With the 85th Academy Awards ceremonies up for this weekend and many people would agree that Argo would be the Best Picture winner and many other categories are up in the air which will lead to many surprise winners which is always a great thing and not so great if you go by the ceremonies past histories.
There is one category that we may see a strong showing and a sweep in both categories (which would be the first by defacto winner Slumdog Millionare in 2009) and that is the Best Original Score and the Best Original Song. Skyfall could be the very James Bond film to win both categories after earning great nominations for both composer Thomas Newman and singer, Adele, whose song is easily the most memorable of the latest Bond adventures and the finest since Tomorrow Never Dies by Sheryl Crow.
Many factors my lead to a sweep of each category that for the most part start with the film itself which one of the best Bond outings in Daniel Craig's term as the legendary character and the film debuted on DVD and Blu-Ray no less than two weeks ago and was an instant hit and wiping out the competition altogether in sales. The film garnered great reviews by many critics and phrased its storyline and direction by Academy Award winner Sam Mendes. It also helped that had Academy Award winner dame Judi Dench's final appearance in the series and another fellow Oscar winner, Javier Bardem, playing one of Bond's strongest villiains' in quite a long time which helped propell the film to a much higher standard than the last two.
When you have a Grammy Winner in Adele singing the title song and have her win the Golden Globe, it was a surefire bet that her song would be a shoo in to win the Oscar gold. Backed by the usual wonderful Maurice Binder inspired visuals, Adele's powerful ballad really gives a Bond film a powerful song that had been sorely lacking with disappointments that include Tina Turner's Goldeneye and Madonna's Die Another Day, which still makes me cringe personally. Another positive to this is that when a song sticks to you like this one, that makes it very memorable and also triples the air play which definitely would influence the minds of Oscar voters.
When you have a great director such as Sam Mendes helming and cleaning up the mistakes of what the last Bond film didn't do for audiences and in fact, betrayed them, you hire the best in the business without hesitation. When that happend it was a real blessing in disguise when Thomas Newman was hired to write the films original score. Many people grumbled as to why Bond series regular composer David Arnold, did not return to write the music for this film after being involved for the better part of five James Bond adventures starting in the late 90's. The reason was simple: with a new director, you needed a fresh sound to go with it and Newman who's music always surprises and has the best original voice of all the film composers at the moment, was absolutely the right choice to score the film and really proved many people wrong with his Oscar nomination which also marks the first time that an original Bond score had ever been nominated despite the legendary name of John Barry amongst the list of memorable composers who have written music for the series.
Newman has been up on stage before in the past with nominations for The Shawshank Redemption, Little Women, Unstrung Heroes, American Beauty (which definitely should've won in 1999), Road To Perdition, Finding Nemo, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Good German and Wall-E (which he was robbed on both counts in my view) and this main competition would honestly have to be Mychael Danna's The Life of Pi, which also garnered great reviews for its music, as well as the streaking hot, Argo with a solid Alexandre Desplat score who's also been down this Oscar road before. You also to consider that the great John Williams and Dario Marianelli have won previously for memorable scores in their own right, that it is about time that Newman finally won one after so many near messes.
I've been following Thomas Newman's career since I was very young with his fun scores for films such as Revenge of the Nerds, The Man With One Red Shoe, The Lost Boys, Gung Ho, The Great Outdoors, Real Genius and Career Opportunities, and it been a privlledge to see composer really evolve into one of the greatest of his generation that does include the late Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams, Michael Kamen, Basil Poledouris, Alan Silvestri, Elliot Goldenthal, Howard Shore, Dave Grusin, Hans Zimmer and James Horner. Newman's music for every film is different and unique and his versitility is astounding in regards to the wonderful sounds he's able to come up with from movie to movie. That's why I hope that he does win on Sunday night because I can't think of another composer (well save John Williams), that doesn't deserve to win it most. In thinking about this just as I'm finishing the article, it was just 30 years ago that John Williams was in the midst of writing and recording the music for that little Star Wars blockbuster, Return of the Jedi and in a twist of fate, one of his uncredited orchestrators and his first jobs in film was none other than, Thomas Newman himself! Williams would go on to earn an Oscar nomination for that score.
So if that's not a sure sign that Newman has a great chance of winning, I don't know what is. We'll see on Sunday night.