There may be no Oscar category less predictable this year than Best Score. But could the Grammys point the way to the winner? The recording academy honored the year’s best musical achievements on Sunday night, and two of the Oscar nominees were among the victors: Ludwig Goransson (“Black Panther”) and Terence Blanchard (“BlacKkKlansman”). Does that boost their chances with the motion picture academy?
Goransson won Best Visual Media Score for his “Black Panther” compositions. He defeated last year’s Oscar winner, Alexandre Desplat (“The Shape of Water”), as well as John Williams (“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”), Michael Giacchino (“Coco”) and Benjamin Wallfisch and Hans Zimmer (“Blade Runner 2049”). Goransson also claimed Record of the Year and Song of the Year for his work on Childish Gambino‘s “This is America.” That isn’t nominated at the Oscars, of course, but Oscar voters might be aware of it.
Meanwhile, Blanchard claimed Best Instrumental Composition for “Blut Und Boden (Blood and Soil),” an individual selection from his “Klansman” score. He also beat Desplat for “The Shape of Water,” as well as Williams and John Powell (“Mine Mission” from “Solo: A Star Wars Story”), Alan Silvestri (“Infinity War” from “Avengers: Infinity War”) and Jeremy Kittel (“Chrysalis”).
So if “Panther” and “Klansman” could both beat the reigning Oscar champ for Best Score, they could surely win the Oscar this year, right? Well … maybe. “The Shape of Water” was released more than a year ago, so its overall awards momentum had waned by the time Grammy voters got around to it. And the Grammys’ unique eligibility period (October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018) meant that “Black Panther” and “BlacKkKlansman” weren’t up against the current Oscar-nominated scores from “If Beale Street Could Talk” (Nicholas Britell) and “Mary Poppins Returns” (Marc Shaiman), which came out after the cutoff date.
But this has been an unusual year in general for Best Score at the Oscars, where we have no precursor awards to guide our predictions. The Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Awards picked Justin Hurwitz for “First Man,” but he was snubbed at the Oscars. And while the BAFTAs have an award for Best Original Music, they consider songs as well as scores, so they picked Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga and Lukas Nelson for “A Star is Born,” which is also not nominated for Best Score at the Oscars.
So your best option for predicting the Oscar might be to consult a psychic or learn how to read Tarot cards. But for what it’s worth, the combined predictions of Gold Derby’s users point to “Beale Street” as the likely winner with leading odds of 10/3. “Black Panther” ranks second with 39/10 odds. “Mary Poppins” is next with 4/1 odds. And “BlacKkKlansman” and “Isle of Dogs” (Desplat) both trail with 9/2 odds. One way or another, it’ll be time to face the music on February 24.
Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until winners are announced on February 24.