The race for Best Original Score is marked by experimentation and invention, highlighted by the innovative frontrunner “Dune,” “The Power of the Dog,” “Spencer,” “Cyrano,” “King Richard,” “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” “Nightmare Alley,” and “Candyman.” Plus, two animated musicals — both graced by the songwriting chops of the very hot Lin-Manuel Miranda — experiment with the cultural sounds of Colombia and Cuba: Disney’s magical “Encanto” (from Germaine Franco, the studio’s first woman composer to score an animated feature), and Sony/Netflix’s “Vivo” (scored by Alex Lacamoire).

Jonny Greenwood achieves his own masterful musical invention for Jane Campion’s psychological western, “The Power of the Dog” (Netflix). Inspired by the repression and savagery of Montana rancher Phil (Benedict Cumberbatch), Greenwood twists orchestral instruments into unique sounds to convey his loneliness, isolation, and yearning set against the beautiful landscape and his prison-like ranch house. A cello becomes a banjo for a unique sophistication, an atonal piano evokes pain, and French horns and strings have an aching quality. Greenwood essentially turns his score into a nightmare. (Greenwood also contends for “Spencer,” Pablo Larraín’s fable about the painful Christmas holiday of ’91 for Kristen Stewart’s Princess Diana. His score is about the colorful chaos of jazz set against the traditional orchestra that represents the Royal family. It starts with a baroque orchestra that mutates into free jazz by substituting instruments, one at a time, with the jazz performers.)….

In a season blessed by experimentation and invention, Hans Zimmer's "Dune" frontrunner goes up against Jonny Greenwood's "The Power of the Dog."

“King Richard”
“The Power of the Dog”
“The Tragedy of Macbeth”

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