Oscars Predictions: Best Original Score – ‘Blizzard Of Souls’ And Lolita Ritmanis Represent For Female Composers

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UPDATED: Feb. 9, 2021

One woman made this shortlist and it wasn’t the one we expected. Lolita Ritmanis makes the cut for the international feature “Blizzard of Souls,” which didn’t make its respective lineup. Tamar-kali, who delivered great work in “Shirley” will be sitting this one out as will “Emma” and the co-composers Isobel Waller-Bridge and David Schweitzer. Familiarity and legacy typically work well with the music branch which helped surprise inclusions like John Debney and Thomas Newman. That didn’t help Elliot Goldenthal for “The Glorias” unfortunately. Another ding for “Promising Young Woman” and there was a lot of good feedback on “Wolfwalkers” which I thought would make an appearance. Amen and hallelujah for Terence Blanchard, Emile Mosseri, Daniel Pemberton and especially Benjamin Wallfisch.

PRECURSORS LEADER: “Soul” (Pixar) – Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
Awards Circuit Winners Chart (2020-2021)

(from left) Johanna Leonberger (Helena Zengel) and Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Tom Hanks) in News of the World, co-written and directed by Paul Greengrass.
Courtesy of Bruce Talamon/Univer


  1. "News of the World" (Universal Pictures)
    James Newton Howard (composer)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: 8 nominations (most recently for 2008's "Defiance" and 2007's "Michael Clayton")

    DIRECTOR: Paul Greengrass
    SYNOPSIS: A Civil War veteran agrees to deliver a girl, taken by the Kiowa people years ago, to her aunt and uncle, against her will. They travel hundreds of miles and face grave dangers as they search for a place that either can call home.
    STARRING: Tom Hanks, Helena Zengel, Elizabeth Marvel, Mare Winningham, Michael Angelo Covino, Ray McKinnon

  2. "Soul" (Pixar)
    Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Jon Batiste (composers)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: 1 nomination, 1 win (2010's "The Social Network")

    DIRECTOR: Pete Docter, Kemp Powers
    SYNOPSIS: A musician who has lost his passion for music is transported out of his body and must find his way back with the help of an infant soul learning about herself.
    STARRING: Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Questlove, Graham Norton, Angela Bassett, Phylicia Rashad, Daveed Diggs, Wes Studi

  3. "The Midnight Sky" (Netflix)
    Alexandre Desplat (composer)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: 11 nominations, 2 wins (2014's "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and 2017's "The Shape of Water")

    DIRECTOR: George Clooney
    SYNOPSIS: This post-apocalyptic tale follows Augustine, a lonely scientist in the Arctic, as he races to stop Sully and her fellow astronauts from returning home to a mysterious global catastrophe.
    STARRING: George Clooney, Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo, Kyle Chandler, Demián Bichir, Tiffany Boone, Caoilinn Springall

  4. "The Trial of the Chicago 7" (Netflix)
    Daniel Pemberton (composer)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: Aaron Sorkin
    SYNOPSIS: The story of 7 people on trial stemming from various charges surrounding the uprising at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois.
    STARRING: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Sacha Baron Cohen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Keaton, Frank Langella, John Carroll Lynch, Eddie Redmayne, Mark Rylance, Alex Sharp, Jeremy Strong

  5. "Mank" (Netflix)
    Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross (composer)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: 1 nomination, 1 win (2010's "The Social Network")

    DIRECTOR: David Fincher
    SYNOPSIS: 1930s Hollywood is re-evaluated through the eyes of scathing social critic and alcoholic screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz as he races to finish the screenplay of Citizen Kane for Orson Welles.
    STARRING: Tom Burke, Lily Collins, Joseph Cross, Charles Dance, Monika Gossman, Ferdinand Kingsley, Jamie McShane, Tuppence Middleton, Toby Leonard Moore, Gary Oldman, Tom Pelphrey, Amanda Seyfried, Sam Troughton

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Steven Yeun and Yeri Han in “Minari”
Photo courtesy of A24


  1. "Blizzard Of Souls" (Film Movement)
    Lolita Ritmanis (composer)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: Dzintars Dreibergs
    SYNOPSIS: After losing his mother and his home, Arturs finds some consolation in joining the army. However, war is nothing like he imagined.
    STARRING: Oto Brantevics, Greta Trusina, Martins Vilsons 

  2. "Minari" (A24)
    Emile Mosseri (composer)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: Lee Isaac Chung
    SYNOPSIS: A Korean family moves to Arkansas to start a farm in the 1980s.
    STARRING:Steven Yeun, Yeri Han, Alan S. Kim, Yuh-jung Youn, Will Patton

  3. "Tenet" (Warner Bros.)
    Ludwig Göransson (composer)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: 1 nomination, 1 win (2018's "Black Panther")

    DIRECTOR: Christopher Nolan
    SYNOPSIS: Armed with only one word, Tenet, and fighting for the survival of the entire world, a Protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time.
    STARRING: John David Washington, Elizabeth Debicki, Robert Pattinson, Michael Caine, Kenneth Branagh

  4. "Da 5 Bloods" (Netflix)
    Terence Blanchard (composer)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: 1 nomination (2018's "BlacKkKlansman")

    DIRECTOR: Spike Lee
    SYNOPSIS: Four African American vets battle the forces of man and nature when they return to Vietnam seeking the remains of their fallen squad leader and the gold fortune he helped them hide.
    STARRING: Delroy Lindo, Clarke Peters, Jonathan Majors, Chadwick Boseman, Isiah Witlock, Jr,, Norm Lewis

  5. "The Little Things" (HBO Max/Warner Bros.)
    Thomas Newman (composer)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: 15 nominations (most recently for 2019's "1917")

    DIRECTOR: John Lee Hancock
    SYNOPSIS: Two cops track down a serial killer.
    STARRING: Denzel Washington, Jared Leto, Rami Malek

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Gong Li in “Mulan”
Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures


  1. "Ammonite" (Neon)
    Dustin O'Halloran, Volker Bertelmann (composers)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: 1 nominations (2016's "Lion")

    DIRECTOR: Francis Lee
    : 1840s England, acclaimed but overlooked fossil hunter Mary Anning and a young woman sent to convalesce by the sea develop an intense relationship, altering both of their lives forever.
    : Kate Winslet, Saoirse Ronan, Fiona Shaw, Gemma Jones, James McArdle

  2. "Mulan" (Disney Plus)
    Henry Gregson Williams

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    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: Niki Caro
    SYNOPSIS: A young Chinese maiden disguises herself as a male warrior in order to save her father.
    STARRING: Yifei Liu, Donnie Yen, Gong Li, Tzi Ma, Jet Li, Jason Scott Lee, Yosan An, Rosalind Chao

  3. "The Life Ahead" (Netflix)
    Gabriel Yared (composer)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: 3 nominations, 1 win (1996's "The English Patient")

    DIRECTOR: Edoardo Ponti
    : In seaside Italy, a Holocaust survivor with a daycare business takes in a 12-year-old street kid who recently robbed her..
    : Sophia Loren, Ibrahima Gueye

  4. "The Invisible Man" (Universal Pictures)
    Benjamin Wallfisch (composer)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: Leigh Whannell
    SYNOPSIS: When Cecilia's abusive ex takes his own life and leaves her his fortune, she suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of coincidences turn lethal, Cecilia works to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see.
    STARRING: Elisabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge, Harriet Dyer, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Storm Reid, Michael Dorman

  5. "Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey" (Netflix)
    John Debney (composer)

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    DIRECTOR: David E. Talbert
    SYNOPSIS: Set in the gloriously vibrant town of Cobbleton, the film follows legendary toymaker Jeronicus Jangle whose fanciful inventions burst with whimsy and wonder. But when his trusted apprentice steals his most prized creation, it’s up to his equally bright and inventive granddaughter — and a long-forgotten invention — to heal old wounds and reawaken the magic within.
    STARRING: Forest Whitaker, Madelen Mills, Keegan-Michael Key, Hugh Bonneville, Ricky Martin, Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni Rose 

† = no release date scheduled / could be delayed / may not be eligible
†† = could be campaigned in the lead or supporting categories / original or adapted screenplay categories
††† = official eligible nominees not yet determined by AMPAS

About makeup and hairstyling category:
The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. Rick Baker (“Men in Black”), who is now retired, has the distinction of most nominations with 11 and wins with seven. Greg Cannon (“Bram Stoker’s Dracula”) is closest to him in both regards with 10 mentions over his career with four wins. The most decorated woman in this space is Ve Neill (“Mrs. Doubtfire”).

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