According to our exclusive Gold Derby odds derived from the predictions made by our 23 expert journalists, seven in-house staff editors, Top 24 users (those two dozen folks who did the best predicting last year’s winners) and contest entrants like you, legendary Italian maestro Ennio Morricone is the overwhelming favorite to finally win an Oscar for “The Hateful Eight” score.
Let’s take a closer look at why he is so far out in front, and also size up his four rival nominees.
“The Hateful Eight”: Ennio Morricone
The revered Italian composer received his sixth nomination this year for scoring Quentin Tarantino’s epic Western. While Morricone is best known for his many collaborations with Sergio Leone and Giuseppe Tornatore, none of those scores were nominated. His first Oscar bid was for “Days of Heaven (1978) followed by “The Mission” (1986), “The Untouchables” (1987), “Bugsy” (1991) and “Malena (2000). Awarded an honorary Academy Award in 2006, he has never won a competitive Oscar. Tarantino is spearheading an effort to bring attention to this oversight.
Votes: 21/23 Experts; 6/7 Editors; 20/Top 24; 77% of Users
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”: John Williams
Williams is Oscar royalty. He has racked up a staggering 50 nominations with 45 of these for his scores. That tally places him second on the all-time leaderboard only to Walt Disney (with 59). He has won five Oscars for his work on “Fiddler on the Roof” (1971), “Jaws” (1975), “Star Wars” (1977), “ET: The Extra Terrestrial” (1982) and “Schindler’s List” (1993). His’ last nomination was two years ago for “The Book Thief” (which he lost to “Gravity”). Although Morricone is the clear frontrunner in this race, watch out for Williams as the spoiler – he is beloved by academy members and his score for the newest installment in the“Star Wars” franchise has been widely acclaimed as one of his best works.
Votes: 1/7 Editors; 1/ Top 24; 12% of Users
“Carol”: Carter Burwell
Despite his ongoing relationship with Oscar darlings Joel and Ethan Coen (he scored their Best Picture winner “No Country For Old Men” as well as nominees “Fargo,” “A Serious Man” and “True Grit”), Burwell reaped his first Oscar bid for this film by Todd Haynes. He has lost both the Globe and Critics’ Choice races to Morricone. As with “The Hateful Eight” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Carol” was not nominated for Best Picture, indicating a lack of widespread support among the academy. To win, he will have to edge aside the two veterans behind the scores of those films.
Votes: 2/23 Experts; 1/ Top 24; 7% of Users
“Bridge of Spies”: Thomas Newman
Newman has yet to win despite 11 previous bids for such memorable scores like “The Shawshank Redemption” (1994), “American Beauty” (1999) and “Finding Nemo” (2003). His last nomination was two years ago for “Saving Mr Banks” (which he lost to “Gravity”). Newman has been a mainstay in this category over the last two decades and is well overdue for a win, but he is up against Morricone, who has been riding a similar narrative throughout this Oscar season. In Newman’s favor is that “Bridge of Spies” is the only Best Picture nominee in this bunch, which might boost his chances.
Votes: 2% of Users
“Sicario”: Johann Johannsson
This marks his second nomination in a row following last year’s for “The Theory of Everything” (he won the Globe but lost the Oscar to “The Grand Budapest Hotel”). He was among those bested by Morricone at this year’s Globes. Although this relentlessly propulsive score has been well received and would have been a genuine contender in any other year, it doesn’t appear likely that Johannsson will be able to overcome his formidable competition.
Votes: <1% of Users
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