Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Predicting The 89th Academy Awards: Best Original Score & Best Original Song

By Matt Neglia Best Original Song & Best Original Score at the Oscars are not as tied together in their wins as often as one would think. Only twice in the last 15 years have the two awards gone to the same film. It looks like we are heading for a year where the two awards will go to the same film and that film is a musical. How will it all shake down?

​Click below for my in-depth analysis of the two categories.


Best Original Score One film has completely dominated the season when it comes to Best Original Score and that is Justin Hurwitz and his infectious score to “La La Land.” Re-teaming with his longtime friend Damien Chazelle, Hurwitz created something spellbinding, joyful, heartbreaking and dare I say, iconic. It’s pretty clear he’s going to win this award in a walk. However, for argument’s sake, here are the five nominees in this category, along with the wins they have gotten so far this awards season.


The big awards which Hurwitz has won have been BAFTA, Critics Choice Award & the Golden Globe. With this trifecta he’s practically unstoppable. Sure, it will hurt to see Thomas Newman lose for the 14th time and there has been ONE TIME in the history where the Critics Choice, Golden Globe & BAFTA trifecta failed (John Williams won all three in 2005 for “Memoirs Of A Geisha” and went on to lose the Oscar to Gustavo Santaolalla for “Brokeback Mountain.”) but for all intents and purposes, this race is a lock. Even if by some miracle “La La Land” were to lose Best Picture, I guarantee you it would still win this category.

As far as a runner up goes, I know that “Jackie” has the second most critics wins of the nominees but “Lion” has had such a groundswell in recent weeks that it seems like it’s the number two in a lot of categories now.

PREDICTED WINNER: Justin Hurwitz – “La La Land
Dustin O’Halloran & Hauschka – “Lion


Best Original Song This race on the surface looks like it’s a done deal as well, with Justin Hurwitz winning two Oscars on February 26th. One for Original Score and the other for Original Song, for writing “City Of Stars.” While many would argue that it is not the best song in the movie filled with many others, “City Of Stars” has been somewhat anointed by the industry as the film’s anthem. It has won the Critics Choice, Golden Globe as well as other critics awards. It’s also the film which defines the Best Picture frontrunner that has a very passionate fan base.

The five nominees are:

The Empty Chair – “Jim: The James Foley Story”
Audition (The Fools Who Dream) – “La La Land
City Of Stars – “La La Land
How Far I’ll Go – “Moana
Can’t Stop The Feeling – “Trolls”

There are those who think that “How Far I’ll Go” has a chance considering the immense popularity of Lin-Manuel Miranda. Also, “Can’t Stop The Feeling” just recently won a Grammy and is a huge hit for Justin Timberlake. The comparisons below though will show that this category is pretty much locked up.

The Critics Choice Awards started handing out awards for Best Original Song in 1998. Let’s take a look at how the winners for that and the Golden Globes have done at the Oscars.

1998: When You Believe – “The Prince Of Egypt”***
1999: Music Of My Heart – “Music Of The Heart”
2000: My Funny Friend And Me – “The Emperor’s New Groove”
2001: May It Be – “The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring” & Vanilla Sky – “Vanilla Sky (TIE)
2002: Lose Yourself – “8 Mile”***
2003: A Mighty Win – “A Mighty Wind”
2004: Old Habits Die Hard – “Alfie”
2005: Hustle & Flow – “Hustle & Flow”
2006: Listen – “Dreamgirls”
​2007: Falling Slowly – “Once”***
2008: The Wrestler – “The Wrestler”
​2009: The Weary Kind – “Crazy Heart”***
2010: If I Rise – “127 Hours”
2011: Life’s A Happy Song – “The Mupperts”
2012: Skyfall – “Skyfall”***
2013: Let It Go – “Frozen”***
2014: Glory – “Selma”***
2015: See You Again – “Furious 7”
2016: City Of Stars – “La La Land”
1998: The Prayer – “Quest For Camelot”
1999: You’ll Be In My Heart – “Tarzan”***
2000: Things Have Changed – “Wonder Boys”***
2001: Until… – “Kate & Leopold”
2002: The Hands That Built America – “Gangs Of New York”
2003: Into The West – “The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King”***
2004: Old Habits Die Hard – “Alfie”
2005: A Love That Will Never Grow Old – “Brokeback Mountain”
2006: Song Of The Heart – “Happy Feet”
​2007: Guaranteed – “Into The Wild”
2008: The Wrestler – “The Wrestler”
​2009: The Weary Kind – “Crazy Heart”***
2010: You Haven’t Seen The Last of Me – “Burlesque”
2011: Masterpiece – “W.E.”
2012: Skyfall – “Skyfall”***
2013: Ordinary Love – “Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom”
2014: Glory – “Selma”***
2015: Writing’s On The Wall – “Spectre”***
2016: City Of Stars – “La La Land”
1998: When You Believe – “The Prince Of Egypt”
1999: You’ll Be In My Heart – “Tarzan”
2000: Things Have Changed – “Wonder Boys”
2001: If I Didn’t Have You – “Monsters, Inc.”
2002: Lose Yourself – “8 Mile”
2003: Into The West – “The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King”
2004: Al otro lado del rio – “The Motorcyle Diaries”
2005: It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp – “Hustle & Flow”
2006: I Need To Wake Up – “An Inconvenient Truth”
​2007: Falling Slowly – “Once”
2008: Jai Ho – “Slumdog Millionaire”
​2009: The Weary Kind – “Crazy Heart”
2010: We Belong Together – “Toy Story 3”
2011: Man Or Muppet – “The Muppets”
2012: Skyfall – “Skyfall”
2013: Let It Go – “Frozen”
2014: Glory – “Selma”
2015: Writing’s On The Wall – “Spectre”
2016: ?

So as you can see, the Critics Choice have matched with the Oscars 7 times while the Golden Globes have matched up within that time period, an equal 7 times. 3 of those 7 times, has one song won all three. One thing is for sure though and that is that not a single film that won both awards and has been nominated for the Oscar has lost, the notable exception being 2008’s “The Wrestler” which was not nominated. It worked for “The Weary Kind,” “Skyfall,” and “Glory.” It will work for “City Of Stars.” Lin-Manuel Miranda has not won a single award all season except for a tie from the Hawaii Film Critics Society along with…you guessed it, “La La Land.” While I’m still a bit hesitant on this one due to “City Of Stars” possibly splitting votes with “Audition,” I’m about as close to the word lock as you could possibly imagine.

PREDICTED WINNER: City Of Stars – “La La Land
RUNNER UP: How Far I’ll Go – “Moana

What are your predictions for these two Oscar categories? Be sure to let me know in the comments down below.

You can follow Matt and hear more of his thoughts on the Oscars and Film on Twitter at @NextBestPicture

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Matt Neglia
Matt Negliahttps://nextbestpicture.com/
Obsessed about the Oscars, Criterion Collection and all things film 24/7. Critics Choice Member.

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