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Best of hoopla: Oscar-Nominated Film Scores

woman listening to music on headphones

There are a million reasons to love hoopla. Using only your library card and an internet connection you can access a massive collection of e-books, audiobooks, movies, and music. Better yet, you never have to wait on hoopla items because they are always available. What’s even more impressive is that the curators at hoopla are constantly updating their digital library with the latest releases. In January the Academy Award nominees were announced and I always look forward to hearing the nominees for “Best Music (Original Score),” so I was elated to find that hoopla already had all five of the nominees available to check out!


Dunkirk cover

Dunkirk – Hans Zimmer

Hans Zimmer has become the go-to composer for major blockbuster films. Some of the orchestral behemoths under his belt include his scores for the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Gladiator, and The Dark Knight series. Despite his 112 film and television credits and his eleven Oscar nominations, he’s only gone home with one golden trophy – it was for his score to The Lion King in 1995. Zimmer also runs Remote Control Productions, a company through which he has fostered many rising stars in film, television, and video game scoring. Current and former protégés include Harry Gregson-Williams, Ramin Djawadi, and Pharell Williams.

Phantom Thread  cover

Phantom Thread – Jonny Greenwood

Many Radiohead fans may already be aware of the genius of guitarist and composer Jonny Greenwood. In 2008 he made huge waves with the release of his first ever original film score for Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood. He has since been the sole composer for all of Anderson’s projects. Jonny Greenwood is definitely one of the most original composers working in film. Apart from being a major force behind Radiohead’s success, he has also studied with some of the greatest living composers of classical music, including Krzysztof Penderecki. His scores are modern, fresh, and perfectly suited to the films they accompany.

The Shape of Water cover

The Shape of Water – Alexandre Desplat

Alexandre Desplat is one of the most prolific composers working today. He has written 175 scores since he began in 1986. His elegant music accompanies every one of his films perfectly and brings to mind the great European film composers of the early 20th century, but without the heavy handedness of their post-Wagnerian orchestrations. He has been nominated for nine Academy Awards, winning in 2015 for his outstanding music for The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi cover

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – John Williams

John Williams has written some of the most recognizable scores in movie history, and this year the 85-year-old received his 51st Academy Award. You would think that at this point he would simply be dialing it in, but his score for The Last Jedi was everything fans expected and more: lush orchestrations, sweeping themes, and hair-raising brass fanfare. My favorite cue is “Ahch-To Island,” which accompanies the moment Rey finally meets Luke Skywalker. It is the scene millions of fans had been waiting for, and the music fits every beat perfectly. It’s new music, but it’s classic Williams.

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Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri – Carter Burwell

Carter Burwell may be my favorite living film composer. His music is – on the surface – quite simple and approachable, but his genius is in his timing and he uses it to pack quite an emotional punch without distracting from the film at hand. He is most notable for his collaborations with the Coen Brothers. Their first film, 1984’s Blood Simple, was also his first score. But he has also been the sole collaborator for all of Martin McDonagh’s films, including this year’s Oscar nominee for “Best Picture” - Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri.

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