Barbie and Oppenheimer are set to sweep The Oscars this year and it’s no surprise to anybody. Specifically, both films are being seriously considered for Best Original Score, along with 14 other 2023 features. According to Variety, Academy voters are having a hard time narrowing the list.
16 Films Considered For Best Score
Modern movies like Barbie, Oppenheimer, The Color Purple, and American Fiction make it more difficult than ever for Academy voters to pick and choose which films to nominate for Best Score. There was once a time when film scores sounded generally the same, or at least followed a specific trend of style. Nowadays, however, films range from hip-hop to jazz to pop to avant-garde, making it particularly subjective as to which features are the best.
16 movies are being considered for nomination this year. Amongst them, Barbie, composed by Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt, and Oppenheimer, composed by Ludwig Göransson, are standing in the spotlight, already ready to claim what many will consider their well-deserved golden statuettes.
Barbie Composer Previously Won Best Song For A Star Is Born
Ronson and Wyatt are already an Academy Award-winning duo, having won Best Original Song for A Star is Born’s “Shallow” in 2019. The pair not only oversaw the production of numerous songs in Barbie—the biggest box-office hit of the year—but they also took charge of composing the music that weaves between those captivating vocals. Meanwhile, Ludwig Göransson, the composer for Oppenheimer, is also already an Oscar winner for Black Panther and a double Emmy recipient for The Mandalorian.
The Challenging Composition Of Oppenheimer
Göransson faced the challenge of channeling the complex emotions of physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer in Christopher Nolan’s epic Oppenheimer. Göransson’s three months of musical experimentation resulted in a sonic landscape that traverses Oppenheimer’s haunting loneliness to the impending doom of the nuclear age. It’s a drastic difference from the rhythmic and synth-infused pop beats found in Barbie.
Creating The Movies’ Dynamic Scores
The synth-pop worked for Barbie, however, creating a harmonious resonance with the characters of Barbie, Ken, and their friends, both in the fantastical Barbieland and the real world. Unlike Oppenheimer’s Göransson, Ronson and Wyatt were first-time composers when they stepped into the recording studio for the Mattel film and they acknowledged, “We had to learn everything on the job, and sometimes we learned by falling on our faces.”Meanwhile, the Swedish composer who created Oppenheimer’s dramatic score is known for his versatility. In a steep contrast to the pop of Barbie, Göransson seamlessly blends lush, organic sounds with modern production techniques. As Göransson navigates Oppenheimer’s emotional journey, the audience is taken on a musical odyssey that enhances the film’s narrative depth.
The Oscars Airs March 10, 2024
While Barbie and Oppenheimer stand out as frontrunners, the Oscars 2024 promises a symphony of diverse and accomplished contenders. From the jazz-infused score of American Fiction by Laura Karpman to the stylistically wide-ranging compositions of Branford Marsalis for Rustin, the field is rich with talent. Which is, undoubtedly, why it’s so difficult for the Academy voters to make a decision.So, which composer is going home with a little golden statue on March 10 next year? Will it be Ronson and Wyatt with their infectious pop beats of Barbie or the evocative soundscape of Göransson’s Oppenheimer that claims the spotlight? We’ll know soon enough.