In a way, this year's Grammy race for Best Visual Media Score is a rematch of the 2014 Oscars. Because of the recording academy's unique eligibility period (October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015), this contest includes score soundtracks from some of last year's Oscar contenders.
That includes Alexandre Desplat ("The Imitation Game"), who is nominated for the seventh time in this category and has won it twice before, for "The King's Speech" (2011) and "The Grand Budapest Hotel" (2014). He finally won his first Oscar last year for "Grand Budapest" competing against his own "Imitation Game" score, but the Grammys' different eligibility period means he has a chance to win here two in a row.
He faces two of his 2014 Oscar rivals. Hans Zimmer competes for "Interstellar," and though the veteran composer has only won one Oscar he's actually a four-time Grammy-champ. He won this category for "The Dark Knight" in 2008. He also won this award for "Crimson Tide" (1995) when it was presented as Best Instrumental Composition for Film or Television. And in 1994 he prevailed twice for "The Lion King": Best Musical Album for Children, as well as Best Instrumental Arrangement for the song "Circle of Life."
Joining them is Johann Johannson, who earned his first Oscar nomination last year for "The Theory of Everything" and also won a Golden Globe for that score. Now he's nominated in this Grammy race for the first time.
The other two nominees in this contest might have been nominated for Oscars, but they were deemed ineligible by the motion picture academy. Antonio Sanchez contended at the Golden Globes and BAFTA Awards and won the Critics' Choice Award for his "Birdman" score, along with various other critics' prizes and nominations, but the Oscars ruled him out. Now he's up for his first Grammy in this category, though he's already a three-time winner in jazz categories for his work with the Pat Metheny Group.
Justin Hurwitz's "Whiplash" score was also disqualified by the Oscars. Like Sanchez's "Birdman" compositions, "Whiplash" is driven by jazz drums. But unlike Sanchez, Hurwitz has never won a Grammy before, in this category or otherwise.
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Photo credits: Alexandre Desplat by Jim Smeal/BEI/REX; Antonio Sanchez by Eric Charbonneau/REX