Gold Standard writer Glenn Whipp is sweeping through all 24 Oscar categories this week, assessing the races, predicting the winners and helping you prevail in your Oscar pools. He looked at the three short film categories here, the sound awards here and the visual crafts fields here. Now, with an Oscar show that promises to heavily emphasize music, it’s time to break out the song and score picks.
“Before My Time” from “Chasing Ice,” music and lyric by J. Ralph
“Everybody Needs a Best Friend” from “Ted,” music by Walter Murphy; lyric by Seth MacFarlane
“Pi’s Lullaby” from “Life of Pi,” music by Mychael Danna; lyric by Bombay Jayashri
“Skyfall” from “Skyfall,” music and lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
“Suddenly” from “Les Misérables,” music by Claude-Michel Schönberg; lyric by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil
And the winner is ... “Skyfall.” It’s going to be a big night for Bond fans. We know Shirley Bassey will be in the house, the only possible make-good for the academy somehow failing to nominate “Goldfinger,” which she sang, in this category 48 years ago. And with a 007 tribute planned, we might see Sean Connery and Roger Moore don their tuxedos once again. But as fantastic as that all sounds, the program’s guaranteed showstopper will be the four minutes when Adele’s on stage singing the grand, soulful “Skfyall,” the greatest Bond theme song ever recorded. And, yes, she’ll return to the stage later to pick up the Oscar too.
Unless ... We prefer not think of alternative scenarios. But it should be noted that in just about any other year, a new song from a musical nominated for best picture would be a sure winner here, even if that number (“Suddenly”) doesn’t exactly lodge in people’s brains in the same way that “I Dreamed a Dream” or “The Confrontation” does.
“Anna Karenina,” Dario Marianelli
“Argo,” Alexandre Desplat
“Life of Pi,” Mychael Danna
“Lincoln,” John Williams
“Skyfall,” Thomas Newman
And the winner is ... “Life of Pi.” One of these years, 48-time nominee John Williams will win another Oscar (he has five, the last coming for “Schindler’s List”), but it likely won’t be for the beautiful, Copland-esque touches he brought to “Lincoln.” Danna’s imaginative, multi-dimensional score played an integral role to “Pi’s” success and won the Globe earlier this year. This is another crafts category that “Pi” should take.
Unless ... “Argo” proves to be an Oscar juggernaut and carries this category along with a few other wins.