Oscar nominated composer Jonny Greenwood (“Phantom Thread”) took an unconventional route to film scores. His primary claim to fame is as a keyboardist and guitarist for the celebrated alternative rock band Radiohead. But if he wins Best Score this year he wouldn’t be the first rock star to prevail.
Greenwood has won three Grammys with Radiohead: Best Alternative Album for “OK Computer” (1998), “Kid A” (2001) and “In Rainbows” (2009). He first transitioned into film by composing the score for the 2003 documentary “Bodysong,” after which he began a recurring collaboration with director Paul Thomas Anderson, scoring his movies “There Will Be Blood” (2007), “The Master” (2012), “Inherent Vice” (2014) and now “Phantom Thread” (2017). This is his first Oscar nom, which itself might encourage some voters to check off his name. His “There Will Be Blood” score was actually disqualified from the Oscars despite earning a nomination at the BAFTAs and winning multiple critics’ awards, including Critics’ Choice. So the academy may wish to make it up to him.
And Greenwood would follow in the footsteps of some other Oscar winning rockers who claimed Best Score over the years. The Beatles won Best Song Score for the music documentary “Let it Be” (1970), and Prince won the same race for his original music from “Purple Rain” (1984). But those were for songs. To find a rocker like Greenwood who won for a more traditional underscore you have to fast forward to “The Social Network” (2010), David Fincher‘s film about the founding of Facebook that used eerie music composed by Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. So there’s precedent for the academy to look beyond more traditional composers.
But “Phantom Thread” currently ranks second in our predictions with odds of 15/2 based on the combined forecasts of thousands of users who have made their picks at Gold Derby thus far. Greenwood is hoping to upset Alexandre Desplat for “The Shape of Water,” who has leading odds of 2/7, but three of the Expert journalists we’ve polled are betting on a Greenwood surprise: Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post), Kyle Buchanan (Vulture) and Kevin Polowy (Yahoo). Do you agree with them that Greenwood is the dark horse to watch?
Be sure to check out how our experts rank Oscar contenders in all 24 categories. Use the drop-down menus at the top of each page to see the other categories. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your Oscar winner predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on March 4.