2020 ‘Best Original Score’ Oscar Predictions

Posted: December 2, 2019 by filmmusicreporter in Film Music News

Starting today, we are publishing our predictions in the Best Original Score category for the 92nd Academy Awards on the left side column of this page. The selection and ranking is based on our own experience of the scores in context of the movies, reactions of Academy music branch members and others in the film/music community, the level of awards campaigning, historical data and the response to the movies in other categories. The order of the titles in the ranking is likely to shift as some movies have yet to be released or are early in their release cycle and more reactions are coming in. Our ranking also does not reflect our prediction of the winner in the category as a different voting body will vote on the winners next year after nominations are announced.

The Frontrunners:

  1. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker* – John Williams
  2. 1917 – Thomas Newman
  3. Joker – Hildur Gudnadottir
  4. Marriage Story – Randy Newman
  5. Little Women – Alexandre Desplat
  6. Avengers: Endgame – Alan Silvestri
  7. Ford v Ferrari – Marco Beltrami & Buck Sanders


  1. Us – Michael Abels
  2. Pain and Glory – Alberto Iglesias
  3. Jojo Rabbit – Michael Giacchino
  4. Parasite – Jaeil Jung
  5. The Song of Names – Howard Shore
  6. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World – John Powell
  7. The Biggest Little Farm– Jeff Beal
  8. Downton Abbey – John Lunn

* Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is the only title on our list (and realistic nomination possibility this season) we have not seen or heard and it has yet to be confirmed whether the score will be eligible and has been submitted in time.

Just as last year, the Academy will announce a short list of 15 original scores later this month and if any of the scores listed above fail to be shortlisted, our predictions will be updated accordingly. One title that definitely would have made our frontrunner predictions, but is expected to be ineligible (or might not have even been submitted) given the movie’s extensive use of instrumental non-score music is A Hidden Life by James Newton Howard.

The 92nd Academy Awards will be presented on February 9, 2019 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

  1. Daniel says:

    My pick would be A Hidden Life by JNH. Yes, there were a lot of non-score music, but the majority must have been original score, me thinks.

  2. Dylan E. says:

    1. 1917
    2. Joker
    3. Jojo Rabbit
    4. Little Women
    5. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

  3. Hasan Namir says:

    My predictions:

    1) 1917 – Thomas Newman
    2) Star Wars- the Rise of Skywalker – John Williams
    3) Little Women – Alexandre Desplat
    4) Joker – Hildur Guondottir
    5) How to Train Your Dragon 3 – John Powell

  4. Mefisto says:

    1) 1917 – Thomas Newman
    2) Star Wars- the Rise of Skywalker – John Williams
    3) Little Women – Alexandre Desplat
    4) Joker – Hildur Guondottir
    5) Us – Michael Abels

  5. Penderghast says:

    It goes to show that the Oscars truly mean nothing. It’s never about the music, it’s not even about the quality of the movies themselves; it’s only about the exposure they get and buzz they generate. A complete joke. Star Wars isn’t even out yet and it’s already clear that the Academy is gonna suck Williams’ dick so hard that it’s gonna add another five years to his current life expectancy.

  6. liamdude5 says:

    Out of these, I would say How to Train Your Dragon is the best one.

  7. octagonproplex says:

    01. Thomas Newman (1917)
    02. Daniel Pemberton (MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN)
    03. Hildur Gudnadottir (JOKER)
    04. Tom Holkenborg (ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL)
    05. Max Ritcher 7 Lorne Balfe (AD ASTRA)
    06. Nicholas Britell (THE KING)
    07. James Newton Howard (A HIDDEN LIFE)
    08. The Haxan Cloak (MIDSOMMAR)
    09. Marco Beltrami & Buck Sanders (FORD v FERRARI)
    10. Alexandre Desplat (LITTLE WOMEN)
    11. Benjamin Wallfisch (SHAZAM!)
    12. Randy Newman (MARRIAGE STORY)
    13. Michael Giacchino (JOJO RABBIT)
    14. Howard Shore (THE SONG OF NAMES)
    15. Carter Burwell (MISSING LINK)
    16. Alan Silvestri (AVENGERS: END GAME)
    17. Alberto Iglesias (PAIN & GLORY)
    18. Jaeil Jung (PARASITE)
    19. John Powell (HTTYD: HIDDEN WORLD)
    20. John WIlliams (RISE OF SKYWALKER)