- John Williams (War Horse)Five-time Academy Award WINNER John Williams is a living legend and his collaborations with Spielberg usually result at least a nomination in the best original score category, and he even won for 3 Spielberg-films (Jaws, E.T., Schindler's list). At this point, he is – as always – the early frontrunner.
- Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)They've just won last year, I don't think they could pull a 'Santaolalla'.
- Thomas Newman (The Help OR The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)He has been nominated 10-times (!!!) and the Academy still didn't feel the pressure to award him. He is one of my favourite composers (Fried Green Tomatos, Scent of a Woman, Shawshank Redemption, Little Women, American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Finding Nemo, Cinderella Man) so I am definitely rooting for him.
- Alexandre Desplat (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows)Four-time Academy Award-nominee Desplat has the advantage of scoring the final part of an iconic franchise.
- John Williams (The Adventures of Tintin)Could he pull off double duty AGAIN ? It wouldn't be surprising at all.
- Howard Shore (Hugo Cabret)He is always a solid bet.
- Howard Shore (A Dangerous Method)Ditto.
- Michael Giacchino (Cars 2)Recent winner Giacchino is a triple threat this year, his best shot is obviously the Pixar-film.
- Michael Giacchino (Super 8)Ditto.
- John Powell (Happy Feet 2)
- John Powell (Rio)Ditto.
- James Newton Howard (Water for Elephants)Eight-time Academy Award-nominee James Newton Howard is automatically a contender, although he might face split votes this year since he has 5 films coming out in 2011.
- Hans Zimmer (Sherlock Holmes 2)He got in for the first one, so he might as well be a contender this time around, as well.
- Hans Zimmer (Pirates of the Caribbean 4)He is battling against himself AGAIN, but I think his best shot is still the Holmes-sequel.
- Hans Zimmer (Rango)Ditto.
- Alan Silvestri (Captain America)In my opinion, he should have won for Forrest Gump, but that's just me. IF this score will be 'epic' enough, he could get his long overdue second nomination in this category.
- Mychael Danna (Moneyball)I REALLY liked his Being Julia-score and if the film will be a player, so will he.
- Dario Marianelli (Jane Eyre)He has an excellent track record when it comes to period romances (Pride and Prejudice, Atonement), so he definitely has a shot.
- Rachel Portman (One Day)I love her work especially The Cider House Rules, Chocolat, Emma, Never let me go and The Duchess, so I am fairly certain she'll do a great job with this, too. She also has a tiny chance with Bel Ami, but that film HAS to be great to be even considered for consideration.
- Gabriel Yared (In the Land of Blood and Honey)The Academy Award-winning Yared is definitely capable of delivering an outstanding score for this war romance...I mean he COULD do the same for The English Patient and Cold Mountain.
- Alberto Iglesias (Carnage)The Academy tends to go for powerful, over-the-top scores and this probably won't be it considering Carnage is a quiet, witty drama. We'll see!
- Alberto Iglesias (The Skin I live in)IF the score is uniqe enough...
- Patrick Doyle (Thor)He did a good job, but not necessarily a great job and that AND the early release date will hurt his chances.
- Bret McKenzie (The Muppets)I don't know what to expect from this one, at this point I wouldn't be surprised if it got disqualified Enchanted-style.
- Heitor Pereira (The Smurfs)Ditto.
- Alexandre Desplat (The Ides of March)Although rules allow double nominations in this category, I don't think Desplat could pull it off. If he gets in, it will be probably for Deathly Hallows.
- Gustavo Santaolalla (On the Road)He has an excellent track record (he won for Brokeback Mountain and Babel in consecutive years...and to think James Newton Howard, Thomas Newman, Ennio Morricone have never won...), so a nomination might just happen, but a third victory is out of the realm of possibilities in my opinion. He won for Brokeback Mountain because it was the frontrunner that year and it was the only category the Academy could award the strong bp-bd contender that was Babel. It's highly unlikely at the moment, that On the Road could emerge as such a strong contender as those two were.
- The Chemical Brothers (Hanna)One can only dream...for what it's worth, they did an excellent job.
- Cliff Martinez (Contagion OR Drive)Martinez – who scored Traffic – could be very strong this year thanks to Soderbergh's latest and Cannes-darling Drive.
- Christopher Young (The Rum Diary)He has been around for a long, long time so whatever happens to the film, a career nomination for Young could definitely happen.
- Ludovic Bource (The Artist)If the film turned out to be a best picture nominee, than he would have a much better shot already but a lot will depend on how much of the music is actually original.
- Ilan Eshkeri (Coriolanus)I love his work especially Stardust and The Young Victoria, if his score will be haunting and unique enough, than he will be considered. For what it's worth, I genuinely believe he WILL get his first nomination sooner or later.
- Michael Giacchino (50 / 50)Although there is a slight chance he will get a nomination for this, my money is on Cars 2 OR Super 8...IF he even gets a nomination this year.
- Harry Gregson Williams (Cowboys and Aliens)Although he has never been nominated, he is still one of the most sought-after composers in the business. Could this be his year ? I doubt it.
- Fall on Your Sword (Another Earth)There is always place for a surprise nominee...
- Fernando Velázquez (The Impossible)The source material pretty much demands a powerful score, the question is : could he pull it off ?
- Abel Korzniowski (W.E.)His work on A Single Man was outstanding, unique and iconic. If he can bring the same quality to this project, he could sneak in.
- James Newton Howard (Green Lantern)He has three films this year and for some reason, none of those strikes me as movies that the Academy would go for in this category.
- James Newton Howard (Larry Crowne)Ditto.
- John Debney (Dream House)Academy Award-nominee Debney (The Passion of the Christ) is one of the busiest composers in Hollywood, yet he rarely wows the audience although he always delivers solid music. He has six releases this year, Dream House sounds the 'baitiest'.
WAITING FOR A COMPOSER
- Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
- The Descendants
- The Iron Lady
- My Week with Marilyn
- Wuthering Heights
- We bought a Zoo
- In Time
- Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
- Machine Gun Preacher