysis pieces posted an hour after the shortlist announcement: notable omissions, including Taylor Swift’s new song for Cats and John Powell’s fine score for How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, topped the list.