'Drive,' 'A Better Life' and 'Attack the Block' among scores not eligible for Oscar this year

Posted by · 5:03 pm · December 22nd, 2011

The Academy has announced a list of 97 film scores eligible for consideration in the Best Original Score category this year. Typically, it’s this announcement that brings the bad news of this or that score either not being submitted or being ruled ineligible for whatever reason.

The notable exclusions this year are work from Cliff Martinez (“Drive”), Howard Shore (“A Dangerous Method”), Christophe Beck (“The Muppets”) and Alexandre Desplat (“A Better Life”). Each, however, is in the race elsewhere, but it’s unfortunate in the case of the latter as it is one of Desplat’s two best stabs in an accomplished and prolific year.

Also not on the list, to my great dismay, is Steven Price and Basement Jaxx’s outstanding work on “Attack the Block.” Humbug to that, I say. And Hans Zimmer, you’ll recall, opted out of the race this year. So his work on a number of films, including “Rango” and “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” does not appear on the list.

At the moment, I’m expecting two of the above — Alexandre Desplat (“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”) and Howard Shore (“Hugo”) to make the cut. John Williams will probably double-dip with “The Adventures of Tintin” and “War Horse,” while Ludovic Bource will surely ride in on a wave of precursor sentiment both for himself and his front-running film, “The Artist.”

In lieu of Desplat, Guy is currently betting on the last spot being a fight between last year’s Oscar-winning tandem Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”) and 2007 victor Dario Marianelli (“Jane Eyre”), with the former squeaking by. I’m not so sure on Reznor/Ross, but Marianelli is certainly plausible.

Other possibilities, I’d say, are Alberto Iglesias’s double-dip (“The Skin I Live In” and “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”), the still Oscarless Thomas Newman (“The Help”) and, once again, Alexandre Desplat (“The Ides of March”). But I’d like to speak up for fringe hopefuls that deserve a leg up: Cliff Martinez (“Contagion”) and The Chemical Brothers (“Hanna”).

Oh, and Mychael Danna’s “Moneyball” work is beautifully understated, as per usual with his work. That would be a welcome surprise.

We’ll update the Best Original Score Contenders page with these developments in due time. For now, feel free to offer up your thoughts on how the race will pan out in the comments section below.

For year-round entertainment news and awards season commentary follow @kristapley on Twitter.

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