Here Are the 146 Original Scores Eligible for Oscar; ‘Arrival’ and ‘Silence’ Disqualified

     December 14, 2016


The Academy has unveiled a massive list of original scores that are eligible for this year’s Best Original Score Oscar, but as always, there are a few noticeable absences. The Academy’s music voting branch has a pretty stringent set of rules that result in baffling disqualifications every year, and one of 2016’s casualties is Johann Johannsson’s tremendous work on the sci-fi film Arrival. Why was this score deemed ineligible? Well, the Academy’s rules state that a score “shall not be eligible if it has been diluted by the use of pre-existing music, or it has been diminished in impact by the predominant use of songs or any music not composed specifically for the film by the submitting composer.”

The issue with Arrival comes down to the use of composer Max Richter’s piece “On the Nature of Daylight”, which bookends the film and serves as something of an emotional gutpunch. The piece was previously used in Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island, and even though over 80% of the Arrival music is Johansson’s original work, it appears the music branch has decided that the composer’s score was overshadowed by Richter’s piece, which wasn’t composed specifically for this film.


Image via Paramount

While it’s frustrating that Johansson—who was nominated for his terrifying work last year on Sicario—won’t be in the Oscar race, I do kind of see the branch’s point on this particular film. While one would hope the music branch would be able to differentiate between Richter’s piece and Johansson’s guttural, unsettling original score that permeates throughout the rest of the film, when voting opens up to the Academy at large after the nominations are announced, it’s possible many would mistake “On the Nature of Daylight” to be part of Johansson’s score.

Also deemed ineligible by a rule deeming them “not substantial enough” are Lesley Barber’s score for Manchester by the Sea and Kim Allen Kluge and Kathryn Kluge’s compositions for Scorsese’s Silence.

Johansson was considered a contender for the trophy this year, so with him out, where does that leave us? Well Mica Levi’s work on Jackie is absolutely astounding, so that’s up there, as is Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka’s work on Lion. There’s also Justin Hurwitz’s score for La La Land and Nick Cave and Warren Ellis’ work on Hell or High Water to consider. And yes, while John Williams didn’t score Rogue One, he’s definitely in the race this year with The BFG.

Check out the full list of eligible scores below. The music branch will whittle these down to the final nominees, to be announced in January.


Image via Disney

“The Abolitionists,” Tim Jones, composer
“Absolutely Fabulous The Movie,” Jake Monaco, composer
“The Accountant,” Mark Isham, composer
“Alice through the Looking Glass,” Danny Elfman, composer
“Allied,” Alan Silvestri, composer
“Almost Christmas,” John Paesano, composer
“American Pastoral,” Alexandre Desplat, composer
“The Angry Birds Movie,” Heitor Pereira, composer
“Anthropoid,” Robin Foster, composer
“Armenia, My Love,” Silvia Leonetti, composer
“Assassin’s Creed,” Jed Kurzel, composer
“Autumn Lights,” Hugi Gudmundsson and Hjörtur Ingvi Jóhannsson, composers
“The BFG,” John Williams, composer
“Believe,” Michael Reola, composer
“Ben-Hur,” Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders, composers
“Bilal,” Atli Ӧrvarsson, composer
“Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,” Mychael Danna and Jeff Danna, composers
“The Birth of a Nation,” Henry Jackman, composer
“Bleed for This,” Julia Holter, composer
“The Boss,” Christopher Lennertz, composer
“Bridget Jones’s Baby,” Craig Armstrong, composer
“The Bronze,” Andrew Feltenstein and John Nau, composers
“Captain America: Civil War,” Henry Jackman, composer
“The Charnel House,” Todd Haberman, composer
“The Choice,” Marcelo Zarvos, composer
“Collateral Beauty,” Theodore Shapiro, composer


Image via 20th Century Fox

“The Conjuring 2,” Joseph Bishara, composer
“Criminal,” Bryan Tyler and Keith Power, composers
“Deadpool,” Tom Holkenborg, composer
“Deepwater Horizon,” Steve Jablonsky, composer
“Denial,” Howard Shore, composer
“Doctor Strange,” Michael Giacchino, composer
“The Dressmaker,” David Hirschfelder, composer
“Eddie the Eagle,” Matthew Margeson, composer
“The Edge of Seventeen,” Atli Ӧrvarsson, composer
“Elle,” Anne Dudley, composer

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