Know Your 2017 Oscar Nominees: Original Score

We’ve gone big for our Oscars coverage this year. Our annual "Know Your Nominee" series once again looks at every category, giving you the information you need to conquer your Oscars pool. Learn more about the nominees for Lead ActorForeign Language FilmCostume DesignersDocumentary ShortEditingLive Action ShortActress in a Supporting RoleMakeup & HairstylingAnimated FeatureDocumentary FeatureOriginal Song,  Visual EffectsProduction DesignAdapted ScreenplaySound Editing & MixingActress in a Leading RoleActor in a Supporting Role, Cinematography, Director, and Original Screenplay. Now we turn to Original Score.

In addition to the series, this year we've created a special look at the awards—The Road to the Oscars. Click on the image below to learn more about this year's crop of Oscar nominated films and filmmakers, and the effect their contributions have had on the country at large.

Mica Levi – Jackie

Mica Levi’s score for Jackie softly envelopes the film and does its best to comfort without being intrusive. The unsettling strings capture the disorienting and fragile time that rise with the endurance and determination of the former First Lady. Each track is a delicate, feminine backdrop to the most heartbreaking time in the life of an American icon.

Justin Hurwitz – La La Land

Jazz musical La La Land is a rosy celebration of struggling artists following their dreams. Composer Justin Hurwitz was intricately involved from the beginning of the creative process which really shaped the film’s trajectory. The score becomes a main character as the songs propel the plot with an introspective look at a passion for music. Even in the slow tempo ballads, there’s hope and whimsy that sends audiences floating in the stars. From haunting melodies to showstoppers that brought audiences to their feet, it would be difficult to believe that the instant classic wouldn’t take home the gold.

Dustin O’Hallaoran and Hauschka – Lion

The score for Lion is a musical journey from longing to discovery and is a beautiful accompaniment to an incredible story. The music captures love and loss without ever growing bitter. It’s a classic full orchestra score that grounds the story that would be unbelievable if it weren’t true.

Thomas Newman – Passengers

Space adventure Passengers draws on the feeling of being alone in the vast expanse of outer space more than the futuristic intensity of the film’s voyage. It feels personal, choosing to focus on the story’s humanity. Heavily piano driven, the score reflects the solidarity of the travelers awoken 90 years too soon.

Nicholas Britell – Moonlight

You may not expect Nicholas Britell’s masterful piano tracks to drive Moonlight, but with a unique method he calls ‘chopped and screwed’, the music is a perfect fit. By manipulating the acoustic music he recorded, he was able to blend his classical training and southern hip hop. The score was masterfully crafted and is as powerful as the film. In a year without an original musical nominee in the category, it would have been a favorite to win. 


Kelle Long

Kelle has written about film and TV for The Credits since 2016. Follow her on Twitter @molaitdc for interviews with really cool film and TV artists and only occasional outbursts about Broadway, tennis, and country music. Please no talking or texting during the movie. Unless it is a musical, then sing along loudly.