2019 ‘Best Original Score’ Oscar Predictions

Posted: November 26, 2018 by filmmusicreporter in Film Music News

Starting today, we are publishing our predictions in the Best Original Score category for the 91st 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 and the response to the movies in other categories.It should be noted that there are a few movies that are likely being submitted for Oscar consideration this year (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, The MuleBumblebee, Aquaman, Welcome to Marwen, All Is True) that we have not seen yet, and the list will be updated if any of those should turn into contenders within the next two weeks. The order of the titles in the ranking is also likely to shift as some movies have yet to be released or are early in their release cycle and more reactions are coming in.

The Frontrunners:

  1. Mary Poppins Returns – Marc Shaiman
  2. If Beale Street Could Talk – Nicholas Britell
  3. Black Panther – Ludwig Goransson
  4. First Man – Justin Hurwitz
  5. BlacKkKlansman – Terence Blanchard
  6. Isle of Dogs – Alexandre Desplat
  7. Colette – Thomas Ades


  1. Vice – Nicholas Britell
  2. Suspiria – Thom Yorke
  3. Green Book – Kris Bowers
  4. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – Carter Burwell
  5. Mary Queen of Scots – Max Richter

The Academy has yet to announce the list of eligible scores, but we expect all of the titles listed above to be eligible. Shaiman’s music for Mary Poppins Returns includes some musical material of the Sherman Brothers’ score for the original Mary Poppins movie, but we think it’s not substantial enough to be a cause for ineligibility and Colette uses some instrumental music (by Claude Debussy, Erik Satie, among others) that could be confused with Ades’ score among voting Academy members, but as the composer’s score dominates, we also expect it to be eligible. As announced earlier this year, the Academy will also announce a short list of 15 original scores in mid-December and if any of the scores fail to be shortlisted, our predictions will be updated accordingly. The 91st Academy Awards will be presented on February 24, 2019 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

  1. rummeltime says:

    If there’s any justice, Mary Poppins has this locked. The score is incredibly strong.

  2. Brian F says:

    Mission Impossible Fallout

    • Tor says:

      Yeah, that would be a good nomination for Best Stuntwork. Hope it’s a new category next year.

  3. Michael says:

    Widows and Mission Impossible should be on the list . What on earth was this list based on !!!

    • JK says:

      Both strong possibilities if the public or the whole membership would be voting (hence why you might see Golden Globe or BAFTA nominations for one of them), but with the Academy’s music branch, don’t see that happening.

    • LKJDSF says:

      Maybe they are not included because both are piece of shit?

  4. Max says:

    Balfe’s score to Mission Impossible Fallout was one of the best soundtracks this year for sure.

    • lsdkjfal says:

      is that supposed to be a joke or you are either insane or have no clue what you are talking about…

  5. liamdude5 says:

    I would like to see either Black Panther, Isle of Dogs, or Buster Scruggs win.

  6. TJ says:

    I’d take Missiom Fallout over Black Panther.
    Balfe’s score fitted the film perfectly.

  7. Andreas says:

    Usual list of suggestions !next time try and don’t be so predictable

  8. Ds says:

    In my opinion a very weak list with a few WTF names on it. Isle of Dogs was annoying as hell even in the movie (never in my life would I dare listening to it separately), and Black Panther lol what can I say, nothing more than a slightly above-average MCU score. I really don’t think that one has any chance of being nominated. I also don’t get why so many fans even think Black Panther is Oscar material in any of the categories. Sure, it was fun, but that’s pretty much it. Just one more average blockbuster in a rather disappointing year.

    • John F. says:

      Why don’t you list the scores that you think will be nominated and then we’ll see in January if you’re better at this? Unlike some soundtrack “fans”, I think the Academy tends to judge how they function in the movies and not as you put how if you would want to listen to it separately.

      • Samual says:

        Don’t think they do .its always what the trend is . That’s why Nolan’s never gets a win and neither will a film like Mission Impossible .

    • Michael says:

      typical snobbish fan who complain about everything. The Academy while they are biased at least they are more open minded than people like you who don’t enjoy anything

      • scrat28 says:

        So I think Black Panther is not spectacularly good, and I hate Isle of Dogs, so I’m officially someone who doesn’t like anything? If I didn’t like any score, believe me I wouldn’t be reading news on filmmusicreporter!

  9. Vita says:

    First Man will kill it…