2023 Oscars Best Original Score Predictions

Variety Awards Circuit section is the home for all awards news and related content throughout the year, featuring the following: the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and Tony awards ceremonies, curated by Variety senior awards editor Clayton Davis. The prediction pages are Davis’ assessment of the current standings of the race and do not reflect personal preferences for any film or performance. Like any organization or body that votes, each individual category is fluid and subject to change. Predictions are updated every Thursday.

LAST UPDATED: Sept. 22, 2022

2023 Oscars Predictions: Best Original Score

Warner Bros.

CATEGORY COMMENTARY: Composer John Williams is a legend in every facet of the music world. Aside from winning 25 Grammys and five Oscars, he is undoubtedly the most important musical artist living today. Tapped for Steven Spielberg’s personal semi-autobiographical film “The Fabelmans,” he adds another great composition to his already impressive resume. If nominated, at 90 years old he would surpass costume designer Ann Roth and documentarian Agnes Varda as the oldest nominee, of any competitive Oscar category, in history.

There are other big names and Academy favorites surrounding him including many with multiple scores. Two-time winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (“The Social Network” and “Soul”) have two delectable creations with Sam Mendes’ “Empire of Light” and Luca Guadganino’s “Bones & All,” both worthy of the lineup. Oscar-winner Hildur Guðnadóttir (“Joker”) has a sure-fire bet for “Women Talking” and will hopefully qualify for “TÁR.”

We’ll continue to cross our fingers that the Music Branch has enough sense to recognize one of the best scores of the year with “The Batman” from former winner Michael Giacchino (“Up”). While also having “Lightyear,” his work on the superhero film is one of his single best efforts yet.

ALL AWARDS CONTENDERS AND RANKINGS:

And The Predicted Nominees Are:
Rank Film Composer(s) Distributor
1 “The Fabelmans” John Williams Universal Pictures
A semi-autobiography based on Spielberg’s own childhood growing up in post-war Arizona, from age seven to eighteen.
2 “Women Talking” Hildur Guðnadóttir MGM/United Artists Releasing
A group of women in an isolated religious colony as they struggle to reconcile their faith with a string of sexual assaults committed by the colony’s men.
3 “Empire of Light” Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross Searchlight Pictures
“Empire of Light” is a love story set in and around a beautiful old cinema on the South Coast of England in the 1980s.
4 “The Batman” Michael Giacchino Warner Bros.
When a sadistic serial killer begins murdering key political figures in Gotham, Batman is forced to investigate the city’s hidden corruption and question his family’s involvement.
5 “The Woman King” Terence Blanchard Sony Pictures
A historical epic inspired by the true events that happened in The Kingdom of Dahomey, one of the most powerful states of Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Next in Line
6 “TÁR” Hildur Guðnadóttir Focus Features
Set in the international world of classical music, the film centers on Lydia Tár. widely considered one of the greatest living composer/conductors and first-ever female chief conductor of a major German orchestra.
7 “Strange World” Henry Jackman Walt Disney Pictures
The legendary Clades are a family of explorers whose differences threatened to topple their latest and most crucial mission.
8 “Babylon” Justin Hurwitz Paramount Pictures
Set in Hollywood during the transition from silent films to talkies, focusing on a mixture of historical & fictional characters.
9 “The Son” Hans Zimmer Sony Pictures Classics
Peter as his busy life with new partner Emma and their baby is thrown into disarray when his ex-wife Kate turns up with their teenage son, Nicholas.
10 “She Said” Nicholas Britell Universal Pictures
New York Times reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor break one of the most important stories in a generation — a story that helped launch the #MeToo movement and shattered decades of silence around the subject of sexual assault in Hollywood.
Other Top-Tier Contenders
11 “RRR” M.M. Keeravaani Variance Films
12 “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” Ludwig Göransson Marvel Studios
13 “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” Alexandre Desplat Netflix
14 “Avatar: The Way of Water” Simon Franglen 20th Century Studios
15 “The Banshees of Inisherin” Carter Burwell Searchlight Pictures
16 “Nope” Michael Abels Universal Pictures
17 “Bones & All” Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross MGM/United Artists Releasing
18 “The Whale” Rob Simeonsen A24
19 “White Noise” Danny Elfman Netflix
20 “Vengeance” Finneas O’Connell Focus Features
Also In Contention
21 “Spirited” Benj Pasek, Justin Paul Apple Original Films
22 “Bardo (or False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths)” Bryce Dessner, Alejandro G. Iñárritu Netflix
23 “Everything Everywhere All at Once” Son Lux A24
24 “My Policeman” Steven Price Amazon Studios
25 “Blonde” Nick Cave, Warren Ellis Netflix
26 “Turning Red” Ludwig Göransson Pixar
27 “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” Nathan Johnson Netflix
28 “The Inspection” Animal Collective A24
29 “Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies” Brian H. Kim Focus Features
30 “The Pale Blue Eye” Howard Shore Netflix
All Contenders Listed (Unranked-Alphabetical)
“Amsterdam” Daniel Pemberton 20th Century Studios
“Avatar: The Way of Water” Simon Franglen 20th Century Studios
“Death on the Nile” Patrick Doyle 20th Century Studios
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” Son Lux A24
“The Inspection” Animal Collective A24
“The Whale” Rob Simeonsen A24
“After Yang” Aska Matsumiya, Ryuichi Sakamoto A24
“Aftersun” Oliver Coates A24
“Bodies Bodies Bodies” Disasterpiece A24
“Close” Valentin Hadjadj A24
“Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” Disasterpiece A24
“Men” Ben Salisbury, Geoff Barrow A24
“Pearl” Tyler Bates, Tim Williams A24
“The Inspection” Animal Collective A24
“Causeway” Alex Somers A24/Apple Original Films
“Argentina, 1985” Pedro Osuna Amazon Studios
“Catherine Called Birdy” Carter Burwell Amazon Studios
“Good Night Oppy” Blake Neely Amazon Studios
“Master” Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe Amazon Studios
“My Policeman” Steven Price Amazon Studios
“Thirteen Lives” Benjamin Wallfisch Amazon Studios/MGM
“The Greatest Beer Run Ever” Dave Palmer Apple Original Films
“Cha Cha Real Smooth” Este Haim, Chris Stracey Apple Original Films
“Luck” John Debney Apple Original Films
“Spirited” Benj Pasek, Justin Paul Apple Original Films
“TÁR” Hildur Guðnadóttir Focus Features
“Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies” Brian H. Kim Focus Features
“Armageddon Time” Christopher Spelman Focus Features
“Brian and Charles” Daniel Pemberton Focus Features
“TÁR” Hildur Guðnadóttir Focus Features
“The Northman” Robin Carolan, Sebastian Gainsborough Focus Features
“Vengeance” Finneas O’Connell Focus Features
“Am I OK?” St. Vincent, Craig Wedren HBO Max
“Happening” Evgueni Galperine, Sacha Galperine IFC Films
“Corsage” Camille IFC Films
“I Love My Dad” Jeremy Bullock Magnolia Pictures
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” Ludwig Göransson Marvel Studios
“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” Danny Elfman Marvel Studios
“Women Talking” Hildur Guðnadóttir MGM/United Artists Releasing
“Bones & All” Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross MGM/United Artists Releasing
“Three Thousand Years of Longing” Junkie XL MGM/United Artists Releasing
“Decision to Leave” Jo Yeong-wook Mubi
“All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” Soundwalk Collective, Dawn Sutter Madell Neon
“Broker” Jung Jae-il Neon
“Crimes of the Future” Howard Shore Neon
“Bardo (or False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths)” Bryce Dessner, Alejandro G. Iñárritu Netflix
“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” Alexandre Desplat Netflix
“White Noise” Danny Elfman Netflix
“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” Nathan Johnson Netflix
“The Wonder” Matthew Herbert Netflix
“The Pale Blue Eye” Howard Shore Netflix
“All Quiet on the Western Front” Volker Bertelmann Netflix
“Blonde” Nick Cave, Warren Ellis Netflix
“Hustle” Dan Deacon Netflix
“The Good Nurse” Biosphere Netflix
“Wendell and Wild” Bruno Coulais Netflix
“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” Alexandre Desplat Netflix
“Athena” Hugh Martin, Ralph Blane Netflix
“Till” Abel Korzeniowski Orion/United Artists Releasing
“Babylon” Justin Hurwitz Paramount Pictures
“Top Gun: Maverick” Lorne Balfe, Harold Faltermeyer, Hans Zimmer Paramount Pictures
“Lightyear” Michael Giacchino Pixar
“Turning Red” Ludwig Göransson Pixar
“As They Made Us” Kevin Besignano Quiver
“Call Jane” Isabella Summers Roadside Attractions
“Empire of Light” Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross Searchlight Pictures
“The Banshees of Inisherin” Carter Burwell Searchlight Pictures
“The Menu” Colin Stetson Searchlight Pictures
“Chevalier” Kris Bowers Searchlight Pictures
“The Banshees of Inisherin” Carter Burwell Searchlight Pictures
“The Menu” Colin Stetson Searchlight Pictures
“A Man Called Otto” To be announced Sony Pictures
“Bullet Train” Dominic Lewis Sony Pictures
“Devotion” Chanda Dancy Sony Pictures
“Lyle, Lyle Crocodile” Matthew Margeson Sony Pictures
“Where the Crawdad Sings” Mychael Danna Sony Pictures
“The Son” Hans Zimmer Sony Pictures Classics
“Living” Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch Sony Pictures Classics
“The Woman King” Terence Blanchard TriStar Pictures
“The Fabelmans” John Williams Universal Pictures
“She Said” Nicholas Britell Universal Pictures
“Bros” Marc Shaiman Universal Pictures
“Ambulance” Lorne Balfe Universal Pictures
“Beast” Steven Price Universal Pictures
“Nope” Michael Abels Universal Pictures
“She Said” Nicholas Britell Universal Pictures
“The Fabelmans” John Williams Universal Pictures
“Holy Spider” Martin Dirkov Utopia
“RRR” M.M. Keeravaani Variance Films
“Strange World” Henry Jackman Walt Disney Pictures
“Don’t Worry Darling” John Powell Warner Bros
“Black Adam” Lorne Balfe Warner Bros
“DC League of Super Pets” Steve Jablonsky Warner Bros
“Elvis” Elliott Wheeler Warner Bros.
“The Batman” Michael Giacchino Warner Bros.

2023 Academy Awards Predictions

BEST PICTURE | DIRECTOR | ACTOR | ACTRESS | SUPPORTING ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTRESS | ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY | ADAPTED SCREENPLAY | ANIMATED FEATURE | PRODUCTION DESIGN | CINEMATOGRAPHY | COSTUME DESIGN | FILM EDITING | MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING | SOUND | VISUAL EFFECTS | ORIGINAL SCORE | ORIGINAL SONG | DOCUMENTARY FEATURE | INTERNATIONAL FEATURE | ANIMATED SHORT | DOCUMENTARY SHORT | LIVE ACTION SHORT

The 95th Oscars ceremony will be held at the Dolby Theatre and televised live on Sunday, March 12, 2022, on ABC.

2022 category winner: “Dune” (Warner Bros.) – Hans Zimmer

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