The 95th Academy Award Race: Best Original Score

| February 16, 2023

The Nominees are . . . 

• Volker Bertelmann for All Quiet on the Western Front
• Justin Hurwitz for Babylon
• Carter Burwell for The Banshees of Inisherin
• Son Lux for Everything Everywhere All at Once
• John Williams for The Fabelmans

What stands out among the nominees for Best Original Score is John Williams who just turned 91 on February 8th and is now receives his 53rd nomination (he’s won five and hasn’t won since Schindler’s List back in 1994).  He is joined by three other Oscar veterans: three-time nominee Carter Burwell for The Banshees of Inishiren, and two-time nominees Volker Bertelmann for All Quiet on the Western Front and Justin Hurwitz for Babylon.  The new kid is Son Lux for Everything, Everywhere All At Once.

This is a contest that comes down to the veteran and the new kid.  Williams is a legend, of course, and that may throw the voting songwriters (the guild that votes for this award) into a more sentimental frame of mind.  Williams is almost an Oscar afterthought but the voters may realize that his time is short and honoring him one last time is now or never.  Out of his 53 nominations, 18 of them have been for films directed by Steven Spielberg, including this year for his sentimental journey soundtrack for The Fabelmans.

His chief competition is the frontrunner, Son Lux, a three-member L.A.-based experimental band consisting of 44 year-old Ryan Lott and thirty-somethings Rafiq Bhatia and Ian Chang.  They break tradition as being the rare group nominated for BOS, a category that usually favors lone nominees.  But their work stands out.  It’s an experimental mix of modern synth-beats added to traditional Chinese opera that makes for a twisting experience – much like the film.  I predict a sweep for Everything, Everywhere All At Once and I think they will be part of it.

The winner: Son Lox for Everything, Everywhere All At Once
The Runner-up: John Williams for The Fabelmans

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.